Reviews - Updated on April 10, 2022

When Dauntless first became known, the Monster Hunter series remained a Japanese exotica that did not visit either home consoles or personal computers. The developers from Phoenix Labs wanted to offer the world an alternative, to allow the owners of these platforms to play something similar. So that they would gather with friends in groups, create equipment, hunt huge monsters. Then Monster Hunter: World came out, eventually it became available on PC, and almost nothing has been heard about Dauntless since then. They remembered about it only with the release of the release version, but is it worth spending time on it?

The hunt has begun

I will not claim that I have studied all the content available in Dauntless and can give a final assessment. I spent about 15 hours in it, created dozens of weapons and armor sets, completed quests and saw a lot of monsters, which are called giants here. This text is more about whether the game is able to keep the screens after a few evenings and what it has to offer during this time. Although the action movie is distributed on a shareware model and everyone can try it if they wish, it is unlikely that many people download all the free games in order to explore them on their own.

It should be said right away that Dauntless is really a simplified version of Monster Hunter, and this is both an advantage and a disadvantage. If World offered large locations inhabited by living creatures and dotted with vegetation, then everything here is much poorer. Maps are a kind of arena, where there is only your team and the giant. No tracks for you to follow, no lizards running around here and there, just a zone where nothing happens. You look for a monster, your squad does the same, then someone finds it, shoots into the sky, and everyone sees on the radar where to go. The giant is defeated, you can return back to the city.

The battles are also not as exciting as in World or even in the past parts of Monster Hunter. For example, there is no “verticality” here, so saddling some dinosaur and shredding its back will not work here. At the same time, the combat system is much more dynamic, even if you have a heavy hammer in your hands. My favorite weapon in Monster Hunter has always been the greatsord – it seems terribly inconvenient, but once you master it, it becomes difficult to part with this sword. There are no such heavy weapons in Dauntless, although

axes and hammers are still slower than blades and pikes.

Weapons are here for every taste: both for those who prefer to stay away from the giant, and for those who like to run under the monster’s feet, beating his heels. In addition, the arsenal is not without surprises – it seems that you take a hammer with you to deal damage at close range, but it turns out that he also knows how to shoot. And the sword, when the scale in the corner of the screen fills up after a couple of dozen hits, will start releasing energy waves. The same happens with pikes, axes, daggers and pistols – with the latter, you can drop an amplifier to the ground that increases attack speed.

Dauntless - impressions after 3 pm

The arenas are large, but completely empty – only a few flowers and a monster.

The design of the monsters is also more pleasing than frustrating. The first giant to be defeated in the tutorial poses no danger – it stands still and only occasionally attacks, forcing you to dash to the side, during which you do not take damage. But then more and more interesting individuals appear: a dinosaur flooding the earth with lava, a nimble fire-breathing monster, an owl ready to turn a hunter into ice, a wasp disappearing for a few seconds – these are beautiful, well animated creatures. They aren’t as detailed as Rathalos and Nergigante, but they don’t feel boring or unoriginal either.

Need more tails

The only sad thing is that already now most of the battles follow the same scenario: find a monster, deal damage to it for several minutes, fly to the base. So far, the fights lack the depth that can be found in Monster Hunter. You take five first-aid kits with you on an expedition and fill three more slots with some useful items – it can be both potions created from the herbs you have collected, and all sorts of bonus items like grenades. That’s it, nothing else can be used. You memorize how the monster behaves and what to expect from it, dodge in time and hope that your partners will not climb on the rampage and waste their three resurrections.

However, in Dauntless, for some reason, you still want to return, and after the next hunt you start the next one in order to complete this or that quest and collect the materials necessary for forging. When you defeat another monster and check items with merchants, you see that they sell new sets of armor, and at the same time new swords, axes and pikes become available. Here, as in the main source of inspiration for developers, you hunt monsters solely in order to assemble new equipment from their parts and destroy more and more dangerous giants with it. By the way, monsters’ tails, horns and scales fall off if you hit these places as often as possible.

