Dauntless brims with power. It’s in all the pieces from the exuberant use of coloration to the larger-than-life Behemoths with cheeky nods to the developer’s Canadian roots. Monster Hunter: World’s high-realism design nearly feels grimdark compared to the Shattered Isles’ Crayola coloration scheme of glamors and on-the-nose armor designs. The sport has chutzpah, but it surely lacks that little bit extra to maintain you correctly engaged in its monster looking fracas.At first look, Dauntless seems and seems to play like a beginner-friendly model of Capcom’s monster-slaying franchise. After a sturdy character creator (which options some good non-gender conforming choices), you are thrust right into a harmful world through an unceremonious airplane crash. The premise behind your existence right here is an easy one which is not actually introduced up ever once more: you might want to kill issues which might be making the place harmful, and killing these huge issues typically includes calling upon your mates for assist. Hunt, slay, repeat. Hunting the enormous monsters that stalk the Shattered Isles, slaying them, and repeating it till you have gathered sufficient components to make a cape out of tailfeathers is one thing that you simply repeat advert infinitum.The sport’s Behemoths are clever, lethal, and initially occupy an odd house between fantastical and woodland creatures. You end up taking on arms towards killer beavers, outsized owls, and offended turtles. The beaver seems like a tongue-in-cheek nod to the developer’s Canadian origins, and since the early reference factors are principally animals that we’re aware of (versus extra esoteric dinosaur-dragon hybrids), it means that there is a degree of innate predictability in how a few of these creatures struggle. The Gnasher, our beaver-like pal, will slap you round with its outsized tail. The Shrike, a huge killer owl, flies round and makes use of its wings to create tornadoes. The Embermane, an analog for a lion, prances and pounces like one of the best of them within the Serengeti. The proven fact that these preliminary monsters have physiques and species archetypes that happen naturally in our world makes them much less, nicely, daunting. Behemoth designs turn out to be extra intricate as soon as you have left the relative security of the primary few areas and need to cope with bugs taking pictures lethal lasers at you, however by and enormous, you are combating creatures you could intuit an answer for.This signifies that the beasts can lack the identical gut-punch impact upon first sight that you could be be used to from dealing with down prehistoric nightmares in different video games, exacerbated by the cartoony artwork route and the sport’s easy strategy to looking. Dauntless offers you entry to an assortment of weapons which all vastly have an effect on the looking expertise. From dual-wielding weapons to teleporting with chain blades, there is a good selection that caters to totally different kinds. Bladed weapons are higher for slicing off monster components, whereas others crush skulls extra successfully. No matter what you decide, you are going to have the ability to deliver one thing beneficial to a bunch scenario.That being stated, as soon as you determine the fundamentals of knocking bits off Behemoths utilizing a mix of heavy assaults, gentle assaults, and particular expertise, that is actually all you have to fear about within the warmth of the second. The solely concern in any hunt is the slavering monster attempting to eat you up–no want to fret about discovering respite, concocting traps, or something associated to the concept of monitoring your prey. Dauntless is not ingesting from the nicely of realism by any means, however the lack of those touches finally make it exhausting to remain engaged within the second. This is not to say that the fights themselves lack the issue required to get your coronary heart fee up; a complete wipe turns into extra widespread as you begin throwing your self towards larger and badder critters. That being stated, the dearth of verticality and total selection in terrain signifies that there’s merely not lots to parse.This identical feeling of simply falling a bit of brief can also be current on the subject of the fifteen or so hours of the core story. Monster Hunter: World labored off an concerned, overarching single-player narrative to information you from every distinctive in-game location to a different in your quest to push a dying, continent-sized lizard out to sea. Conversely, Dauntless offers you an almost-administrative motivation to your actions. You want to wash issues within the overworld as a result of, nicely, it retains folks protected. Also, hope you have obtained time to collect fifteen stalks of a plant in-between attempting to knock the cranium off an enormous monster, as a result of a quest-giver again house is scientifically curious.There’s not a lot of an try to get you notably invested in the principle marketing campaign, which signifies that in case you’re somebody who prefers taking down ice-spewing owlbears solo, your solely true motivation goes to be the satisfaction of throwing your self at stated ice-spewing owlbear. If you are taking part in alone, you may find yourself feeling remoted. This is probably the most noticeable within the sport’s hub world, Ramsgate. Even when the servers are bustling (we’re speaking matchmaking queues which might be 100,000 gamers deep), there is a distinct lack of reflection of that in Ramsgate. The place feels empty, with maybe solely a handful of individuals standing round.The NPCs really feel like a misplaced alternative in the identical vein. While you can be undoubtedly joyful you could pet the canine (and hopefully, the rams), and that the native blacksmith is serving high-fashion lumberjack seems for days, the aesthetic enchantment is the place it ends. There’s no feeling of life to Ramsgate. No roaming distributors, no murmuring chit-chat when issues get busy. There are swaths of naked corridors and paths so that you can dash down, however by and enormous, the city exists so that you can decide up collectibles and quests. Everyone you could speak to seems like they’re hiding a cool backstory, however you by no means get to expertise it.The multiplayer facet of issues is the place Dauntless actually shines, and the truth is that the title feels optimized for it. Cross-platform compatibility has been accessible since launch day, which signifies that no matter whether or not you are slaying Behemoths on PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One, your multiplayer pool will embody all three. This is advantageous as a result of matchmaking is, in follow, refreshingly seamless. No must fiddle with a menu or 5, and it is good that every platform’s native buddies lists are imported into the consumer. Matchmaking normally takes a matter of seconds, which makes Dauntless really feel very plug-and-play in one of the best ways.The sport isn’t with out its quirks, however–opening up a menu as you are ending a hunt would possibly entice you in there, unable to exit out. Going right into a hunt with a bunch of buddies and turning into caught on the loading display screen till you relog will kick you from the get together and the endeavor. You may additionally fall into a part of the panorama at Ramsgate and be unable to extricate your self with out restarting the consumer. Something so simple as guaranteeing that the hotkey to work together with issues works every time isn’t a foolproof function but, which might result in repeat frustrations at inopportune instances.Dauntless can also be a free to play sport. It’s spectacular by way of what it affords by way of content material, accessibility, and the truth that you are not continually bludgeoned over the pinnacle with the necessity to spend any actual cash on something. There are dyes, cute emotes and different beauty enhancements that are half and parcel of F2P, and in addition a “Hunt Pass” which rewards gamers for finishing in-game goals. There is not the flexibility to buy your solution to a positive victory towards the Behemoths and the comparatively unobtrusive presence of the F2P components like the varied in-game retailers means you could spend completely nothing and never really feel such as you’re lacking out in any respect except you are a fiend for glamoring your gear.Overall, Dauntless is clearly an expertise that has been optimized to ship probably the most stress-free multiplayer session doable. From the seamless crossplay to the way in which that anybody can hop right into a sport and confidently take up arms towards formidable foes, it’s refreshingly accessible and appears nice besides. While it could actually really feel a bit of empty, and there are bugs that mar the expertise right here and there, its recent look and vigorous spark are greater than attractive sufficient to warrant a spin.