Dauntless is a free-to-play action RPG that found success earlier this year on various platforms, in part because of its phenomenal cross-platform play. I found it a little overwhelming to get into Monster Hunter World, but Dauntless has been filling a monster-hunting hole for me. This is mostly because I have been able to hunt Dauntless‘s Behemoths with a player pool from PC to PlayStation 4, while also being able to carry my progression across systems. This year at PAX West 2019, I had the opportunity to play the upcoming Switch port with Phoenix Labs’ own Nick Clifford and Chris Fox. There’s great potential for the game on Switch, and I’m happy to report that it’s shaping up nicely.
Dauntless finds itself comfortably on Switch, with a few small compromises
The Nintendo Switch iteration includes the cross-play and progression features of course. The team at Phoenix Labs recreated the entire game for a less powerful console. Cel-shaded art direction like Dauntless has holds up well overall in lower fidelity, so the differences aren’t as severe as you might expect. I’m sure there will be more polish as we reach the game’s December release window, but right now the differences are similar to how Fortnite performs. Sacrifices have been made to the textures, character models, and capabilities of draw distance. Pixelated shadows were the most notable visual difference. It’s still surprising how well it runs despite these observations, and I expected much worse than what I was shown.
Most importantly, however, the frame rate remains steady even during Behemoth encounters. The overall gameplay in Dauntless is heavy regardless of the platform you play it on, but the fluidity among that heaviness is what makes the game enjoyable. Switch retains this smooth gameplay. When playing with a Pro Controller, I was able to execute the combos that I usually would with other controllers like second nature. The timing never felt off, and the decreased resolution wasn’t noticeable once I was in the heat of battle. Once we defeated the Behemoth, I walked away fairly impressed and excited to play Dauntless on my Switch later this year.
Filling a void that Capcom hasn’t
Dauntless may seem much more casual than Capcom‘s Monster Hunter series at first blush. However, this is due to the developer having a generous onboarding system to bring new players in. I’ve found that later sections of the game gradually adjust the overall difficulty. The formula allows higher-level play, leading you to have to cooperate with other players. It’s a progression that the Monster Hunter series has fumbled continuously, and Phoenix Labs has been picking up the slack. When speaking with Nick and Chris about this topic, they stated that this particular facet of the game was inherited from the team’s general love for monster-hunting action RPGs. They wanted to make the experience accessible.
Overall, Dauntless is one of my most anticipated Switch titles. I was less than impressed with Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate and have been waiting for a title that takes advantage of the Switch’s hardware capabilities in the same formula. On top of contributing to a game that allows me to play with my PlayStation, Xbox, and PC brethren, the team at Phoenix Labs has been placing a lot of passion in the Nintendo Switch version.
Are you excited for Dauntless to come to Switch, or are you satisfied with the current library of monster-hunting games on the Nintendo Switch? Sound off in the comments!