June 08, 2019
Dauntless – First Impressions
Dauntless is a free-to-play game that fully released on May 21, 2019, for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC. It had previously been in beta testing on PC. This game features cross-platform play. I have been playing off and on (about an hour or so a day) for almost a week. I play exclusively on Xbox One. Most of the time, I have played with two other friends on Xbox. However, I like that there is matchmaking for all types of gameplay, so I can play when my friends are not online. Here are my first impressions.
Each player character is a “Slayer” that must hunt “behemoths”. That’s really all there is to it. Usually, I like games with a good story and fleshed out characters. Dauntless isn’t a story-heavy game, but it doesn’t need to be. Usually, when I am playing in a group and complete a quest, I just skip past all of the finishing dialogue and accept my next quest without reading the description. This is because I am with a group and we are all gearing up to go on the next hunt. I just keep my focus on the quest objectives. I bet this is the case for many other players. If the story was a big part of the game, I would take the time to read the character dialogue. But Dauntless is more about the action.
So far, I have been having a lot of fun with Dauntless. The weapons are pretty easy to use, but they each have their own unique traits. So far, my favorite weapon is the war pike, followed by the sword. The hammer seems very handy,but I haven’t played with it very much yet.
I like that you always go into battle with 5 health potions and 3 revives. This means I don’t have to worry about crafting more after each hunt. I also like that there are different potions and grenades I can choose to carry into a hunt. The resources for the craftable items are all pretty easy to come by during the hunts.
Each behemoth has its own attacks and patterns to learn. The behemoths all have a different element, so you must set your armor and weapon to beat its weakness. Different weapons do different types of damage to the behemoth (part damage, stun damage, wound damage, and raw damage). If there is a quest to stun a behemoth, then you know you must equip a weapon that does a lot of stun damage, like the hammer. So far, this has been pretty straight forward.
I do wish there was some sort of map or tracking mechanic. When looking for the behemoth, it seems best to have the party split up and go looking for it. When a team member finds it, they can send up a flare. I like the flare mechanic, but I wish it lasted a bit longer. Apparently there is a lantern that can track behemoths, but to my knowledge, you cannot use it at the beginning of the hunt because the lantern must be charged to use it. Fortunately, only the behemoth you are hunting will show up during the hunt. So if you see something large moving in the distance, you know it is your target.
The armor sets are one of my favorite elements of the game. From what I have seen, each armor set looks very visually different (no reskins). I like that you can mix and match pieces from different armor sets to give different perks. You can also use dyes on the armor to change the color.
Armor can also be altered using cells, as can weapons. There are many different types of cells (utility, power, technique, defense, etc.), and each cell adds different perks. Different armor pieces can hold different cells. Some sets focus more on power, while others focus on technique. I like the huge variety cells can add to this game. Cells can help adapt your armor and weapons to better fit your playstyle.
Right now, my goal is to get all of the Hellion armor pieces and get them leveled up quite a bit. I like the way it looks and I like the perks. This means I am going to have to do quite a bit of grinding to get the pieces leveled. In Dauntless, people who like to collect everything will have a lot of work to do. There many different armor sets to be unlock and level up. There is also a “Mastery” section in the game for people to work toward completing. Those who like to 100% a game will have to spend hundreds of hours in the game to complete everything.
Dauntless Compared With Monster Hunter World
Monster Hunter World was a big game when it came out last year, and many people were praising it. There is a new expansion coming up (“Iceborne”), and people have begun to talk about it again. Naturally, Dauntless is being compared to Monster Hunter World. I never played Monster Hunter World, but my spouse and some of our friends played, and I would watch them. This is what I have gathered about the two games:
Dauntless is easier than MHW on many different levels. MHW’s combat system is much more complex. The weapons have more combos and have a larger learning curve associated with them. The monsters also change up their patterns more as they take damage. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The weapons in Dauntless are much more user friendly.
The monsters in MHW are more like living creatures. They do other stuff while they weren’t being hunted. For example, you might see two monsters fighting, or you might see a monster stealing eggs from another’s nest. You may be in a battle with one monster, and all of a sudden, you get attacked by a completely different monster. Then you are forced to deal with two monsters at once. There is a tracking system in order to find your target. You can also craft items while on a hunt. In Dauntless, the behemoths only seem to exist to be slain. The only behemoth you will see on a hunt is your target. There is no tracking, but you can use flares to signal where the behemoth is. You cannot craft any items during the hunt, and you are limited to the number of items you can bring.
In Monster Hunter World, your team gets three deaths and then the hunt is over. Dauntless is much more forgiving. Each character can die and be revived numerous times. There is a danger meter in the upper right hand corner. When that meter hits 100%, characters can no longer revive each other; they must use one of their three revive stims to get back into the fight. Once all team members run out of stims and are unconscious, the hunt is over. This leaves much more room for error, and mistake aren’t punished as badly.
Overall, Dauntless is similar to Monster Hunter World, but it is much more casual-friendly. This is what I like about it. I wouldn’t play Monster Hunter World because it seemed very intimidating. It also seems a lot more frustrating because of how hard some of the monsters are to defeat. Although, I feel like defeating a tough monster in MHW gives a much more rewarding feeling than defeating the behemoths in Dauntless due to that difficulty level.
Overall, I am enjoying Dauntless so far. I haven’t come across any paywall yet (I believe most of the items that can be bought with real money are just cosmetics), but I will update if that changes. With Dauntless being free-to-play and cross-platform, more people are able to enjoy playing. I think it is a good choice for groups of friends and also solo players. I will keep updating on my progress and how the game is holding up. The developers are working on bringing new things to the game, and I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out.