Mobility Game Review - Dauntless
Score4.6 out of 10
Dauntless is a free game in third person view where you are a monster hunter. You create a character to your preference and take on missions and expeditions to collect resources, materials and of course kill all sorts of monsters in order to keep the world safe and get money, experience and parts to craft weapons and other types of gear. You can play solo but are very much encouraged to do it with other players as the game is designed to be played in co-operative mode. Nothing of this is new but the game is fun, has good visuals, a distinct art-style, simple mechanics and again, free.
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 on PC using mouse and keyboard mainly and these are my conclusions based on that.
While not related to mobility, the Video menu has options to adjust Motion Blur and Field of View. These are always welcome as they help with motion sickness. Also it’s worth to mention all menus and options can be fully navigated with a mouse.
The Controls menu is simple but well organized. For Gamepad we can invert both X and Y axis independently, adjust the axis sensitivities and turn off/on the vibration.
For Mouse we have the same options except vibration, of course.
And at the bottom, we have a representation of the control layout for gamepad. As I said earlier all very simple, maybe too much? Wait until you see the next menu.
The Bindings menu allows you to rebind your keys, mouse and gamepad buttons. Yes, that’s right, the always desired button remapping for gamepad is here! I hope this becomes the standard as it helps a lot of players. Regarding keys, you can assign two different keys or mouse buttons to each action. Key combinations or mouse wheel up/down aren’t allowed. I want to mention you can remap the Menu key that in 99% of games is forced to Escape. Not here! Sorry, I got carried away. I always ask for this feature due to the difficulty of using Escape for many people with reduced mobility and it is very nice to see this option. The total number of keys is 34, which isn’t that much, and some are just shortcuts to journal and other screens that can be accessed by other means.
One thing to mention is the way you remap the keys/buttons is not very practical. You have to click on the key slot, press your desired key and then click with the mouse on the Done button in the bottom right. This is more complicated and requires more effort than the common way where you just click the slot, press your key and that’s it. You might think this is nitpicking but every move counts for many of us and while it’s not a problem it could be more simple and intuitive.
How to Play
The game mechanics are simple. You start in a city with quest givers, shops and gear crafters. Once you accept a quest or hunt you can create a party with your friends, other players or go alone.
- To move you use the usual WASD keys or whatever you change them to. You control turning the camera using the mouse. To sprint you must hold down the sprint key plus the direction you want to. To jump you just press the corresponding key.
- To enter shops, talk and the perform other activities you have to press or hold the interact key as instructed on the screen. All menus for buying/selling/crafting are easy to navigate with both mouse or gamepad and to select or craft gear you have to click or hold the mouse button for a short time.
- To access the different menus like Movelist, Map and others you can press the shortcut keys you assigned in bindings or just go to the Main Menu and navigate using the mouse. There are two exceptions. The Friends menu which must be accessed using the key you defined and the Hunt status showing the progress of finding a server which is forced on the H key. The Friends interaction such as Invite to Party, Promote to Leader and such are all performed easily with the mouse.
- For communication, you can use voice chat, text chat or an emote system. To access this you have to hold down the Emote Wheel key and choose one using the mouse.
- Once into the action part, you move just like in the city. You can gather plants, minerals and other resources by pressing or holding down the interact key. This depends on what you’re doing but is clearly shown on screen, just like in the city.
- Combat uses a simple but effective combo system. You can perform two different attacks that change according to your weapon. You can also do combos as shown in the movelist. These are performed by doing a specific sequence of taps and holds of your main attacks. Once your special attack bar is filled by connecting hit you can activate your special ability by just pressing one key. To dodge you can just press the dodge key or dodge and the direction you want to. Just dodging forward seemed okay for me. To use potions and other consumables press one of the quickslot keys from the bindings.
Conclusions and issues
In general the mobility accessibility is good, with simple movements and ways to interact with the different game elements. It’s great that menus are fully usable just with mouse and simple gamepad navigation. The key remapping is quite good despite the clunky system described. With that resolved and allowing to remap the “Finding Server” key it would be great. Adding key combinations as a choice would help too. Hold times for many interactions are too long and there is no reason to not make them a simple tap as with others or at least offer the option to choose what system to use. Unfortunately, the game lacks a sprint toggle option and an autorun feature. During long fights and pursuits it’s exhausting to hold down even forward, not to mention sprint too. The dodge system is simple and was okay for me, but having a double tap alternative could benefit many other players. The last issue regarding combat is not having a lock target option which would also help greatly. Last but not least, a unlock mouse cursor option would allow players who need on-screen keyboard to play.
Communication is okay but not truly accessible due to two factors: the lack of voice to text/text to speech options and having to hold down the Emote Wheel key. A toggle option for that is really needed as demonstrated by other games.
I want to add that even it’s out of my field of expertise, the player I was playing with had low vision problems. He pointed out he could hardly read any text or use the navigational compass. I have no way to know how to address these issues, outside of having text size options for the subs and UI, allowing to increase the size of some UI elements and add an opaque background to some too. These might not be the perfect solutions but at least I want the developers to know. You can ask @VictorAndre87 about this problem.
Antonio I. Martinez is 42 and has been a gamer his whole life. He has SMA Type 3 and can be found on Twitter at @Black1976