Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sucked into the RPG worlds of Diablo 3 and Divinity: Original Sin and I am absolutely hooked.
In Diablo 3, the role you play is one of killing everything. Creatures, animals, zombies, wooden barrels, clay pots… If it’s there, you can kill it and get points. And let me tell you, in a world where the political climate makes you want to break things with a baseball bat on a daily basis, killing all the things is as about as cathartic as you can get. You can play as a male or female version of one of several different classes, each with their own unique and interesting skills and lines of dialogue (my personal favorite is the witch doctor that kills things by throwing endless glass jars of spiders at them). After a certain point in the game, you also have your choice of three companions, all three of which are surprisingly interesting (especially Lyndon) considering this game is mostly about killing. The banter between my monk and Lyndon reminds me of that between Cassandra and Varric in DAI. Contrary to what most reviews of Diablo 3 say, I happen to appreciate the story in the game as well, although liking it or not won’t make much of a difference in how satisfying the game is with the huge amount of things to kill, bonuses to get, and loot to collect.
Accessibility wise, Diablo 3 does fairly well, although there are a few things that could be better. The rare cutscenes are fully captioned, although as you can see in the above image, the text is tiny and not in the most legible typeface.
All story/mission related dialogue is captioned and easy to read on the darkened text box.
Party banter is also fully captioned, although depending on the environment, it can be very hard to read.
The one thing about the captioning that irritated me was the journals. Many times throughout your adventuring, you’ll come across journals from various NPCs. Those journals are read/spoken by said NPC. It’s not captioned. If you want to know that bit of the story, you have to go into your menu, find the journals, and read through each one. Seems to me that they could have easily done with these what they did with banter and just caption it as it’s being spoken.
The visual cues/tool tips are many and quite helpful. The NPCs you need to talk to for missions are highlighted with a yellow exclamation mark over them and NPCs that are related to the mission have light blue asterisks over their heads. Actionable items are highlighted as you approach them and display the button you need to press to interact with them. Dungeon entrances glow yellow, while tiny dungeons with only one level (what are those called?) glow blue. In addition to this, anything you can kill is highlighted with a red outline when you are near enough to kill it.
Important things, such as beacons that give you various boosts and exits, are also noted on your minimap, and your objective location pulses with a small yellow circle.
All in all, Diablo 3 is a great game with good accessibility for deaf players. While there are a few things that could have been done better, what’s lacking doesn’t really take away from the fun or make it unplayable. It’s just a bonus that this game is so satisfying and I highly recommend this game as a means by which to take out your frustrations with Trump and co.
(Note that I haven’t played any multiplayer, so I can’t speak to the accessibility or player communication in that mode.)
All in all, Diablo 3 is a great game with good accessibility for deaf players. While there are a few things that could have been done better, what’s lacking doesn’t really take away from the fun or make it unplayable.