Modern games don’t get enough praise for implementing (often groundbreaking) accessibility features that allow players with a range of different disabilities to enjoy them. Diablo 4 is the latest game to do it, and it’s mostly done it by cleverly implementing existing solutions.
But that’s not my opinion, it’s what blind players who have been playing Blizzard’s latest have been sharing online.
Reddit user tj_the_blind_gamer, who’s completely blind, offered the wider community some thoughts on how their experience with Diablo 4 has been so far. In one of the most popular posts on Diablo 4’s subreddit, tj_the_blind_gamer revealed that they managed to make it to level 20 and complete a dungeon.
This worked out mostly because of Diablo 4’s screen reader feature. Tj_the_blind_gamer has to rely on audio cues to understand what’s being shown on screen. The Diablo 4 screen reader can read map locations, general statistics, skills, gear and so on.
The game also has proximity indicators for objects you can interact with, such as chests. “This is definitely the biggest upside to Diablo 4 as far as blind accessibility,” they wrote.
As good as the proximity indicator is, tj_the_blind_gamer would like it taken a step further by being able to lead players towards doors, and portals. They would also like to see an audio equivalent of placing a pin on the map, perhaps some sort of unique sound trail that the player can follow. Navigational assistant would make a huge difference here, for obvious reasons.
The screen reader itself can also be inconsistent, according to them. For example, it does not read every menu option at certain vendors, like Jewellers.
“Overall I’m loving the game and easily recommend it to other blind and low vision players. I can’t speak on the deaf or motor impaired accessibility features but from the little bit I was able to look at they seemed like a good selection of options for assistance,” they reckon.
As for how a blind person would even go about playing an action game like Diablo 4, tj_the_blind_gamer said they begin by opening the map, then moving the cursor to the top and relying on the screen reader to basically tell them what’s in their vicinity. Once they hear something they want to do, they pin it and head to that direction.
There’s definitely some guesswork and trial error to their process, but tj_the_blind_gamer seems generally satisfied.