DO YOU LIKE SLAYING giant monsters? Exploring lush vistas? And traversing mountainscapes, while carrying a huge @$$ sword, decked out in armor forged by the carcass of your latest hunt? Well, then you’d have a pretty rip-roaring time with Dauntless!
About the Game
DAUNTLESS is a free-to-play game where you hunt big mother effin’ monsters. Why? Because they’re there, and they are a threat! And you hunt threats. With a vengeance. Plain and simple, like. It was developed by Phoenix Labs, published by Epicgames, and is available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
YOU CREATE YOUR ADVENTURER, are introduced to the world via a beautifully rendered cut scene, and then you’re thrust into the city of Ramsgate. Ramsgate serves as the hub world where you start every journey. Here, you can buy items, craft/upgrade weapons, and armor, meet the various NPCs, receive/finish quests, and buy cosmetic items for real money.
HUNTING MONSTERS is the name of the game. Not literally mind you, but everything that you do serves to help as you attempt to mangle the hide of these giant behemoths! Go on a hunt. Slay a beast. Return to Ramsgate. Take your spoils to create stronger gear and weapons. Set out once again. That pretty much sums up Dauntless.
What I Liked
DAUNTLESS IS VISUALLY STUNNING. I love the colors, the design, and the aesthetic of everything in the game. From the weapons, armor, creatures, people, and even the trees, the entire world of Dauntless is vibrant and stylized. It just pops! A feast of sorts for my eye holes. I love it!
COMBAT IS VISCERAL AND SIMPLE. The button layout isn’t complicated. You have a standard attack, heavy attack, dash, jump, special move, and other helpful gestures like heal, revive, buff, and throw something along the lines of a grenade.
You have a large array of weapons to choose from, depending on your play style. The action can get pretty hectic, and some of the later beast battles are ferociously fast-paced! Each giant creature has its own attack patterns, weaknesses, and skills, so you’ll have to fight and dodge accordingly. It helps keep combat light and fresh with every encounter.
SOLO & MATCHMAKING is also pretty good. You can have up to 4 people in your hunting party, or you have the option to set out on your own, privately. Each works well, and wait times were never that long.
I found myself matched with decent players. Yeah, there is the off chance you’ll be paired with some low-level character or someone that will fight and then leave because they realize the behemoth is too far above their level. But during my time in Dauntless that was few and far between, and the majority of matched players always pulled their weight during the battle.
What I Disliked
THIS IS BOSS BATTLE the game. And by that, I mean that there isn’t anything to do, except fight the boss. Stages feel desolate and empty. Fighting gigantic beasts is fun, I’ll admit, but that’s all you do. When you transfer to each world, there is nothing there. You just run around the beautiful landscape until you come across the behemoth, and then kill it.
There aren’t any other creatures you can hunt, to pass the time, or to just fill up the emptiness. You can gather items, sure, but that’s it. I found myself wandering a lot, wondering where the monster is? And in that time, all I did was pick up plants and run around. There aren’t other hunters we can meet? Smaller creatures to hunt? Places to explore to tell us a little bit about this world, without telling us, but showing us?
THE DASH IS HORRIBLE. While I did praise the combat, the dash is just too freaking slow. I also don’t think you can dash mid animation? I found myself trying to dash and I would get hit like 80% of the time.
THERE IS NO OVERWORLD MAP. I get that the main stages are probably really small, but it would be nice to be able to get a bearing on where I am. Maybe show where items are located, and once the behemoth shows up, have it blip onto the map? Something?
There also isn’t even a map for the hub world. I’d run around Ramsgate with no idea where I’m going, trying to remember where that one NPC, that did that one thing I want to do, was located. A simple overworld map would make traveling and finding things so much easier.
DANGER LEVELS ARE ANNOYING. I don’t mean the damage inflicted by the monsters. There’s this thing where, every time you die, a danger meter fills up. And if it reaches 100%, or it takes too long for another player to revive you, your character is dead. Forever. There is no way to bring them back until you bring the Danger Meter down. And I think you can only bring it down by killing the behemoth or making it flee?
Why would you do that? In a game, where the beasts pummel the living s*** out of you, are you going to put a gameplay feature which makes reviving teammates impossible? I get that it adds to the difficulty, but some of the battles are difficult as is. This feature just makes it annoying.
FLARES ARE HARD TO MISS. So, when you are hunting with a party, you can send up a flare that tells the rest of the group where you are on the map. At the top of the screen is a compass. And you can only see a part of the directions at one time (like north, northeast, and northwest) and you have to spin around to see the rest of the directions.
The flare shows up as a small, spinning yellow circle on the overhead compass. But, let’s say you’re looking south, and the flare marker shows up somewhere in the north? You will not see it till you spin the camera in that direction. There’s a sound, true. But if you have the sound low, or off, you can miss the marker completely.
I’ve had moments in battle, where I saw the life bar of my teammates (which you can always see) depleting and I had no idea where they were! And worst yet, are the players that never throw up the flare. I had one battle where I saw their health bars deplete until they died, and I could not find them on the map, because they never threw up a flare.
DAUNTLESS IS A FUN GAME. Yes, I do have my gripes, but the core of the game is pretty solid. Fight giant monsters, upgrade gear, slay more monsters. The formula is simple, and Dauntless certainly delivers on that level. However, it leaves a lot to be desired, and I can see some players getting bored with the same ol’ rinse and repeat gameplay. Hopefully, they add more content in the future.
SO WHAT DO YOU THINK OF DAUNTLESS? Have you played or tried it out? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
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