Deaf Game Review – A Plague Tale: Innocence

A Plague Tale: Innocence Deaf Accessibility
5 / 6 Reviewer
Pros
All dialogue is subtitled, speaker labels, very helpful visual cues, enemy location visualization
Cons
Subtitle text is often very hard to read due to poor contrast
Visual Representation of Dialogue
Visual Representation of Sound
Visual Cues
Controller Vibration

A Plague Tale has a subtitle problem. A big one. But more than that, this game has perfectly illustrated how subtitles are viewed by too many as secondary features. I’ll get to that in a minute.

As a game that relies heavily on stealth, sound distractions, and listening, A Plague Tale does remarkably well with deaf/hoh accessibility. They even took a cue from Ubisoft and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in how they implemented visual cues for nearby enemies with a subtle white glow around the side of the screen.

But the subtitles… The subtitles in a story-heavy game such as this should be of the utmost importance. But it’s very clear they weren’t.

Amicia and Hugo hiding in white flowers. White UI text displayed against a dark background over the flowers.

Above is the UI/instructional text. It’s damn near perfect, right? Nice and big, it’s white text displayed against a darkened background. So it’s safe to assume the subtitle text would be identical or better, right?

Wrong.

Amicia and Hugo hiding in white flowers, white subtitle text displayed illegibly over the flowers.

Here are the subtitles. A nice white-on-white situation that you can’t read even if you’re an inch from your screen and squinting.

As someone on Twitter said, it’s clear the developers knew how to make important text legible. It’s simply a matter of subtitle text that some players need being deemed less important than text all players will need. Which isn’t really the best look.

The good news about the subtitles? Well, you can toggle on speaker labels and they’re much easier to read in instances of high contrast.

Amicia sneaking through a house. Text displayed at bottom and faint white enemy indicator displayed on left.

See? Those are much better, aren’t they? Though they could still stand to be scalable because this size won’t be large enough for all players. Also shown here is the very faint glow of the nearby enemy indicator displayed at the top left side of the screen (it grows bolder as the enemy gets closer).

Amicia and Hugo running down a path, enemy visibility icons shown on the side of screen.

Given that you spend a lot of this game running and hiding, the enemy indicator icons shown above are essential. The red shown here with the lines dashing out from them means you’re being pursued. The icons change from hollow to gray to red depending on your visibility and the enemy’s awareness of you.

Amicia and Hugo squatting behind a table, objects that can be used to distract enemies highlighted on the left.

Quite often you’ll find yourself throwing rocks at metal things to distract enemies. Anything that will draw enemy attention this way is highlighted, as shown on the pots hanging on the left side of the above image.

Amicia aiming for pots to distract enemy, yellow line indicates the path of the thrown rock.

Not related to deaf/hoh accessibility but an accessibility feature nonetheless is the fantastic aiming assistance. Whether you’re using your slingshot or tossing a rock, when you aim near-ish the target, aim will snap to it and a yellow line indicates that you will hit your target.

Save for the subtitles that desperately need some attention, A Plague Tale: Innocence is a very accessible game for deaf/hoh players. However, with the subtitles as they currently are, if you rely on them, you will miss a lot of the story due to contrast issues.

Below you will find all of the settings available. Note that controls aren’t remappable on console:

Game settings menu
Language settings menu
Camera settings menu
Audio settings menu
Controller layout 1
Controller layout 2