Early Impressions: Dauntless

A couple of weeks ago, Dauntless was ported to PS4. I remember hearing chatter about the title when it was coming out on PC, and comparisons were made to Monster Hunter World. Given my history with MHW, I didn’t think this was a game that would appeal to me. However, when games end up being free to play I’ll usually give them a spin to see what they’re all about. As such, I have some early impressions from my first couple of sessions with the game.

I can see why comparisons were made between Dauntless and Monster Hunter World, mainly because you play a hunter and you’ll team up with other hunters to go on hunts to kill big bad creatures. Another similarity is that though you don’t have a class per se, you do have different attacks and abilities if depending on the weapons you decide to use. It seems that you can craft them pretty easily and you can change up between them pretty seamlessly, so certain weapon styles are likely to work better on different creatures. That’s about all I really see, but I suppose that’s sort of a lot as it is. In a way this feels like a more westernized version of a Monster Hunter game. It looks more like Fortnite than Final Fantasy, if that makes sense. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but it doesn’t feel as foreign to me.

The story follows that your hunters are just trying to clear up these floating isles to get resources and protect humanity, or something like that. Honestly I don’t really think the story matters here. Hell, even this map doesn’t matter, as it doesn’t show you where you’re going, just what you’re going to fight. You start off in a small town with vendors and quest givers. Think of it like the Tower in Destiny. Quests tend to involve going on hunts, and in that sense the town is basically a lobby, and you queue up to co-op these hunts with other players. Hunts are instanced. There isn’t much in the way of open world. That feels different (and kind of worse) than MHW, but at the same time I didn’t really like having to chase monsters all over the damn place so it’s kind of okay.

Combat is pretty straight forward. It’s pretty much a button masher, with some other button presses mixed in for special abilities. The creatures follow basic patterns of attacking and being staggered. They take a while to kill, but with four people beating on them it hasn’t been too challenging. I’m sure there’s more to the game beyond this, but as it stands so far this is all that I’ve experienced. Further customization comes from adding perk points to your gear, crafting new gear, and apparently there is a store where you can buy skins and whatnot if you feel like throwing some cash at it (I don’t see enough here to warrant that just yet).

It is pretty when you’re out in the field. I found the town to be a bit laggy when many players are nearby, but otherwise it seems fine. The instanced hunts feel smooth and responsive. The variety of weapons feels pretty good, and you get to use some new tricks pretty quickly after starting. What I’m most curious about is if there ends up being open world bits, more involved quests, or perhaps other modes like PvP. I assume something more has to come because if this is the totality of the game I’d get bored with it pretty fast. Anyone play more of this than I have? Does it stay pretty much the same, or does it start to add more layers and depth as the game progresses?

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