A few weeks ago, at the recommendation of fellow blogger Plyasm, I picked up and started playing a PC game called Dauntless, which had just released into early open Beta. Almost immediately, I fell in love with the game, and i’ve been playing the heck out of it for the past month or so. So, what is Dauntless? Let me tell you about it.
The setting of Dauntless is a place called the Shattered Isles, a collection of floating islands (presumably) held aloft by the mysterious element of Aether. Strange creatures, monsters called Behemoths, feed on this Aether, and fight the humans who are trying to harvest it. Warriors called Slayers must pave the way to humanity’s future by defeating these Behemoths, collecting parts from them, and using those parts to make new, stronger gear so they can venture further into the unexplored wilds of the Shattered Isles.
In essence, Dauntless is a pretty simple game. You take a mission, ride an airship to an island, collect resources, kill a Behemoth, then go back to Ramsgate (the ‘Hub’ city of the game) and repeat the process all over again. Very simple, yet it works quite well. The Behemoths are unique and interesting, each with a variety of different attack patterns and gimmicks that makes each battle a new and fun experience.
The weapons are pretty cool as well, each one offering a totally different battle style, combos, and abilities. Swords dish out balanced, consistent damage. Chainblades are quick and agile, allowing you quick gap-closers and getaways. Hammers do huge stagger damage and break bones, and are a valuable asset to any team. Axes deal enormous damage all-around, but are unwieldy to use. Finally, War Pikes allow you to deal rapid strikes and epic combos, inflict bleeding wounds to enemies, and charge up Aether torpedoes to engage enemies at range.
While the current weapons are each pretty darn awesome in their own right, I would like to see a wider variety of weapons, especially ones with ranged capabilities. However, there are rumors of a ranged weapon in the works, which would be great to have and to add to a Slayer’s arsenal, as many of the Behemoths would be really nice to engage at range rather than at melee range.
The variety of the behemoths is pretty awesome as well, but I do have a bit of a complaint with the islands/hunts themselves. In their current state, the islands feel kind of empty. There are a limited number of flowers/gems you can collect on a hunt, as well as, of course, a Behemoth to fight, but you only get one Behemoth per hunt, which stays in one area until the slayers find it and fight it. Compared to the recent Monster Hunter World, where there are many different monsters in an open world that interact and can even fight with each other, this makes Dauntless’ hunt structure feel a little lacking in comparison.
That said, though, the game is great fun. Still in very early Open Beta, it’s fine for the game to be pretty bare-bones and limited in what players can do. The music is great, the cel-shaded art is just gorgeous, and the behemoths are terrific fun to fight. The best part of the game is the focus on multiplayer; many of the behemoths are very hard to beat by yourself. The matchmaking system is super easy and slick, and you can either do a solo hunt, get together with 4 randoms, or create a party of your own with friends and do a hunt. It works really well, and i’ve had nothing but good fun either way.
When partying with randoms, Dauntless has added some really unique and clever ways to communicate with your party without having to type in the in-game chat. Flares are free, you can launch them into the sky to signal that you’ve found a Behemoth and call for aid. Pylons are expensive, but useful items that can give additional healing, damage, resilience, and more to a whole team or in a wide area, and in the pre-hunt lobby, you can look and see what each of your party members has equipped, so you can try to get a well-rounded party with a variety of weapons on your hunt.
If you haven’t given Dauntless a try yet… I highly recommend you do so. It’s a super fun game with some unique ideas, and an impressive and dedicated development team that really know how to make a game about hunting giant monsters feel really, really awesome. I hope you guys give the game a try, and let me know your thoughts on it! Thanks for reading, and i’ll see you in the next post!