Dauntless - impressions after 3 pm

Looks like someone is going to be angry…

In addition, there is a “Mastery” associated with each monster and weapon – in a separate menu, you can see what tests are proposed to be completed to increase the overall level of the hunter. Defeat some creature so many times and for a certain time, cause several bleeding with pike blows, chop off so many parts of the body with a sword – there are a lot of such tasks, and for their completion they give useful bonuses like loot boxes with improvements for armor and weapons or an increased chance of dropping a rare item. The more tests are completed, the sooner the character’s level increases, and there health will increase, and titles will be unlocked, and endurance will increase.

At the same time, there is no full-fledged story campaign in Dauntless, and the texts in the quests issued by the characters are worthy of attention to about the same extent as in Korean MMOs. You don’t feel like reading them, because the characters don’t tell anything interesting about the universe or about their own lives – you just scroll through these windows and get to the bottom of the conversation. Quests are also not original and are more like tests from the Mastery section: go kill three creatures, deal damage with strong attacks, put on high-level armor. There are no screensavers (except for the very first one), and it is unlikely that they will appear later. So Dauntless is a game purely about gameplay, farming and combat.

Fast and convenient

Perhaps that is why it is so easy to understand it. If the Monster Hunter series is rather unfriendly to beginners and forces them to either spend too much time on their own or look for clues on the Internet, then in Dauntless you almost grasp everything on the fly. You always know what materials are needed for forging. You can open the list of available hunts, and they will show you for which quests you need to defeat this or that giant. Or you need to go on a patrol – there you will meet a random monster, and at the same time get materials for upgrading, which are not given out during normal hunts.

Everyone must hit the Ready button before they start tracking down the monster, but before that, the game will kindly tell you if you’re well-dressed for the upcoming fight. Monsters here are divided into several elements, and how effective you will be in battle depends on the armor you wear and the weapon you choose. If a fiery giant, going to him in the armor of an owl from a snowy region is stupid, but in the garb of another fiery monster, you can withstand much more blows. With weapons, everything works in the opposite direction – in the frosty arena, your red-hot sword will be more useful than a weak piece of ice. You can change clothes if necessary in the same menu, but it’s a pity that for now there is no way to select several sets and quickly switch between them – everything has to be done separately.

Dauntless - impressions after 3 pm

One of the most unpleasant giants.

For every convenience, there is bound to be a sloppily made element. Either before starting the game you have to stand in line for 10 minutes, then you can’t take a new quest, and you need to exit the dialogue and start it again. Random matchmaking also works strangely – if there are two or three of you in the lobby, the game will not start the hunt for two minutes, even if everyone is ready. But the room will not be filled with anyone in the end, and you will go with the same company. No one joined me during the hunt itself. Perhaps this is due to barely breathing servers.

It is possible that because of them, the performance on a regular PlayStation 4 sometimes leaves much to be desired. Or the game is just badly optimized. In a city where you are crafting and picking up quests, the frame rate drops by almost half, and the same thing often happens during hunting, especially if the giant likes to summon small helpers or sets fire to the ground. In May, the game visited consoles for the first time, so you can still forgive the developers for such an oversight. The main thing is that they fix it as soon as possible.

What Dauntless really deserves credit for is its support for full cross-play between the three platforms. It is enabled by default, so every second session you find yourself in the same group as PC and console owners, seeing the corresponding icons next to their names. At these moments, you begin to understand that the future lies with such multiplayer – any patrol and any hunt can be launched in a matter of seconds, and if your friends do not play on the same device, there are no barriers between you. Oh, this would be in all other multiplayer games …

You need to dodge attacks.

***

In general, Dauntless turned out to be a good shareware game, which at this stage does not cause me any complaints in terms of monetization. Basically, they ask you to pay for cosmetic items, and at each launch you are reminded of the existence of a paid “Hunter Pass” in the spirit of Fortnite and Paladins with all sorts of consumables, costumes, emotes and currency, thanks to which you will be able to return the money spent and purchase the next pass for free.

This is really a simplified version of Monster Hunter, devoid of some of its advantages, but still worthy of attention. If you enjoy hunting monsters, forging armor, forging weapons, and completing challenges while watching the checkboxes appear in a huge list, it will be difficult to tear yourself away from the game.

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