Ok, first things first. I know absolutely nothing about baseball. Less than nothing, if that’s possible. My knowledge of baseball begins and ends with the fact that the Cubs day games make public transit hellish and I avoid Wrigleyville like it’s my personal professional sport. I say all that because this review will have nary a baseball term in it and you can judge me for that as you like, because I certainly do.
Due to my lack of baseball knowledge, I’m only going to comment on the accessibility features a couple of the many, many game modes available in this game, so here goes:
First and foremost, MLB The Show 17 allows you to toggle on captions for the commentators, a feature lacking from seemingly every other currently available sports game (take note, EA Sports). They make it a little harder than it needs to be to actually figure out how to toggle captions on, you have to enable a game ticker feature before you can enable captions, but still, it’s an option available to you. The different commentators are labeled and given that the captions are white on a solid back background, they’re very clear and easy to read (although they’re a bit small).
Where captions are completely missing is in Road to The Show mode (the single player mode where you start out brand new and without a team and playing your position of choice, you get drafted to whichever team likes you best. Throughout this mode, there’s a narrator informing you of everything that’s going on. For deaf players though, it’s fairly boring cut scenes because they didn’t bother to caption the narrator.
What text there is in Road to The Show mode is well done. White on a dark background and big enough to read easily.
The visual cues (which I believe you can toggle on and off) are the same throughout each mode. A big baseball shrinks on the field as the ball gets closer to hitting the ground.
What I really liked about this game was the wealth of view options, for both pitching and batting. You can zoom pretty far in, have broadcast view, or even view it from the opposite side. Not that it matters much in terms of hearing accessibility, but I like games that allow you to really tailor your preferences.
If you’re anything like me and not so much with the sports, zooming in while batting really helped me suck a lot less.
Retro mode has some ridiculous but quite helpful features that make it accessible like games used to be, when there was no fancy surround sound and such that indicated direction of noise.
In retro mode, when you do something, like get a strike or home run, you are very clearly informed by the giant retro text. I enjoyed the couple of retro mode games I played because it offered a much more scaled back game. You hit a button to bat, hit a button to pitch, and that’s that.
All in all, while it would have been nice to have the game fully captioned, MLB The Show 17 does really well with accessibility compared to other sports games. You aren’t missing out on a whole lot by not catching the narrator in Road to The Show mode because important dialogue is presented on screen, and what for me is a first in any sports game, the commentators being captioned feels like a win for deaf players.
MLB The Show 17
Commentators are actually captioned!
Great visual cues
Text choices in Road to The Show mode are easy to read
Narrator in Road to The Show mode isn't captioned