Deaf Game Review – Outward

Outward Deaf Accessibility
2.5 / 6 Reviewer
Pros
Dialogue is subtitled, speaker labels
Cons
Subtitles are too small to read, dialogue choices are impossible to read
Visual Representation of Dialogue
Visual Representation of Sound
Visual Cues
Controller Vibration

I’ve had a hell of a time getting through life in general lately after my partner died, then my dog died, I’m burnt out on every branch of my life, and I’m just generally kind of miserable right now. So it’s fitting that my first review after a two week break is honestly one of the most broken games I’ve ever played.

Outward starts out in a promising enough manner, reminding me a bit of Morrowind (and not just because of the graphics!) in how it plops you into the world mostly unaware of what you’re supposed to do and how to do it. Outward is not here to hold your hand. You have a blood debt or some such nonsense from something your ancestors did that you’re still being punished for and you’ve got 5 days to pay 150 silver to your tribe or you’ll be homeless. Off you go, good luck to you.

And so I set off to do good things and earn good silver. Except I couldn’t. Why? Well as soon as I aimlessly made my way out of the town with no help from the useless map, the graphic glitches made the game completely unplayable. I walked through the gate, walked a bit further, and then this random black glitch kept swinging back and forth across my screen leaving me unable to see where I was and what enemy was killing me. I’d die, get revived somewhere, rinse and repeat. So that’s the game, I guess. A starting town and some black glitchy blobs.

Player character standing on a path with view obscured by large black graphical glitch.

Here’s the pretty glitch. Walk past that gray area and you see a whole lot of nothing. This is where my time in Outward ended because I’m not that patient of a person.

Deaf/hoh accessibility wise the game doesn’t do a whole lot better.

Audio options menu

You’ve got your standard volume sliders available…

Settings menu

And you can select your text and voice language.

How’s the text look? Better than the big black glitch but still not anything to write home about.

Player character standing in front of several NPCs with illegible dialogue displayed in a black text box.

The speaker name is an acceptable size but the font choice paired with the size make the dialogue itself impossible to read, which is interesting considering that this game isn’t fully voiced (so at least it’s not just deaf/hoh players missing out, I guess?)

Player character standing near city guard, dialogue and dialogue option displayed in black text box.

The dialogue choices are even harder to read.

Loading screen showing a wooden door with large text shown at bottom of screen.

The cutscene text is nice and big though not much but your backstory is revealed here, so it’s fairly unimportant.

There are no visual cues for nearby enemies (if you’re lucky enough to see them and not be plagued by the big black glitch to begin with) and I wasn’t able to play enough to say if enemies ever sneak attack. The two I came across were clearly visible and I was able to prepare for their attacks.

Visual cues for items you can collect are about the only thing that Outward did well. There’s a hard to miss bright blue sparkle next to anything you can pick up, so you can’t miss it.

And that’s about it for Outward. My Xbox version of the game is unplayable due to such bad graphical glitches after the starting area and the deaf/hoh accessibility is far from great.

Also note that controls aren’t remappable. Below is the control scheme for Xbox:

Control mapping menu
The following two tabs change content below.
Co-founder and EIC of Can I Play That?, captioner of many things, occasional writer of fiction. Any pronouns. courtney@caniplaythat.com

Latest posts by Courtney Craven (see all)

Courtney Craven

Co-founder and EIC of Can I Play That?, captioner of many things, occasional writer of fiction. Any pronouns. courtney@caniplaythat.com