The cooperative action RPG genre has seen a significant rise in popularity over the past few years, with games like Monster Hunter taking center stage.
Phoenix Labs’ entry into this genre, Dauntless, takes inspiration from these creature-hunting giants but also brings its unique flavor to the table.
The game positions you as a Slayer, a fearless hunter tasked with protecting humanity from Behemoths, giant monstrous creatures threatening to tear the world asunder. In this review, we dissect this beast of a game in an effort to gauge its overall quality.
If there’s one word to describe Dauntless’s gameplay, it’s “exhilarating. The game’s heart lies in its combat system, a deeply engaging experience that requires both strategy and skill. As a Slayer, you’ll face off against various Behemoths, each with their unique behaviors, abilities, and weaknesses. This necessitates a constant shift in strategy and adaptation, which keeps the game from feeling stale.
Equipped with a wide variety of weapons, ranging from the fast-paced Chain Blades to the heavy-hitting Hammer, you can choose your preferred style of play. Each weapon brings a distinct dynamic to the combat, influencing both your movement and attack patterns. Mastery over a weapon, understanding its strengths, and knowing when to deploy its special abilities adds a layer of depth to the combat.
However, Dauntless’s combat system isn’t without its flaws. The hitboxes often feel inconsistent, causing some attacks to miss even when they seem like they should connect. Additionally, the repetitive nature of the game, primarily focusing on hunting Behemoths, can feel monotonous after prolonged gameplay.
In terms of visuals, Dauntless embraces a stylized aesthetic reminiscent of animated films, a departure from the hyper-realistic graphics prevalent in most modern games. The game’s vibrant color palette brings the Shattered Isles to life, creating a visually engaging environment that’s as much a joy to explore as it is to fight in.
The game’s character and Behemoth designs deserve particular praise. Each Behemoth is uniquely designed, with visual cues hinting at their abilities and behaviors, lending more than just a cosmetic feel to their design. Similarly, the character customization options are vast, allowing players to create a unique Slayer that truly represents them.
Performance-wise, the game runs smoothly on most modern systems, though it can suffer from occasional frame rate drops during intense combat situations, particularly on lower-end systems.
Community & Population
Dauntless shines when it comes to its cooperative multiplayer experience. The game encourages forming parties with other players to take on tougher Behemoths, promoting teamwork and cooperation. The community, for the most part, is supportive and welcoming, making it easy for new players to find a footing.
The cross-platform feature is a significant boon, allowing you to play with friends regardless of the platform they’re on. This, coupled with the game’s free-to-play model, has cultivated a healthy player population.
Is It Free-to-Play or Pay-To-Win
Dauntless employs a free-to-play model, with the core game being entirely free to play. The game offers a premium currency, Platinum, which can be used to purchase cosmetic items, emotes, and dyes. However, none of these impact gameplay, ensuring a level playing field for all players, regardless of how much they spend.
The game also offers a seasonal Hunt Pass, which rewards players with both free and premium cosmetic items for completing in-game objectives. While this system provides an incentive to keep playing, it can sometimes feel grindy.
Dauntless is an exciting take on the cooperative action RPG genre. Its engaging combat system, vibrant world, and cooperative focus make it a worthwhile experience for both solo players and groups alike.
While the game has its shortcomings, such as inconsistent hitboxes and a repetitive gameplay loop, it offers enough depth and enjoyment to keep players coming back for more.