There are so many video games out there, and so many that have accessibility features of some sort now, and for those that are deaf or hard of hearing, finding an accessible game usually means finding a game that has good subtitles, with captions to highlight sounds, dialogue tones, and more. So we’ve decided to compile a small list of 5 third-person games for deaf and hard-of-hearing players that have a good deal of accessibility features available.
But what factors have we taken into account here? Well, it could be that the game has some exceptional captions, maybe they have some good directional audio indicators, or perhaps there are some handy features for wayfinding. Whatever the case, we’ll be sure to explain and link to any reviews that we have on the game so you can get a deeper understanding of what’s available.
We couldn’t not include Gears 5 from The Coalition for our 5 third-person video games for deaf and hard of hearing players list. It’s the game that helped get CIPT on the radar with its 6/6 score back when we used that scoring format. And the score was well deserved for a number of reasons. It ticked practically every box needed for this category.
All available dialogue is subtitled, there are size options, background options, and captions for audible sounds that also include music changes. The captions also indicate how dialogue is being presented, such as characters groaning. Gears 5 also has directional damage indicators, clear bullet tracers, and the ability to tag enemies in the world. It may be a gory game filled with aliens, explosions, and lots of pew pews, but it’s a fantastic game for accessibility.
Watch Dogs Legion
Based in London, Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs Legion is a fantastic third-person game for deaf and hard-of-hearing players, mostly because of the level of detail their captions go into, but also because of how much information is displayed. Taking a cue from the companies previous title, Far Cry: New Dawn, the game highlights plenty of sound captions from car engines, general hubbub, and lots more. In fact, Ubisoft originally had nearly 200 audio captions with over 8000 lined up.
In the open-world hacking game, players will find all dialogue subtitled, including the hundreds of NPCs walking the streets of London. The sound captions appear separately from the subtitles, and both can be adjusted in size, background, and color. Directional indicators are available, there are clear waypoints at the best of times, enemy tagging, and your hacking feature lets you see all interactive electronics through walls.
Jedi: Fallen Order
From Respawn Entertainment, Jedi: Fallen Order makes our third-person games for deaf and hard of hearing players list because of the customization of not only the game’s subtitles, but its HUD too. Sometimes, struggling to read tiny subtitles often translates to struggling to read a similar HUD. But here, the HUD can be made nice and big. It’s also presented nicely so that it’s not too complicated for some players.
The subtitles themselves can be adjusted in size, the background adjusted in darkness, and there are speaker labels to indicate who’s speaking. In a world of spacey laser battles, it’s nice to be able to focus on the gameplay without having to struggle to follow the story.
The Last of Us: Part 2
Of course, we have to throw in The Last of Us: Part 2 from Naughty Dog. The gritty post-apocalyptic adventure made huge strides in accessibility across the board and can be seen as a look into what the video game industry may one day become. The game features a lot of useful features for deaf and hard-of-hearing players such as full captions for dialogue and sound effects, and there’s even a directional arrow to point to the source of the sound. Characters have different colored speaker labels, and they can be resized with background opacities available.
In addition, other features can be useful, such as accessing the high contrast mode to see enemies and items more clearly when directional audio cues may be too subtle. There are also controller vibration cues and directional indicators to help better understand the surroundings. It may be a gritty, violent game, but it’s certainly an accessible experience.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
There’s a lot of talks online these days about multiple dimensions, especially with the Marvel universe (We’re looking at you Loki), but even Insomniac Games’ Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is taking part in the trend. It’s also a game that took learnings from The Last of Us Part 2 and the result was some wonderful-looking subtitles. They come with speaker labels, colors, and backgrounds. What’s more, and it may not be for everyone, is that all dialogue is subtitled, which means busy areas will have subtitles as you wander through.
The game also has visual cues, large waypoints, and different styles of controller vibrations that make use of the PS5 DualSense controller. There’s also a highly customizable high contrast mode along with a Game Speed function that could help if audible cues may be too quick to contend with.
Fancy more lists? Have a look at our top 5 reasons games need subtitles.