By now you’ve heard about it. That Monster Hunter World with Fortnite graphics game. That game that some players love right now, while others are griping about it. Well, I’ve played quite a bit of it and can say that although it was pretty daunting at first, Dauntless quickly became a fun, quick game to get into but that’s not to say it doesn’t have some issues.
Dauntless is yet another game in the new method of publishing games. Make it free and let players spend money on in-game currency that gets them things they’d want but don’t really need to have fun. It’s a similar method to Fortnite’s billion-dollar approach and it even has something called a Hunt Pass, which is its version of Fortnite’s battlepass. It’s no surprise as it is published by Epic Games. I for one like the Battlepass in Fortnite as grinding it out to get all the cool stuff is why I play Fortnite to begin with. Winning is just a cherry on top of the cake for me.
But, I digress, Dauntless’ current Hunter Pass provides players with dye schemes, masks, flares and a whole bunch of other stuff. What Dauntless has that most other games don’t is crossplay between console and PC. Epic Games really pushed for Fortnite’s crossplay and it seems that they pushed for it again with Dauntless. I can see this game finding its way to the Nintendo Switch and mobile in the near future too.
This is all good and well but it wouldn’t mean anything if it didn’t play well, which thankfully, it does. I’ll be honest, I spent a decent amount of time in the character creation. It’s not often I get to create my own cartoon character. I did find the presets a little odd as well as the choosing a hair colour as there seemed to be a light reflection on my character’s face which made it hard to see the finer details and also caused my hair colour to look lighter than what I wanted. The options aren’t anything extraordinary but they are what is to be expected from a character creation mode; facial features, hair, eyes, nose and all of that.
At first, I fumbled around with the combat. The first creature in the tutorial was tricky for me until I realised how my weapon worked and that’s where Dauntless shines. The combat, which is very fluid, requires players to know how to use their weapons and when to use abilities.
The crafting is simple and easy to understand while the way the monsters look, sound and behave are some of the best designs and animations I’ve seen in a monster game. There’s a creature that has moving rocks on its back that roll off in an attempt to crush players. The same creature has a really strong spin attack where the rocks twirl around it causing a vortex to suck in anything nearby. My mind was blown when I saw that for the first time.
The main hub called Ramsgate reminds me of something out of the Fable games. Players do seem to spend more time in their menu than taking in the sights . Luckily though, the UI is very well done and simplified. I understand more about what’s going on in this game after a few days than I do in games I’ve been playing for years because of its well-designed UI.
Running around Ramsgate does have some jitter lag. I’m not sure if this is because of overcrowded servers (I was placed 6000th in a waiting queue to get into the game at one point) or if it is some under the hood issues that need to be ironed out. Needless to say, the jitter lag gets a little annoying after a while.
The hunts are always exciting but there is a sense of rinse repeat, just like other games in the looter genre. It feels especially strong here since I ended up hunting the same monster a handful of times in a row when doing patrol missions.
My biggest issue with Dauntless though would be a lack of an ecosystem. The floating Islands players hunt in look so pretty and it really shines when players run amongst tall trees and jumping off cliffs while the sun catches their silhouette in that precise moment but the world feels quite dead otherwise. There are no smaller critters running around. No monsters fighting each other. No other threat other than the creature you were sent to hunt which is something Monster Hunter World has that Dauntless doesn’t.
There are no fights that feel like set pieces when another monster is drawn to the commotion. Maybe the maps are too small for more than one big monster running around but it would be nice if the maps had a little more life to them other than one behemoth. Some monsters do spawn minion creatures though but that’s only during the fight.
Hopefully, more life will be added to the game with future updates but as it is now, Dauntless is a fun, quick and easy to learn alternative to other monster hunting games. Judging from how the game’s servers were not prepared for how popular the game would be upon full release, it looks like Dauntless is here to stay.
Could this be to the looter/monster-hunting genre what Fortnite is to battle royale? I think it’s too early to tell but if it follows in Fortnite’s footsteps in terms of how they make a profit from the game, then it could very well be.