It’s not often that we’ve been left speechless by the level of Deaf accessibility in a game. Unless it’s just that bad, which has happened a few times.
This is not one of those times.
Ubisoft nailed the Deaf accessibility in Far Cry New Dawn. Nailed it nailed it. We have not seen anything close to this in any of the 200+ games we’ve played and so, we are speechless.
Before we jump into telling you all the reasons why it’s great, let’s cover a few basics that are identical to FC5 (find the review for detailed info on these things here.)
- Blue companion/ally and red enemy silhouettes remain unchanged
- Visual cues for combat are the same
- The compass bar at the top of the screen showing nearby enemies and other important things remains unchanged
Everything else? It’s been improved beyond what we imagined possible. So let’s jump into that (and don’t worry, our screenshots won’t go beyond the opening five minutes, so no spoilers).
Here you have the audio and video options menu. As you can see, it’s quite robust offering more options than any previous FC game. Most notable and welcome new addition here? The sound subtitles.
Here are those glorious sound subtitles. They tell you exactly what the noise was and exactly where (if you move around while they’re on screen, the little arrows move too!)
Here you’ve got a screenshot of the subtitles, complete with sound captioning as part of the subtitles. Also, this size you see? It’s the default size. This is the first game we’ve ever had to decrease the subtitle size (there’s small, default, and large) because the default was too big for our taste. This is a very welcome problem for us to have.
And this last image we’ll show you is of the opening cutscene. Just another shot of these wonderful subtitles with the rare appearance of a speaker label during a cutscene!
One thing that was an issue in FC5 that New Dawn didn’t solve was the subtitling of your companions. Deaf players still won’t be aware of that random chatter, unfortunately, and that’s a shame because they all have such unique personalities. Does that make the game unplayable or harder for Deaf and HoH players? Not in the least. It just leaves us with a slightly lesser experience than hearing players.
Overall, Far Cry New Dawn is what we hope will be adopted by every game ever as the standard for Deaf accessibility. It’s the best we’ve seen and if not for the one issue of the missing companion subtitles, it would be a perfect game for Deaf players.
Update February 26, 2019:
Several hours into the game we came upon a few issues concerning Deaf accessibility. The first being, when running a mission with Carmina, we noted that she will announce the presence of certain things, “Look out for that beehive,” for example. Given that companions aren’t subtitled, this makes Deaf players to miss out on this helpful info. Does it make the game significantly harder? No, not really. But any tip regarding combat and danger that’s spoken needs to also be subtitled.
The second issue we ran into was a much bigger problem and may even render the game unplayable for some. There’s a mission you have to complete to advance the story that involves disarming bombs against the clock. While there is a mission indicator for the general vicinity in which you need to look, hearing players have the added help of a beep that increases in volume the closer you get to your objective. When Susan played this mission without hearing help, she tried and failed seven times. When Courtney jumped in to help, she only failed once (and only because she died, not because she couldn’t find the location). While it’s only one mission that has this problem, this mission needs to be completed to advance to part 3 of the game, so it’s possible that those who have no hearing help on standby will be kept from finishing the game (or at least frustrated after failing so many times that they don’t want to keep trying).