DAUNTLESS Game REVIEW


If you discarded Monster Hunter to its core components and redesigned it as a free online game (but not pay to win), online only, you would get something very much like Dauntless. Take most of the best parts of the iconic Capcom franchise and redeploy them in an accessible and fun way with much less luggage. While it may lack the depth that arises from that complexity, Dauntless's simplified approach offers something more than compensates for it.


The hook is simple: you are a murderer, and you kill big and unpleasant monsters called gigantic. That's it, killing is basically everything you do. The lack of a real story beyond inconsequential blocks of text at the beginning and end of missions that encourage little empathy was a nuisance at first, but I quickly forgot it. On the other hand, telling stories has never been the point of sale in other games of this genre (such as Monster Hunter or God Eater), so it is hard to say that I miss him very much. Instead of being a source of dialogues full of knowledge, each NPC in Dauntless is a provider or a search engine in the central city, so when you're not customizing things on menus, you're out of combat, dodging fireballs, and killing huge beasts. It is very focused.


Dauntless has to do with constant progression. Each monster you kill gives you a lot of materials to make crafts, such as skins, feathers, and scales that are used in the city to create weapons and armor based on those same monsters. You need to harvest fire-based creatures to make firearms that will help you to shoot down monsters of ice, and you must harvest the ice monsters to make an armor good enough to withstand the attacks based on the ice of the strongest... Each enemy has a clear strength and weakness, so you can intuitively design the right equipment for any situation, which is then fed back into the "hunting, craft, repetition" cycle for the next fight. There is not a great variety of activities to do, but the game from moment to moment is excellent.


Beyond the manufacture of better equipment, there are mastery levels as a way of progression. The more you use a type of weapon or kill a type of beast, the higher your rank of Mastery in that specific field. The higher your domain level, the better equipment you can make, the better updates you can unlock, etc. It is a system that rewards commitment and, in a refreshing way, does not punish it for not spending money on the optional (and mainly cosmetic) microtransactions of Dauntless.


Each of the six types of Dauntless weapons feels unique and powerful, with slots for elements called cells that you can use to update and customize them to your liking. The sword is nice and balanced as a good entry weapon, but the brightness of the warp makes it very exciting for extended combos. The only melee option with double grip, the chain's blades, are extremely fast and efficient, while repeaters offer a mid-range pistol style to mix things up. The hammers are the slowest of the group, but they cause great damage and the ax is somewhere between the sword and the hammer like a massive blade weapon that is tuned to cut and dice.


Of all the types of weapons, my favorite was the War Pike because it felt the most unique compared to what I've tried in other monster hunting games over the years. It has a good range for a melee weapon and can attack very quickly to accumulate your special meter or slowly for strong attack attacks to break monster parts. Combos and combat style are the most nuanced and complicated weapons options, but it feels great once you master it. It also looks really cool to use thanks to all its visual and rotating effects.


Dauntless's monster designs are often a mix between fantastic creatures and real-world animals more grounded, such as the Embermane, which looks like a fused rhino and lion, or the Shrike, which looks a lot like an Owlbear of Dungeons & Dragons. Although not as alien as God Eater's grandiloquent beasts, nor as realistic as Monster Hunter's dinosaur creatures, Dauntless has a surprising style that really grew on me over time. The palette of bright and contrasting colors is easy for the eyes and each giant has a lot of personalities. Quillshot, like a boar, has the habit of throwing himself on his side to try to stab you with the spikes on his back that kept me alert, and the amazing speed of the terrifying and ferocious Hellion always surprised me.


Learning the attack patterns and perfecting your dodge roll is as important as knowing your weapons combos. When you dodge, you are invulnerable for a short time, so you can roll to and through the enemies in the middle of the fight. But since many weapons are huge with deliberate windings, synchronizing things so that you do not get stuck in an attack animation as a giant is directed towards you is paramount. It has a great pace of planning and execution in each fight.



Microtransaction reaction


Dauntless uses a Hunting Pass as a form of progression, which is a free system where you complete challenges to unlock similar rewards to something like the Fortnite Battle Pass. You can pay $ 10 to upgrade your Elite Search Pass, which unlocks even more rewards as you level up, including some incredible cosmetic skins, useful (but not vital) elements in the game, and other customization options.


Other optional microtransactions of the store include dyes and emotes that can be purchased, reinforcements that increase the booty you gain, armor skins and armor, as well as potions to improve your hunting statistics. Fortunately, none of them felt intrusive at all and the rewards in the Elite Hunt Pass were attractive enough that I could update it. By doing so, it allows you to access any of the rewards that you have already unlocked, or you can pay even more to jump and unlock them all, but, more importantly, this system was never necessary and I never felt that I was undermining the progression gained Of hunting. The monsters and the improvement of my team and mastery levels.


The often slow and methodical accumulation of a large expedition in Monster Hunter is a key part of its charm, but Dauntless changes all those extra layers for something much smoother and more accessible. Much of the fluff is gone, so it is not necessary to cook meat on a hunt, place traps, track creatures or spend time looking at loading screens between map areas. Instead, they only place you in one of the three fairly simple types of biomes (either temperate, frozen or arid) and you have to look for the monster. A part of me did not do other things because of how empty some of the environments feel if you do not find the monster immediately, but it is a worthy exchange to make the hunts easier to enjoy in general.


The often slow and methodical accumulation of a large expedition in Monster Hunter is a key part of its charm, but Dauntless changes all those extra layers for something much smoother and more accessible. Much of the fluff is gone, so it is not necessary to cook meat on a hunt, place traps, track creatures or spend time looking at loading screens between map areas. Instead, they only place you in one of the three fairly simple types of biomes (either temperate, frozen or arid) and you have to look for the monster. A part of me did not do other things because of how empty some of the environments feel if you do not find the monster immediately, but it is a worthy exchange to make the hunts easier to enjoy in general.


Every time I logged on to Dauntless (assuming I was not stuck in one of the one-hour queues that accompanied their launch week, but fortunately it was solved for the most part) I often threw myself directly into the search for couples in less one minute Most hunts last less than 10 minutes and then you return to the operations center quickly to go back out before leaving. Hardcore Monster Hunter fans will probably miss the complications they have grown to love, such as tracking monsters, capturing them and exploring multiple zones in each hunt to find the right beast in the wild. But having a more agile experience eliminated a ton of friction that would otherwise slow me down, which made enjoying the genre much easier.


Technically, you can play Dauntless privately without having contacts, but you still have to be connected and I would not recommend it anyway. If they shoot you down or die during a hunt (which is much more likely while you play alone), your rewards are drastically reduced, and besides torturing you with an artificial difficulty that makes each fight take three times as long, there is nothing to gain... In addition, the multiplayer is a marvel. Working together to kill a giant is much more rewarding personally, and among the variety of weapons and armor plus the colored dyes, it is almost impossible to see two players who look the same.



THE VERDICT


Dauntless is a surprising achievement, not only because of its incredibly fun and accessible monster hunting action but also because of its multiplayer mechanics without interruptions and its non-intrusive free play mechanics. The elimination of much of the complexity of game support systems such as Monster Hunter leaves a core in which it is very fun to immerse yourself in quick sessions or end times, even if the depth is sometimes lacking outside of combat and elaboration.

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