Deaf Game Review – Rage 2

Rage 2 Deaf Accessibility
4.5 / 6 Reviewer
Pros
All essential dialogue is subtitled, speaker labels, very helpful visual cues
Cons
Subtitles are impossible to read most of the time
Visual Representation of Dialogue
Visual Representation of Sound
Visual Cues
Controller Vibration

Polygon called Rage 2 one of the “video gameist video games” and I think that’s pretty much the perfect assessment. Aside from being very pretty and pink (a new trend in apocalyptic games I’m rather enjoying) there’s not much new in Rage 2 that you won’t find in every other game in recent history. That’s not to say it’s not a whole lot of fun though. What it might be lacking in originality and novel gameplay, it makes up for in just how well it scratches that itch to shoot some shit up with very pretty graphics (this, I realize, may be the most American thought I’ve ever had.)

There’s just something about seeing individual bits of armor fly off your enemies as you chip away at them with one of your many guns that makes me want to keep doing it and adding to my body count. Which is strange for me because I’m not the biggest fan of shooters that aren’t heavy on story.

But how’s the deaf/hoh accessibility?

Well aside from some pretty horrible subtitles, it’s actually pretty great!

But first, the subtitles…

Three soldiers gathered around fallen squad mate, illegible subtitles shown at bottom of screen.

They’re bad folks. Really bad. Who the hell can read this text? How does the text in the above image pass muster? Game devs are aware subtitles actually serve a purpose and aren’t just something you include to say you’ve included them, right? I mean why bother if they’re not functional?

Hologram projection of NPC with long lines of illegible subtitle text displayed.

What specifically is the problem?

  • The text is far too small. It needs to be resizable.
  • There needs to be a background behind the text to compensate for poor contrast.
  • FAR too many characters per line.
  • Too much text on the screen at once.

The only good thing about the subtitles in Rage 2 is that there are speaker labels. That’s it.

Aside from that though, Rage 2 has everything necessary to make a FPS game accessible to deaf/hoh players.

Jungle area with an enemy in the distance, gunfire damage direction indicator shown on screen.

There are these handy red thingies that tell you exactly where you’re taking damage from, which is a necessity in open world shooters like this.

Rock wall with an enemy in front of it, compass bar showing enemy location at top of screen.

And there are handy red dots that appear up on your compass bar to tell you approximately where enemies are and just how many you’ve got to shoot. And I think the orange glow around one red dot indicates the enemy you’re currently engaged in combat with. That seems to be the purpose of that, at least.

Player vehicle driving on dirt path with pink arrow guidelines displayed on the road.

As with my review of A Plague Tale and its UI text, it’s obvious the people that made this game know how to render on-screen text legibly, as once again, the UI instructional text here is perfectly clear. They just didn’t give the same importance to subtitles. Which is a problem that needs to be fixed. I mean gamers would be flipping tables or throwing controllers if instructional text was given the same piss poor consideration that subtitles get because they wouldn’t know how to play the game. So how about making an effort to make subtitles as important as “essential” text? Can we try that, game devs? For deaf/hoh players, subtitles are part of the game.

If you’re alright with not being able to read the subtitles, you’ll have a perfectly easy time with Rage 2 as a deaf/hoh player. But if you’re the least bit interested in knowing the story (and admittedly, people aren’t often playing games like this for their deep and meaningful stories) this is one to skip until/unless they fix these horrendous subtitles.

Below you will find screenshots of every settings menu. Note that while there are multiple controller layouts to choose from, controls are not remappable on console.

Video settings menu
Controller settings menu
General settings menu
Audio settings menu
Abilities controller layout
Air vehicle controller layout
Land vehicle controller layout
On ground controller layout