Deaf Game Review – Code Vein

Game reviewed on Xbox One

Game reviewed on Xbox One Code Vein, the new Souls-like vampire game from Bandai Namco, marketed itself as a more "accessible" approach to this style of game. I think though, that Bandai Namco and I have different definitions of accessible, because while on the whole, with the ability to switch your play-style/class on the fly, the game is more approachable to players of various types, at least in terms of my accessibility reviews, Code Vein is kind of a mess. To their credit, the game does offer full controller remapping on consoles, which is not something most games do. However,…
Horrible subtitle presentation really hurts a unique game in which players will want to story but will miss much of it.

Code Vein Deaf Accessibility

Visual Representation of Dialogue - 2
Visual Representation of Sound - 0
Visual Cues - 8
Controller Vibration - 7
Visually Engaging - 6

4.6

Horrible subtitle presentation really hurts a unique game in which players will want to story but will miss much of it.

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Code Vein, the new Souls-like vampire game from Bandai Namco, marketed itself as a more “accessible” approach to this style of game. I think though, that Bandai Namco and I have different definitions of accessible, because while on the whole, with the ability to switch your play-style/class on the fly, the game is more approachable to players of various types, at least in terms of my accessibility reviews, Code Vein is kind of a mess.

To their credit, the game does offer full controller remapping on consoles, which is not something most games do. However, that’s not what this review is about. This review is about subtitles (more or less) and what a disaster these ones are.

For starters, you can turn them on and off. That’s the extent of subtitle options.

Language options menu.

There are no size options, no text background options, and font choice is a horrible one, and they’re presented in two nearly impossible to read manners. Let’s have a look:

Illustrating the issue of contrast making subtitles illegible.

Here we are in dire need of a background for the subtitle text.

Illustrating too much text on the screen at once.

Here we have far too much text.

Illustrating the in-game presentation of your companion's dialogue subtitles, displayed in the corner of the screen.

And here we have… this mess.

So, you see, the size is bad, the stylized font is also bad, contrast? Bad. And what in the world is even the point of the text in that last one? Nobody can read that.

The good news though, is that with the in-game companion subtitles being so ridiculously small, Deaf/hoh players won’t have to feel like they’re being mocked when their companion says “Be careful not to fall here,” as they’re falling to their death.

It’s a plus that the enemies rarely seem to sneak up on you and those that do don’t do so audibly, so it’s not a Deaf/hoh accessibility flaw.

Subtitles aside, Code Vein is a fairly accessible game for Deaf/hoh players but damn I’m sick of sounding like a broken record in reviews, finding the same old problems over and over again.

Subtitles are not a design element! They exist to serve a very distinct purpose and nine times out of ten, if you attempt to make your subtitle text fit the style of your game, your subtitles will fail to serve that purpose and your game, or at least your story, will fail your Deaf/hoh players.

Deaf/hoh players interested in the story of Code Vein may find themselves disappointed because the subtitles are simply not functional. However, on the whole, the game has no major issues that will make it unplayable or significantly more difficult for you.

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

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Courtney Craven

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