Deaf Game Review – Divinity Original Sin 1 and 2 (Console Version)

Divinity Original Sin Deaf Accessibility
4.8 / 6 Reviewer
Pros
All dialogue is subtitled, very helpful visual cues, turn-based combat means no enemies surprising you because you didn't hear them
Cons
Party/companion banter dialogue subtitles often impossible to read
Visual Representation of Dialogue
Visual Representation of Sound
Visual Cues

Divinity Original Sin is a masterpiece. I am horrendously bad at it (I make very poor decisions and don’t plan well) but the game, the story, and the characters keep me sucked in and dying over and over again. And as a fiction writer, the lore books and the dialogue is superb.

What’s not that great? This is one of the very few games I’d likely give a perfect score to if I was playing on PC, but on console? It’s lacking. So much of what I love about the game lies in the party banter and when you’re playing on a console, sitting across the room as I do, the dialogue text is nearly impossible to read, which takes away so much of the appeal for me.

Small sandy ares surrounded by water, both player characters standing and talking. Dialogue text displayed above their heads.
Shipwreck on a beach, player character in center of screen, dialogue text displayed above their head.

The above image illustrates the problem in both games. See the subtitles at the center of the screen? They’re pretty damn hard to read as a small image within an article. Unfortunately, that’s about how they appear if you aren’t sitting right in front of your screen too. You can revisit all dialogue in your journal but that’s one hell of an extra step for Deaf/hoh players just to stay informed of the story.

Inside the warehouse, two player characters and two guard NPCs, dialogue displayed above guard head.

The subtitles are slightly easier to read in locations where contrast isn’t an issue, though an increase in size would still help significantly.

The good news?

This is the only problem with the console version of the game. The rest is quite accessible.

Dialogue choice screen
Player character and The Red Prince in a dialogue scene. Dialogue box displayed.

The conversation screen/dialogue options are much easier to read, both due to a slightly larger size and the dark background.

Two player characters, Jahan, and Madora standing on stone path. Jahan and Madora have yellow exclamation points above their heads.

The game has great visual cues, such as the exclamation points shown above, indicating that you should talk to that party member.

Everything you can interact with has a colored outline and the minimap shows the location of all nearby enemies.

Fight scene inside Cyseal graveyard.
Combat scene on starting tutorial ship of Divinity Original Sin 2.

There’s never the issue of enemies sneaking up on you, thanks to the turn-based combat (though it’s very easy to be overwhelmed and outnumbered, but that’s a me problem, not an accessibility problem).

The often illegible dialogue subtitles detract from what would otherwise be a perfectly accessible game for Deaf and hard of hearing players. I highly recommend it on PC (distance from your screen makes all the difference here) but on console, it’s hard to recommend such a story-rich game with badly executed subtitles.