Dauntless Reforged – Returning to the Old Stomping Grounds

Dauntless Cover Art

Released on: September 26 2019

Available Platforms: PC (Epic Game Store), Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One

Price: Free (Has microtransactions and a Battle Pass)

Developed by: Phoenix Labs Inc. Published by: Phoenix Labs Inc.

Recently, I wrote an article reflecting on two years of writing reviews and posts on Sergiereviews.com. I thought about writing a review that would fit the holiday season. However, it occurred to me that, other than my yearly viewing of Klaus (which I could not recommend enough), I haven’t seen any new Christmas movies that I felt needed exploring. That’s when I started thinking about the game that started it all. What better way to cap off my self-reflection journey than to take another look at the first game I reviewed for the site: Dauntless.

Having read my first review in preparation to write this one, I noticed so many things that I would do differently today. It was short and reeked of inexperience, but there is a certain charm to it that I can’t ignore. I don’t regret writing it, and I don’t believe in deleting any of them unless I put down something truly egregious. My old reviews act as a chronicle that shows me where I was at the time of writing. Let’s get back to Dauntless. When talking about a game I already reviewed, my opinion of it can change. It happened with Pokemon Sword and Shield and Shadowverse, so I thought I would reexplore Dauntless. Is Dauntless worthy of a second hunt?

Dauntless Title Screen

Dauntless throws the player into a world torn asunder by a cataclysmic event. The event caused the world to shatter into separate islands, which are now inhabited by daunting beasts known as Behemoths. Not wanting to limit themselves to one island, the guild employs the aid of a skilled slayer: the player. Tasked with slaying the intrusive and menacing Behemoths, it is up to the slayers to recover what was taken from humanity.

While the story is simple, this was one area I neglected in my first review. While there isn’t much of a plot to speak of, it is there. These types of games don’t excel in the story department, and Dauntless is no exception.

In my first look at Dauntless, I was critical of the visuals. While I don’t feel like the game made significant strides to improve its graphics, I’ve warmed up to the art style. One island that stood out to me was the Conundrum Rocks. It has fascinating prismatic rock formations that help make it distinct from the otherwise typical snowy forest and volcano crag. I respect the developers for employing an art style that works on multiple platforms. While the Switch version chugs in the frame department (topping off at a meager thirty frames-per-second), it still manages to hang in there. That said, while I’m beginning to know the names of the Behemoths, their designs still strike me as a tad bland.

Dauntless Colorful rocks.
The Conundrum Rocks are a stand out island for me.

One area I feel I didn’t give enough credit for would be Dauntless’ gameplay. I remember Dauntless having a more quest-based approach the first time I played it. Nowadays, it focuses more on expedition type outings, in that the player picks an area, then they hunt as many Behemoths as they can before returning to home base. It feels more like an action MMORPG this way and, honestly, works beautifully for Dauntless. Joining a random group of players is seamless. If a group is already tussling with a ferocious beast, another player can join in on the hunt to tip things in the slayer’s favor. The game scales the Behemoth’s power (health and damage output) based on the number of players fighting it on the fly.

Another thing I need to praise Dauntless for is its island events. These are particular happenstance that challenges players in slaying a group of Behemoths. These offer more significant rewards to victorious slayers, including monster parts, cores, and money. I appreciate these events because they can provide a challenge for confident slayers revisiting previous islands.

Dauntless Island Events
Even at higher levels, these can offer a challenge to players.

The weapon selection in Dauntless is another thing that I must compliment. Unlike, say, Monster Hunter, slaying Behemoths grants experience points to the player’s current weapon, their Hunt Pass, and count towards relating bounties. This makes me want to stay on the island to help other slayers beat the snot out of more Behemoths.

Speaking of experience points, those points also count towards the Slayer’s Path. Until the player reaches the final node of the Slayer’s Path, experience points work to unlock more features in Dauntless (like new islands, special hunts, more consumables, trials, etc.) Dauntless makes me feel like I am progressing in something, no matter if I am hunting in a new area or trying to hunt the same Behemoth over and over to get that one missing part.

Dauntless Slayer's Path
The weapon mod path is an example of one of the Slayer Path nodes. This path can boost weapon power even further.

The developers must be wizards because the multi-platform multiplayer works flawlessly. This is by far Dauntless’ defining feature (other than being free, of course) that Monster Hunter should look at emulating this practice. Whether I’m playing on PC or Switch, my progress carries over for both platforms, and I only noticed minor studdering when playing multiplayer. The cross-platform gameplay of Dauntless is nothing to scoff at.

So far, I’ve been much more positive towards Dauntless than in my previous review. There are a few places that the game could improve.

While players can craft many weapons throughout the game, armor crafting is a different story. I made a neutral type armor to start, and I have yet to see any other that would provide more of an advantage than what I am currently wearing. Armor has elemental resistances, of course, but the player can unlock elemental resistance bonuses in the Slayer’s Path if they so choose. Other than the look of the armor, I have little incentive to make more armor.

If there is one tradition Serge Reviews has to uphold; it is the one where we talk about microtransactions. The Hunt Pass is Dauntless’ Battle Pass and Platinum (premium currency the player can get with real money). The most significant advantage the player can get with Platinum is having extra fusion cores used to fuse skills to make them stronger. The Hunt Pass also uses Platinum to purchase, but other than that, I couldn’t find any other edge the player could gain with Platinum.

I never thought Dauntless would become such an important game to me, but here we are. Two years later and I’ve had a change of heart. That gameplay changes made Dauntless into an entirely different experience in the best way possible. I am ecstatic to recommend Dauntless to those looking for a beautiful free-to-play action MMORPG.

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