Deaf Game Review – Hitman 2

Hitman 2 Deaf Accessibility
4.3 / 6 Reviewer
Pros
Subtitles for all main dialogue, Great subtitle size options, Helpful visual indicators
Cons
No speaker labels, Not fully subtitled so much of what NPCs say is missed
Visual Representation of Dialogue
Visual Representation of Sound
Visual Cues
Controller Vibration

We’ve seen many saying that Hitman 2 takes everything done well in Hitman and does it better. While we agree this is true, it’s also true that they’ve taken everything Hitman didn’t do so well and improved it in nearly no way at all.

Stealth games are often a struggle for me as a Deaf player because so much of being stealthy and remaining hidden relies on listening and sound. The games that get it right find a way to include a visual system that indicates enemy proximity. The ones that don’t get accessibility right, well, they don’t. Hitman 2 falls in the latter category, unfortunately.

All that said, let’s get to the overall accessibility:

Before the game begins, you’re prompted to toggle subtitles off if you want them off (they’re on by default but you still have to confirm).

Opening cutscene, view of water, illegible subtitles shown.

You then launch right into the opening cutscene and you see these tiny, tiny subtitles. With no speaker labels, so good luck determining who’s saying what.

However…

Subtitle options screen
Subtitle options screen

If you happen to pause the game you don’t have to suffer through tiny subtitles for long. In the options menu you’ll find a dedicated subtitles menu in which you can again toggle them on or off AND change the size from tiny to a nicely legible 46.

Cutscene illustrating subtitles set to size 34. Man and woman walking and having a conversation.

We decided on size 34 and you can see above that these are very easy to read. But still, no speaker labels.

View of special/assassin vision which highlights objects you can interact with in yellow.

Holding RB/R1 toggles your special vision (assassin vision?) which makes everything grayscale except for things you can shoot or otherwise interact with. Also handy is that once you’ve spotted something you can interact with or shoot (like the security cameras in the opening scene, it remains indicated when you’re near it with a teal icon and big brackets around it.

Player hiding in closet. Capture taken to illustrate the lack of ambient dialogue subtitles.

So what’s our problem with the accessibility? Well, as in the last game, there’s only subtitling for the main dialogue. Any chatter from random NPCs is absent for Deaf players and unless you’re constantly staring at your minimap or unless you can hear, you won’t always know if enemies are coming. Yes, there is a light gray icon on the light gray minimap when people are in proximity, but it’s difficult to see unless you’re right up on your screen. We also remember in the previous game, due to lack of full subtitling, there was some NPC dialogue that gave 47 info on his objective that Deaf players missed completely. We have to assume that Hitman 2 will have the same issues given that once again, only the main dialogue is subtitled.

Overall, Hitman 2 does a decent job with accessibility wise and the subtitle size options are a welcome change. But it still falls short of being fully accessible to Deaf and hoh players because it still fails to have a visual indicator for all sound, which, in my opinion, is necessary in a stealth game. Deaf players can play and enjoy Hitman 2, but our experience will be more limited than hearing players due to the oversights in accessibility.