A week ago, I hadn't even heard of Dauntless. I was watching the Nintendo indie showcase video this past week, and Dauntless was shown. It looked like it was basically just Monster Hunter inside the Fortnite engine. I like Monster Hunter, so in my mind I was thinking that Dauntless looked cool but ultimately, do I need a new Monster Hunter game? Heck, I've got two unplayed ones on my shelf right now. So I figured I'd probably pass on it, or wait until it was super cheap. Then the video ended with the publisher saying that Dauntless was available now on the eShop... for free. So I downloaded it before the rest of the presentation was even over.
This strategy of announcing a new free game has worked well for Nintendo this year. At least in my book. It's how they announced Tetris 99 and that has become my most played Switch game yet. In an instant Dauntless went from "oh this looks kind of cool," to "awesome! Let I'm gonna play it now!"
Back when I was still playing my Xbox One a lot, I picked up Monster Hunter World on a whim. The MH series had always sort of interested me. Sort of. But all the hype about MHW got to me because it was hyped as an entry point to the series. And what I found was that that was absolutely true. MHW stripped away a lot of the obstacles that made the MH series so "hardcore" and instead offered up a welcoming experience for newcomers. It eased me in.
After now starting up Dauntless, I can tell you this: It's basically Monster Hunter World in the Fortnite engine. Which is a good thing, folks. MHW is not on Switch. But Dauntless is. And it's free.
If you've played Monster Hunter World, then the early tutorial quests in Dauntless will feel unnecessary. Trust me, you know the loop of the gameplay. You take a quest and either go solo or wait for some other players to queue up. You go out and collect some materials and kill a big monster. Then you go back to the hub world and craft some new weapons and armor and rinse and repeat with bigger and badder monsters. You know if you like this game or not right now if you've played Monster Hunter before.
And guess what? I like it. It's damn good.
The character creation tool is definitely solid by the way. I appreciate that. And I appreciate that you can change your character from the ground up at any time.
I have noticed something interesting about performance on Switch so far. When I started playing the game it was in docked mode on my TV and it looked and played amazingly. However, playing in portable mode definitely introduced some sporadic lag. Nothing game-breaking, but it's noticeable if you've been playing it on TV for a while first.
That said, this is a great free Monster Hunter clone and it seems like it's going to continue to receive regular updates. I'm enjoying it and will definitely keep playing. I mean, that game-loop I talked about earlier... it's pretty addicting.