Dauntless Is Shaping Up to Be One of the Best Free-To-Play Titles Out There
If you're a fan of Monster Hunter than there's no reason you shouldn't check out Phoenix Labs' free-to-play action hunting game Dauntless.
Needless to say, I’ve played my fair share of Dauntless over the past year. I find that every time I jump back into the game, it’s more compelling, more satisfying, and just plain fun. Not to mention, there has been a slew of content in just a years time. Dauntless may still be in beta on PC, but it’s certainly shaping up to have a tremendously awesome launch.
I grouped up with the developers over at Phoenix Labs, who have put in some noticeable effort at differentiating their action hunting title from the competition. Of course, people who simply glance at Dauntless will say it’s like Monster Hunter. I must’ve heard that from at least one or two people who walked past the studio’s booth at PAX East. However, if you look even just a little deeper, Dauntless is different. I’d go as far to say it’s better in more ways than one when compared to Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World. Don’t get it twisted though, I truly do like both games quite a lot.
Our first foray into hunting had us face off against Boreus, one of the game’s many monsters, or Behemoths as they’re called in the world of Dauntless. Boreus is your typical giant beast who will fling you across the battlefield with a single attack. After just a few minutes of hacking away at Boreus the Behemoth will change — growing a thick layer of ice around his body that’s immune to all attacks.
How do you get past this? Little minions spawn around Boreus that you’ll need to defeat, and from there begin doing damage again. These minions give you special energy of sorts. It became an interesting game of micromanagement in fast-paced combat that I really had fun with.
The second Behemoth was Valomyr who was a very interesting adversary to take on. Something about this one was very strange, as it’s such a visually pleasing battle that I almost didn’t mind we got absolutely creamed in the final stretch. Of course, I’ll be sure to get my revenge on Valomyr in due time. This Behemoth used what I can only describe as tiny drones that essentially acted as tools to control your movements.
You can either opt to take these drones down and risk getting hit by the beams, which deal a pretty decent amount of damage, or run past them and go for Valomyr. As I’m sure you can imagine, that’s not all this Behemoth does. Once you get in close enough the beast can shoot its own beams at you from its mouth and use area of effect attacks to keep you away from its limbs and behind.
In the action hunting genre, the relationship between the player and what they’re hunting is the key to the overall gameplay loop titles like these tend to have. When comparing it to the greatest games in the genre, I can only speculate that most players will find that Dauntless game hits the nail on the head. In some cases even executing that gameplay loop better. It certainly blows away some of the competition like Toukiden and God Eater 3.
This in part could be due to the game’s free-to-play nature. I’m not entirely sure what the grind is like, I’m not a hardcore player as of right now, but there’s a sense of passion every time I speak to the folks over at Phoenix Labs and that passion seemingly drives them to do right by their community. This mentality is something that’s incredibly likable to me and something I can easily get behind. I’m also quite eager to get my hands on the game’s Hunting Pass once it exits its beta stage.
When thinking of the greatest free-to-play games on the market right now, you’ll probably think of Path of Exile, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Dota 2, and League of Legends. Noticeably, Dauntless will take the stage as the first free-to-play action hunting game that I can think of, and it’s worthy of making a giant splash for not only the genre, but the lineup of great free-to-play games above.
With plenty of Behemoths to take on, weapon types, and armors to craft players who get a drug-like fix off hunting games will have plenty to explore once Dauntless officially releases. The game is coming to PC, Xbox One, and PS4 next month with both Nintendo Switch and smartphone versions in the works. Additionally, players will also be able to enjoy cross-play with one another. For more on Dauntless, you can check out our interview with Phoenix Labs co-founder Robin Mayne below.