Have you ever wanted to experience the glory of slaying a dragon, medieval style but you were just too much of a millennial to even go outside? OK boomers, here’s where everyone can meet half way and slay like Beyonce without needing to spend a dime!
Dauntless is a free-to-play cooperative action RPG game that pits you and three other of your friends up against a monster of epic proportions! If this sounds familiarly like Monster Hunter then your instincts serve you well – ‘cause it’s literally just that! A clone of Monster Hunter!
Now, before you MH fans go nuts at how another company has ripped off the concept for a free-to-play model, just hear me out.
The game was made by Phoenix Labs and is distributed via Epic Games, yes the people who brought you the plague of Fortnite who now outshine the pioneers of the Battle Royale genre. This is the biggest advantage Dauntless has going for itself in taking an existing game style and leveraging off what Epic Games’ underappreciated trait – being crossplatform.
Dauntless was open for Beta mid 2019 on PS4, Xbox One and PC and since then worked out the links to be a solid cross platform title. Recently they announced compatibility with the Nintendo Switch, breaching a whole new frontier of players and adding portability to it’s repertoire. No longer do you have to wait for that one friend to get a console or PC to join your battles! As long as they have a PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, or a PC, you can all charge into glory for blood of the monsters!
For the first few hours of the game, you can tell it’s running with the most basic of aesthetics – familiar to the Fortnite style yet reminiscent to Borderlands’ open world variety without the cell shading. Of course, that leaves room for players to style their threads through progression or even take the cowards route of paying for cosmetics, emotes and more. It is still refreshing knowing that even with microtransactions, the game stays clear of having a pay-to-win model (say no to EA) and focuses on keeping a solid gameplay. After all, the easiest way to make money off something free is to monetize a customer’s vanity right?
Gameplay is pretty straight forward. Aside from being able to customise your character’s looks, you will also have a range of weapons to choose from – swords, axes, hammers, and even guns! Each have a different play style which adds more dynamism to its repetitive formula of combat which goes along well with the difficulty progression of new monsters.
With weapons also come combos which you can execute patterns between alternating light and heavy attacks but as you Dark Souls fan know, combo-ing a foe isn’t without consequence so you are also given a roll/dodge button. There is some invincibility to the roll/dodge ability but certain combos don’t allow you to cancel the animation – forcing you to play your strategies wisely with every approach. All this combined with the mayhem of monster attacks and friendlies button mashing through damage values just makes for a great fun with friends, strangers and the occasional kid with the maxed out mic.
The game is still in its early introduction but passed Beta long enough to get it to start snowballing into 2020. I recently tried it on the Nintendo Switch and despite the console’s shortcomings of frame drops and laggy net connection, the game still delivers a satisfying experience. I later hopped on a PC and to my surprise, matchmade a game with someone on PS4, Xbox One AND Nintendo Switch respectively! To top it off, EVERYONE was playing smoothly with barely any noticeable hiccups in battle! Colour me impressed!
I’m usually not one for games that have redundant grinds for the sake of a grind (I have a love hate relationship with Apex Legends but thankfully, I’ve ADHD’d that game out of my mind) but there’s something about Dauntless that returns the fun factor of co-op back to that experience having your friend over to try out a new title. Many online games still have this intangibility that connects yet restricts you from being in the hype with friends – visually with audio it is there but its a ghost feeling. Dauntless has the potential to bridge that gap slightly closer with its cooperative gameplay and simplistic style that leaves its future open for more modifications.
Again, Dauntless is very basic to its core but has a bright future ahead of itself simply by making it accessible not only on multiple platforms but also by being free-to-play. This game will obviously face the ugly stick of the attempt to make it “eSports” but there’s still endless playability here for all ages and player levels to enjoy. Pretty soon, you won’t even need a console to play the game as Phoenix Labs has already teased their venture into taking Dauntless onto the mobile phone frontier!
Dauntless is now available for download FREE on Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch via their respective stores and via Epic Games’ launcher on PC.