Dauntless is a free-to-play action RPG developed by Phoenix Labs. It’s a game where you take on Behemoths, take them down with friends and collect the loot they drop to make better weapons and armour.
Dauntless is set in a fantasy world where a cataclysmic event has taken place and torn the world apart releasing Behemoths across the world. These huge beasts prey on the surviving humans and it’s our job as Slayers to take down the Behemoths. Players can take on Behemoths solo or in teams of up to four players.
When you first boot up the game you create a character and there’s a lot of options to choose from. The game has a cartoon aesthetic much like Fortnite, so if you like that style then you’re going to like this game.
The aim of the game is to hunt and take down the Behemoths. Battles can range from a few minutes to 30 minutes, so be prepared to chip away at their health and dodge and roll to eventually take them down. There’s a number of Behemoth classes including Blaze, Frost, Shock, Terra, Neutral, Umbral and Radiant. As you battle Behemoths they become damaged with parts falling off and they get weakened. When they take a significant amount of damage they can become enraged. This is indicated by a quick burst of aether in a sphere around the Behemoth as well as a glow from the body and eyes. When they’re enraged they deal more damage and attack faster or may change they attack patterns. When you take down Behemoths you collect their parts and can use them to make customised weapons and armour to decorate your Slayer – showing off trophies of your battles and also making your more effective in battles against similar Behemoths.
While you can personalise your Slayer’s look you can also master a certain type of weapon. In Dauntless you have the Sword, Axe, Repeater, War Pike, Chain Blades and the Hammer. Each weapon type can deal with different damage to Behemoths and their body parts. It’s always a good idea to balance your party of Slayers with different weapons and damage types. The Axe, Sword and Chain Blades sever and breaks Behemoth parts whereas the Hammer deals high stagger damage. In terms of damage types Slashing deals part damage to unbroken parts of the Behemoth and are the only attacks capable of cutting tails and breaking horns. Slashing includes Axe, Chain Blades, Ostian Repeaters and Swords. Blunt damage is used for knocking down Behemoths with high stagger damage and comes from Hammers. Finally, piercing damage comes from War Pikes. Weapons can take on elemental types too from collected elemental Behemoth parts. You can infuse Blaze, Shock, Frost, Umbral and Radiant elements into your weapons making them strong against a Behemoth of the opposing element.
Rather than traditional RPGs, the progression doesn’t come through XP, but it comes through upgrading armour and gear. You start out with a starter set of gear, farm Behemoths to collect their parts to craft better weapons and gear to take on tougher Behemoths – and so the cycle continues.
You can party up with friends and guilds to take on Behemoths. This is probably the best way to play Dauntless as hanging out with friends and sharing the loot you gather is great fun. Phoenix Labs have been great at adding season events. During Christmas, there was Snow all over Ramsgate (your home base of operations) and in Spring there are cherry blossoms as part of the current Japanese themed season.
The game is free-to-play although the Hunt Pass has been introduced at a small cost. There are 50 levels to climb. There are a base path and an Elite path which allows you to get more gear and weapons. Each season has a theme – with this season having a Japanese/Ninja theme. Outside the Hunt Pass, there’s a whole host of cosmetic items to make your Slayer look even better. It’s a similar model to the likes of Fortnite, Apex Legends etc where the base game is free-to-play but if you want to throw some money at the developers you can.
An awesome feature of Dauntless is the cross-play functionality so players on PC, PS4 and Xbox One can all play together from the very start. Phoenix Labs stated they wanted a One-Dauntless platform and they’ve managed to get over the barriers other games haven’t managed to break down. This is going to be a huge advantage for the game and combined with the free-to-play features I predict Dauntless is going to be huge. The game’s been in beta for a year allowing for the developers to tweak and tune the game, this really shows and the game is in a really good state for new players.
Overall Dauntless is a fun action RPG hunting game with a lot of great content from the start. Seeing as the game is free then you can just jump in and try it out. If you don’t like it then you haven’t lost anything. There’s a depth to the weapons and mastery in the game that provides you with that satisfying gameplay loop. Playing with friends makes the game better and there’s a wide range of Behemoths at launch. The game is available on all platforms and they’ve made it super easy to get up and running fast.
Developer: Phoenix Labs
Publisher: Epic Games
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: May 21st, 2019