Review

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Hey guys, I’m back from a long hiatus since school started getting busier. I had the opportunity to get a closed beta key from Epic Games for Dauntless, an upcoming, free-to-play co-op RPG game similar to Monster Hunter. Dauntless pits players against monsters called “behemoths” in an attempt to keep the frontier safe for colonial expansion (at least that’s what I got from the story). Keep in mind I’ve only played up until earlier tier 3 stages, so my knowledge is incomplete.

Anyways, without further ado, let’s get right into it.

– The Good:

The game follows a traditional Monster Hunter formula. Monster Hunter fans will find it very easy to understand the hunt system. Dauntless is very minimalist, so there isn’t anything super complex to worry about, feeling like a barebones tech demo for a Monster Hunter game. Fans of similar games will be able to transition easily into Dauntless.

The Weapons Are Fairly Unique. Currently, Dauntless has 5 weapons: The balanced Sword, the slower Axes, and (Gun)Hammers, Fast Chainblades, and Flashy War Pikes. Each weapon has it’s own strengths and weaknesses, which when combined can result in an efficient, and effective monster hunt with others. For beginners, swords are a great way to learn the boss patterns without getting stuck into long animations of other weapons. War pikes can play a more utility role in parties, opening wounds for others to attack with increased damage. Chainblades are available for those looking for more mobility and fast paced action, whereas more patient, slow players can utilize axes and hammers for breakoffs and staggers as long as they know the boss patterns. Epic is continuing to add more weapons into the game, so expect more than just the 5 they have now.

– It’s fun with friends. The co-op, social aspect of the game is one of the biggest advantages Dauntless has. Nothing beats teaming up with 3 other people to take down a monster 20 times larger than oneself. It doesn’t feel like forced ability cycles like in most MMOs, but isn’t completely free to combo like MH or Vindictus. It can be a fun distraction for you and friends if you all get a beta key if you’re looking for a casual game to play together. There are very few, if any, games like Monster Hunter on PC, so we’ll take what we can get.

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– The Bad:

It can be VERY clunky. Getting stuck in an animation will screw you over eventually. Heavier weapons like the Axe and Hammer are punished greatly for inexperience. Knowing a bosses patterns and attacks helps, but some attack animations are longer than the behemoth animations, which will certainly be a turn off for most players. You’re forced into using generic combos for each weapon rather than Monster Hunter’s mix and match combinations. Most MH fans might see Dauntless as a very simple game because of this, and not worth the time(which is exactly the community this should be targeting), but it’s still early access.

The environments are stale. Each place is the exact same layout, with a few minor changes. Sometimes it’ll be stormy and rainy. Sometimes it’ll be snowy and icy. Regardless, there are only minor changes, like different fauna/resources. There aren’t any super unique environments Dauntless has that other games don’t. There aren’t any sinkholes into caves, high hanging bridges over lush valleys, or crystalline structures to jump off of and air attack monsters from.

– The game runs poorly. Even on the lowest settings, including the resolution scale (OH GOD MY EYES), the game rarely reaches 30 frames per second. The nature of the game itself is slower paced so this isn’t as big of an issue as you’d expect, but it does leave much to be desired. It’s a pretty GPU heavy game currently, so that might be part of it as I’m running an older rig for gaming, however, take into account that performance is one of the last things to complete in an early access title, and with Epic Games’ reputation, this will likely not be an issue for the final release.

– The Camera Can Be Jarring. One of the biggest things you’ll notice is just how zoomed in the camera is, especially in town. Motion blur can helps with this, but the camera is not for those who get motion sickness easily. In town, the camera zooms in further, causing your character to take up a good portion of the screen. There’s no minimap to help you get around, just a few compass icons at the top, and you have to learn where everything is on your own. While not the worst issue with the game, it will turn a few people off from the game.

– It can be underwhelming. One of the nicest things about Vindictus/Monster Hunter is that it actually FEELS like you’re hitting a giant monster. Your character slows down upon contact, you see blood gushing out, or your sword breaks against a tough hide. Dauntless’ hit effects are VERY underwhelming. They create tiny little sparks which don’t appear to do much damage. You can’t see monster health and monsters slow down, though not noticeably so like in Monster Hunter(limping monsters). This is one of the biggest issues with this game, and if it’s trying to be more like Monster Hunter, it must remedy this.

 

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend the game in it’s current state. If you get a closed beta key(try asking on the subreddit!), by all means go for it and give it a shot, but for diehard Monster Hunter fans, you’ll be better off waiting for the PC release, or playing on console/handhelds until then. It’s not a bad game by any means, but it does feel like it’s lacking a lot (like an actual early access game from a major developer, surprise surprise) of content and quality of life changes that keep it from becoming great. I think if Dauntless adopted a system more similar to Vindictus, but with an updated game engine, and support, there could be HUGE success.

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