With new games emerging every day, it can be difficult to find new games that are both cost effective, as well as accessible. I am happy to present to you all a game that is both free to play and mostly accessible. I’ll get to that “mostly” part later. Dauntless is a game designed in a similar style to Monster Hunter. Hunt larger than life Behemoths, collect their parts, and upgrade your gear to give you the strength and defenses to hunt even nastier foes.
There are currently six weapons to choose from, axes, chain blades, hammers, swords, war pikes, and the only ranged weapon choice, repeaters. All of these weapons are suitable tools for tackling the Dauntless’ 14 current behemoth variants. Each of these weapons have their strengths and weaknesses, from the rapid attacks and high damage per second (DPS) of the chain blades and repeaters, to the slower more damaging hammers and axes capable of staggering behemoths more easily. Below is a list of each weapon type and how they fit into the overall scheme of the game.
- Swords – The most balanced of the weapons, both quick and versatile. Not great in any one area, but perfect for beginners.
- Axes – Slow and powerful charged attacks make this weapon good at interrupting behemoths, though great skill is required to pull it off consistently.
- Hammers – Heavy hitting blunt objects that deal a surprising amount of stagger damage. Don’t let their size fool you though, they command the battlefield with a surprising level of momentum with the use of the directional aether burst maneuver.
- Chain Blades – The most agile of the melee weapons on offer, easily able to dash in and out of battle while still being able to deal some light damage with their extending chain attacks.
- War Pikes – This is what you get when you cross a spear with a sniper rifle. Perfect for wounding behemoths, making them take more damage from your allies. The sniper shot is even capable of interrupting behemoths.
- Repeaters – These may look like long range pistols, but they’re more effective up close and personal. With some of the highest damage per second (DPS) in the game, they are capable of shredding behemoth parts.
Now that we have the basics out of the way, we can focus on the major reason we’re all here. How accessible is Dauntless? The answer to this depends on your method of control and the amount of usable vision you have remaining. On the control end, all keys are re-mappable for keyboard/mouse users, with game pads getting a raw deal on this one. There is some stick clicking for centering your camera and sheathing your weapons, which you’ll be doing a lot as you master the meticulous dance that is battle with each behemoth. The unfortunate part of this is that under the default controls, you will be unable to sprint while using repeaters as the default fire button is the same one normally used for sprinting. One handed players may have no issues finding enough buttons to play comfortably given the user has at least a 12 button mouse, which may make things difficult for those without that luxury. There are both visual and auditory cues for all of the behemoth attacks and important information in the game, as well as a fancy flair system used when a player finds the behemoth.
Unfortunately, these flairs are marked on a compass at the top of the screen, which may be hard to see for some gamers with visual challenges. Thankfully, directional audio and the ability to hear the sounds of battle grow ever closer as you follow the booming thuds to their source makes this less of an issue. Some behemoths have very short tells before their attacks however, making them difficult to see coming. Finally, the maps are all floating islands, which could potentially be punishing, if there were a penalty for falling off the edge. You just get put back where you spawned in, meaning the worst that happens is a short jog back to the fight. Some maps are more vertical in nature, making navigation there slightly more difficult.
In all regards, Dauntless is a wonderful and slightly addictive experience that’s still a bit rough around the edges in terms of both basic game play and accessibility. The team over at Phoenix Labs is constantly working to improve the experience overall to make it enjoyable for players of all types and skill levels. Now is the perfect time to jump in if you can deal with the current limitations mentioned above, but if not, keep your eyes open. As a free to play evolving game, things are changing with every patch.