To many, the Monster Hunter look-alike is simply that: just a Monster Hunter clone. And I won’t deny that the game obviously shares a lot of the same elements as the esteemed Monster Hunter franchise. But Dauntless has taken the monster hunting genre and made it its own. Now I’m not saying it reinvented the wheel, but I am saying that Dauntless has carved its own unique piece of the monster-hunting pie. For me, it is just about the perfect game. It is not a perfect game – not by a long shot – but for me, it is a game that I just can’t put down.
To start with, the combat is solid. Swinging your weapons around feels nice and fluid. My favorite weapon so far is the sword because I think it has a great balance of doing some good damage swiftly. So I can charge in, get some good hits, then be ready to get out of harm’s way. Each Behemoth has its own style of fighting and some have really interesting mechanics to make sure you are on your toes during a hunt. A good example of this is the Emberbane. The Emberbane is basically a large fiery hellhound that is always on the run. The catch is that every now and then, he will spew out some fireballs that stay on the ground. While you are frantically running around trying to get a hit on him, you need to avoid the fire pits so you don’t catch on fire.
Each weapon has its own set of combos and extra mechanics that make using them that much more fun. I ran a few hunts with the sword and really started to enjoy it. My friend told me of a really nice combo, that I didn’t even know of, which can really deal out some damage. Ever since then, I keep that combo in my back pocket, as it is really effective while the Behemoth is stunned on the ground. To go along with the different weapons, your slayer is also equipped with some useful items ranging from grenades, a lantern, or stamina buffs. These items can really make or break an encounter and you craft them by scouring the map and gathering resources from plants and big rocks. So it is a natural necessity to explore the map a little while tracking the Behemoth. The lantern is an interesting item because it hosts two different abilities while in combat. You can either hold the button to activate one ability or just press the button to activate another. Normally these abilities are just some extra damage buffs or grant you a temporary shield. But it’s a nice feature to toy around with because you can craft lanterns the same way as weapons — by slaying Behemoths.
And last, but definitely not least, is the dodge roll. Thank the heavens the dodge roll grants you a small window of invincibility. It really changes how you go into a fight. Going back to the Emberbane, when he charges at our team, I now run straight at him and just roll through his attack, positioning me behind, ready to attack. It does not work so well with every Behemoth but the dodge roll is a nice mechanic to change up how you fight. The combat overall is pretty straightforward but with a good amount of varying Behemoths to fight, it remains fresh and fun.
I think the most appealing thing to me about the hunts themselves (besides the combat) is that they are relatively quick and condensed. There is no running and tracking the monster for ten minutes (to a degree, you do it a tiny amount but nothing like Monster Hunter). For someone like me who maybe plays an hour or two on a good day, this lets me do a good amount of hunts and allows me to accomplish a little bit more every time I log in. It is definitely a big plus for me personally.
Now let’s talk about everything other than hunting the Behemoths. The main thing you will be doing is slaying monsters, gathering their parts and making powerful armor and weapons. This is the main goal of the game. Slay the monster, make powerful gear, then slay more powerful monsters. Rinse and repeat. It sounds repetitive and it can seem that way. But one thing about Dauntless is there are these little (and some not so little) quests that you obtain from different vendors that reward either mods for your gear, new items, cosmetics items etc. So while you are out on a hunt, you may need to gather a certain element or break off a specific part of the behemoth to obtain more items to help you later down the road. It makes it so the fights do not get too mind-numbing. And the good thing about most of these quests is that they are not so much of a grind to where you are doing the same hunt over and over and over. You can do a good amount of them in just a few hunts (from what I have experienced so far). So there is a good sense of progression throughout the game.
Microtransactions — let’s talk about them. They exist in Dauntless. Whoo. Now, there are some cool cosmetics in the game but frankly, I was expecting more. There is definitely an opportunity here to really break out a good amount of cool skins, player titles, flares etc. But, man, why is everything priced so high? I would probably feel good about shelling out a couple bucks to buy a skin and support the devs (I mean, the game is free). But a lot of these cosmetics are ten plus dollars. I just can’t bring myself to do it. I hope they rework it to some degree because the devs have really been working hard to fix server issues after the recent launch on consoles.
And now let’s talk about that. The servers. They also exist. I think? No, I’m kidding, but early on there were some connection issues and one day I got kicked out of a hunt four times in a row. I can confidently say that the real server issues are over and that things are really improving with the technical side of the game. I do still experience some frame rate issues which can hinder the fun of a hunt sometimes. But that has happened only a handful of times.
Overall, Dauntless is not Monster Hunter. It’s Dauntless. I put in over a hundred hours into Monster Hunter World (which is honestly not that much lol) and loved every second of it. I can proudly say that it over-prepared me for Dauntless. I am really enjoying Dauntless and I am excited for what the game has in store down the road. If you are thinking about jumping in, I would definitely recommend you give it a try. It’s free, it’s fun and it can be challenging.
Plus you can pet the dog. What else do you need?