Deaf Game Review – Blair Witch

Game reviewed on Xbox One

Blair Witch Deaf Accessibility
5.6 / 6 Reviewer
Pros
All dialogue is subtitled, myriad of helpful subtitle options, important sounds are visualized
Cons
Stylized subtitle font may be difficult for some players to read
Visual Representation of Dialogue
Visual Representation of Sound
Visual Cues
Controller Vibration

Blair Witch is a unicorn of a game, folks. It not only manages to be a horror game that doesn’t rely on jump scares (though there are some) to scare the hell out of you, but it also is the first horror game I can recall that was actually Deaf/hoh accessible. And they didn’t just surpass the Deaf/hoh accessibility of other horror games, they blew by them at light speed.

On top of that, Blair Witch is a wholesome game full of dog petting, asking your dog, Bullet, “Who’s a handsome guy?” Letting your dog lead you astray as he finds various forest things to roll in, letting Bullet lead you astray when he needs to pee. You need to remember to pet Bullet and be loving to him for him to help you. The game even tells you this:

Dog relationship mechanic info screen.

There’s also a whole lot of scary in Blair Witch (obviously) but I’m going to just think about the Bullet because I don’t like to be scared, y’all. I don’t.

So first things first- When Bullet barks at you, it’s visualized by a white pointy-ish thingy on the screen. The pointier and smaller it is, the closer he is to you. It also shows you his general location with its pointyness:

Dog bark visualization icon.

The subtitles are also a thing of wonder (I’ve shown them here with the largest text size, different colors for different characters enabled, and the box appearance option, but there are multiple display options):

Dialogue scene illustrating the size of the subtitle text.

D you see all that subtitling goodness? There’s a speaker name that’s easily distinguishable from the rest of the text. The large size is actually large, the box background makes the different colors easy to read, and they’re just nice. These are some nice subtitles. The only negative thing I can say is that the stylized/serif font might be difficult for some players to read.

Very dark night time scene illuminated only by a faint flashlight.

The above image is but one of the ways Blair Witch manages to creep you the hell out without being reliant on sound. You and Bullet are all alone in the woods with only this crappy flashlight. There’s also a constant sense of being disoriented because it’s very easy to get lost, you may swear that you went one way and end up having gone in a circle, your character suffers from blackouts that find you coming to God knows where. There are just so many ways that this game messes with you that don’t rely on sound and it’s damn impressive.

Given the accessibility of the core mechanics of Blair Witch, this is definitely a game Deaf/hoh horror fans should check out.

See below for all settings/menu options:

Controls menu
Gameplay menu
Audio menu