Deaf Game Review – Judgment

Judgment Deaf Accessibility
4.5 / 6 Reviewer
Pros
All dialogue is subtitled, helpful sound-related minimap icons, dialogue choices are legible
Cons
Subtitles often hard to read, no speaker labels
Visual Representation of Dialogue
Visual Representation of Sound
Visual Cues
Controller Vibration

I was thrilled upon starting up Judgment for the first time and seeing what appeared to be a nice handful of accessibility-related options. I even stopped and wondered, wait…have game devs been…listening?

Then I got into the game and discovered that no, they haven’t been, at least not these ones, because what seemed like nice accessibility related features really weren’t that well done or weren’t what they appeared to be.

Game settings menu

The first promising option was the subtitle display option to have either instant or letter-by-letter. This one actually does exactly what it says.

Cutscene with NPS on the phone wearing a white shirt, white subtitles displayed over the shirt.

It’s the appearance of the subtitles that is the problem. You can’t really read them that easily because contrast (even with the black outline around the text) is often an issue.

And there are no speaker labels so much of the time it’s impossible to tell who is talking.

Difficulty selection screen

The second major accessibility issue comes with the simple difficulty setting. I played a bit on both simple and easy and what I experienced, both modes were identical. The controls for everything, including battles, are anything but simple, with nothing being remappable and more QTEs than even the most patient gamer has the patience for. They are not skippable and are far too brief, and lockpicking requires precise use of the right stick. Even dialogue options require multiple buttons. So as you can see, I’m a bit confused as to what exactly is supposed to be simple in simple mode.

But back to Deaf/hoh accessibility:

Street scene showing the thoughts of random NPCs displayed in text boxes.

Throughout your time spent out wandering the streets, you’ll come upon many NPCs who will have what they’re thinking displayed above their head. This is a lovely touch considering most games don’t bother to subtitle this sort of random dialogue, but I have to wonder why these were made more legible than the main dialogue.

The one very nice thing is that the text that appears for dialogue choices is much easier to read than every other bit of text in the game, so at least Deaf/hoh players won’t be missing that.

The minimap proves quite helpful with visualization, not of sound per se, but it is always clear when you are nearing an objective (which is paired with a little ding sound) and when random street thugs are coming after you. And during stealth moments, the hiding places are very clearly marked and the stealth meter makes it abundantly clear that you’ve been spotted.

When it comes to Deaf/hoh accessibility, Judgment does alright. The subtitles could be a lot better but the visualization allowed by the minimap is incredibly helpful.

Mobility wise, thanks to some input from our mobility editor, Antonio, is pretty much a major fail. On top of the general inaccessible controls, QTEs, and nothing being remappable, there are different and equally complex controls for every tool or minigame in the game and all of these things are necessary to be successful in the game.

Other menu and control layouts below:

General control layout
General gameplay control layout
Door unlocking control layout
The control layout for unlocking a door/using your keyring
Lockpicking control layout
Lockpicking control layout
Image investigation/searching control layout
Special controls used only when looking at evidence photos
Drone flying control layout
And lastly, the control layout for flying and investigating with your drone

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