Deaf Game Review – Mutant Year Zero

Mutant Year Zero is a new tactical adventure game with turn-based combat and free exploration out this week from Funcom. In the past, we’ve not had great luck with games that require stealth because so often, stealth games rely heavily on sound and listening, yet fail to provide any visual indicators of sounds for Deaf and hoh players. So we didn’t go into Mutant Year Zero expecting much.

We were very pleasantly surprised.

Gameplay options including subtitle toggle and language

Before you jump into the game, you can toggle subtitles (they’re on by default) and choose your preferred language.

Bipedal warthog and duck walking through dark forest area with flashlights. Subtitle text reads, "You know why! The arks water pump is broken again and Hammon said he needs more scrap to fix it."

Those subtitles though, well, they’re not great. They would greatly benefit from some size options, a dark background behind them, and cutscenes desperately need speaker labels. As they are currently, they work fine for PC players but on console if you play sitting across the room, they’re quite difficult to read.

Old man sitting behind a table in a bar, talking to a warthog. Subtitle text reads, "After a killer day in the Zone, you know you can always come to Prips' for some high quality grog. You want to get loaded? Order a shot. No butane, no bleach. Only natural ingredients. I also dabble in a little, uh, antiquity trading, so if you find any cool artifacts out there in the wasteland, bring 'em to me and I might give you something in return. Comprende?"

There are also a few instances of there being far too much text on the screen, again during cutscenes.

Top down image of bipedal warthog and duck. Speech bubble icon above duck. Subtitle text reads, "You want to see annoying? I can show you annoying."

During gameplay, there’s a helpful icon above whichever character is speaking, though the text is still far too small to read.

Bipedal duck and warthog walking along forest path. Enemy shown in bright red silhouette in the far left.

While the subtitles are a disappointment, what makes this game one of the more accessible stealthy games we’ve played is the enemy radar (that’s not what it’s called in the game but we can’t think of a better term, so, enemy radar it is). Well before you’re forced to engage in combat, you can see red silhouettes on screen and little red diamonds up top on your little compass bar.

Bipedal duck and warthog on forest path with enemy indicated in red at top left and large red ring indicating enemy line of sight.

Also very handy for deaf and hoh players is the red or white outline you’ll see for enemies that indicated their range of vision and once engaged in combat, there are visual indicators for being in cover and whether your characters are in the line of enemy fire.

Bottom line: When playing on PC, Mutant Year Zero is fully accessible for Deaf and hoh players. We’d even go so far as to call it Deaf-friendly. Console is less so, with subtitles being far too small to easily read, but the rest of the game is still widely accessible.

Mutant Year Zero Deaf Accessibility
5.6 / 6 Reviewer
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 6 Users (0 votes)
Pros
All dialogue is subtitled, Numerous helpful visual cues, Enemy silhouettes makes stealth gameplay accessible for deaf players
Cons
Subtitles are very small and often hard to read
Bottom line: When playing on PC, Mutant Year Zero is fully accessible for Deaf and hoh players. We'd even go so far as to call it Deaf friendly. Console is less so, with subtitles being far too small to easily read, but the rest of the game is still widely accessible.
Visual Representation of Dialogue
Visual Representation of Sound
Visual Cues
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