Outriders – Can I Play That Accessibility Review

Courtney Craven5 minute read

I love (almost) everything about Outriders. I love its combat, I love its writing, I love its art. I really love its navigation beacon. The world tier system, if it existed in other games, would allow me to enjoy games like The Division and Destiny. Since it doesn’t, I’ll just keep playing Outriders and exploding enemies with my fire hands.

Subtitles and Captions

The subtitles and captions in Outriders are wonderful and terrible. Terrible because they’re far too small. Wonderful because the captions are actually captions and consistent throughout cutscenes and in-game environmental sounds. There are default and large options for the text but the large is…not. The text shown below is the large option. And below that is the problem of not having a background behind the text.

Illustrating the subtitle text at its largest size.
Illustrating the illegible white text against a light colored scene.

I spent the first few hours in the game thinking there was no background for the subtitle text and it wasn’t until Outriders messaged me on Twitter that I learned that toggling on high contrast mode puts a background behind the text.

Illustrating the black box behind subtitles when high contrast mode is on.

As I imagine most people would, I assumed high contrast mode was a setting for people with low vision and never would have toggled it on if not for that Twitter DM because it’s not something I ever need in a game. This still doesn’t solve the size issue but hey, it’s progress!

In terms of visual cues, they’re pretty standard. Dots display the enemy’s location on the minimap and nearby incoming damage is indicated by directional red streaky things.

Now, if People Can Fly will just fix those tiny subtitles, the deaf/hoh accessibility would be pretty great!

Other Hearing Related Things

The only thing I really struggled with was the red indicators for nearby explosives. Luckily I only struggled with those in areas that had a reddish tint to them, like the starting area after the prologue. They’re not paired with any kind of controller vibration, so they’re rather hard to notice when it’s red on red.

In other scenes, like the prologue scene below, they’re amazingly helpful.

Illustrating the red ring indicating a nearby explosive.

Motor Control

We’ll have a full mobility review from Grant coming so I won’t go into all that much detail here but I will share my experience. If not for the melee abilities and my Xbox Elite controller, I wouldn’t be able to play Outriders at all. There is aim assistance but it’s not nearly enough, so I’m left darting around and spamming my class abilities because I sure can’t shoot. Abilities are mapped to the bumpers, so thanks to my Elite controller, I have those mapped to the back paddles and I can easily blast away anyone in my way.

The sniper rifle scope with a red overlay that isn't translucent enough to really see through.

I tried playing as the long range class and sniping away enemies but that was big nope for me due to both the lack of helpful aim assistance and how hard it is to see anything through your sniper rifle scope.

Cognitive

Cognitive accessibility and ease is where Outriders outshines every other looter-shooter available. Now, I have to say that I don’t love the rewards and penalties tied to the world tier system but I am so glad the system itself exists because it’s what is allowing me to play and enjoy the game.

The world tier selection screen with all but two locked

You unlock increasingly difficult world tiers by progressing through the game on each tier/difficulty level. I’ve been playing on tier 01 and I can actually see myself continuing on in this game, unlike every other looter shooter there is.

The navigational beacon in Outriders is simply fantastic. It doesn’t just point to where you should go or show you some arbitrary marker obscured by boulders and cliffs you can’t get around, it actually shows you the way.

Summary

Outriders is the game I didn’t know I was waiting for. I usually don’t even bother with looter shooters like this because fairly early on, they become too difficult and I don’t play games because I like to be annoyed. Outriders solves that problem with its world tier system. With fantastic captions and the amazingly helpful navigation beacon, it’s a shame there are subtitle size issues and the hidden text background because that alone will prove to be a barrier to many

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Courtney
CravenDirector of Operations and Workshop FacilitatorThey/Them

Founder of CIPT and Director of Operations and Business Development. They/Them courtney@caniplaythat.com

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