The Division 2 Mobility Accessibility
Score7.5 out of 10
The Division 2 is a third person view exploration and cover based shooter game by Ubisoft coming out on March. It has a mix of RPG elements including weapon stats, skills and loot system. You can play alone or with other players. This sequel takes place in Washington and you even get to visit the White House, or what’s left of it after the previous events. I’m talking about the prequel game’s story of a virus outbreak, nothing to do with the real politics of USA these days (or maybe yes, who knows?). In this review I’ll comment the accessibility for people with reduced mobility so I won’t comment much on any options not related to that. I played for about 3 hours on PC using mouse and keyboard mainly and these are my conclusions based on that.
The game options most related to mobility are CONTROLS, KEY MAPPING and 3RD PARTY for those with a Tobii Eye Gaming device.
In CONTROLS we have options to adjust Mouse Sensitivity, Mouse Aim Sensitivity, Mouse Acceleration and Mouse Smoothness. These are common to most games and tune our mouse parameters to our specific needs. There’s also a Swap Mouse Buttons for swapping left/right mouse buttons that is usually used by left-handed players. Then we have Gamepad Look Sensitivity and Gamepad Aim Sensitivity, to adjust the sensitivity of our gamepad camera movement and aim. Controller Vibration enables/disables the vibration for those who find it bothersome. Being able to adjust it to different levels would have been nice. Button Layout changes the control scheme for the gamepad between Default, Southpaw, Legacy and Legacy Southpaw. There is no option to remap the gamepad buttons outside of these presets which would be perfect as seen in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Left and Right Stick Dead Zone Size adjusts how sensitive the sticks are to our inputs for each one. Disable Gamepad well… it disables it. Invert Y and X-axis reverse the way up-down and left-right behaves. 180 Sprint Turn, when enabled, makes it so when you sprint in the opposite direction of the camera it turns to stay behind you. Autolook Center will center the camera after you start moving or keep it in the direction you left it. Parkour Mode During Gameplay and During Auto Run decide if while sprinting you will automatically jump over obstacles and/or climb them during manual movement or auto run mode. This can be useful to save time and effort on your hands. Movement Can Exit Cover allows you to exit cover with a simple move in any direction. Move Around Cover Corner With Button Press seems easy to understand but I had no way to make it work. I’m really confused as in the previous game this worked. Move Around Corner Speed it’s also self-explanatory and has two values, Slow and Fast. Toggle to Sprint switches the sprint mechanic between toggle or hold down. Combat Roll on Movement Keys allows to perform an escape roll by tapping twice in any direction. Hold to Aim Mouse switches aiming between holding down or tapping a mouse button. Hold to Aim Gamepad does the same for gamepads. Aim Assist turns on/off aim assists on gamepad. Finally Cancel Skill When Aiming will cancel your skill when you press the aim key/button. All in all the menu is very complete.
In KEY MAPPING we can remap all general gameplay actions. Secondary keys are also available and all mouse buttons are usable, including Mouse Wheel Up and Down. Combination keys like Shift+V or anything similar aren’t accepted. There is also no way to remap the keys used inside menus like Inventory, Map, Skills, Crafting… as these seem to be hardcoded and the same happens for Photo Mode controls with the exception of the camera movement keys, WASD by default. Adding a secondary set of movement keys will allow you to use those for Photo Mode movement. The total number of keys is 44 which is a lot but many of them, up to 15, are not necessary cause there are other methods of performing those actions in a more convenient manner.
In 3RD PARTY we can make use of several features based on eye and head tracking hardware. These include camera movement, aiming, grenade launching, changing cover and some more.
How to Play
For this review I decided to change things and give a detailed list of how to perform the most common actions. The game mechanics are the most important aspect and maybe this way the reader will have a better understanding to decide if the game is accessible to them. Please tell me if you find this approach to be better or worse.
The gameplay has you exploring the city, shooting enemies, gathering loot and resources, completing missions… As stated before the game plays entirely in third person view.
To move you use the usual WASD keys or whatever you change them to. You control turning, aiming and the camera using the mouse. To aim you can either hold down a mouse button/key or simply tap it and toggle between aiming or normal view. To switch weapons you can press a designated key for each one of them or cycle through them using the mouse wheel or other keys. You also can unlock skills as you progress and use them by pressing the designed key/button and left clicking afterwards or by simply pressing a key. Grenades are thrown by pressing the grenade key/button and then left clicking on the target zone. To interact with NPCs and the world (opening doors, item containers…) you press a key or hold it for a while, this varies depending on the situation, and for some actions it’s a bit too much time holding down in my opinion but generally speaking it’s okay.
As I mentioned before the game uses a cover based shooting system. This means when you engage the enemy you should be covering behind a car, corner or anything. To enter cover you just aim to the place you want to use as cover and hold down the proper key until you are there. Moving from one cover place to another is performed in the exact same way. To reload or use melee you just press the proper key. Replenishing your armour and health requires you to hold down a key. To sprint you can hold down the sprint key plus the direction you want to go or just toggle sprint with a key press. Switching between normal and slow walking is done by pressing a key. You can evade grenades or attacks by pressing twice the cover key or by tapping twice in the direction you want to. Also there’s an autorun key that saves you a lot of time during long distances. When you press it your character will start walking nonstop until you press it again and you can control your direction via mouse as mentioned earlier. To vault over objects you press the vault key. To climb ladders/ropes you tap the vault key and then hold forward/back until you’re finished. For communicating you can use text chat, voice chat or an emote system. To use emotes you can assign 6 of them to different keys and tap that key or hold down a key and choose one emote from an overlay. Almost all menu actions can be performed via mouse clicks only or using the keys the game has predetermined for them. The instances you can’t use the mouse are rare but they are a bit frustrating. Photo Mode is one of them. Having Camera Tilt forced on Q and E is annoying but the worst is that in order to exit this mode you have to hold down the Escape key for a bit. Also in the Map the Fast Travel option can only be activated by holding down a key.
Overall the mobility accessibility is good, with most gameplay features being very accessible. Good toggle and hold choices for all common functions and skill and grenade usage is very convenient. Thumbs up for allowing the mouse wheel up and down to be rebound. Secondary key rebinds are good to salvage movement in Photo Mode. Ideally gamepad buttons should also be remappable. Hold downs to use certain features should be at least cut down a bit. As stated before the main concerns are the hardcoded keys. In normal gameplay you have to press the F key, no matter you remappings, to stop playing audio recordings. Similar issues occur in menus and some odd choices negating proper mouse usage in some instances like the Apply button in the Video Settings menu. The Map Fast Travel feature being usable only by holding down a specific key is the most glaring issue that I hope gets addressed. Regarding Photo Mode I wish they allowed to use a mouse driven system for the most basic functions like Tilt Camera or at least allow a key remap for those. Also having to hold down the Escape key to exit it was quite troublesome. Being unaware of that I had to call someone to come and press the key for me so I could exit the screen. I solved it later by using my keyboard’s macro utility to remap the Escape key to another one and this won’t be possible with common free utilities like AutoHotkey due to the Easy AntiCheat software. The emote system implementation is good. Eye tracking hardware could be a life changer too during combat.
Keyboard & Mouse Controls: How well the game plays using keyboard and mouse. Includes sensitivity options, aim assists. How hard it is to perform actions both during gameplay and in menus. – 4/6
Gamepad Controls: How well the game plays using a gamepad. Includes sensitivity options, aim assists, alternative button schemes, vibration adjustment. How hard it is to perform actions both during gameplay and in menus. – 5/6
Remappable Controls: If you can remap buttons, keys, mouse buttons. Allowing secondary keys for actions and a combination of multiple keys/buttons for an action. – 4/6.
QTE Accessibility: Options to partially/fully skip QTEs or use hold instead of smashing a key. – 6/6
Hold/Toggle Options: Hold/Toggle switches for aiming, running, walking, stealth, zooming… Having reasonable hold down times. – 5/6.
3rd Party Software/Hardware Support: If the game allows the use of hardware assists like Eye Trackers and compatibility with software like Autohotkey to create macros or remapping of keys/buttons. Some games don’t allow software like Autohotkey and thus make it impossible for many people play, risking even an account ban due to poor anti-cheating solutions. – 3/6
Anthony Martins is 42 and has been a gamer his whole life. He has SMA Type 2 and can be found on Twitter at @Black1976