Phoenix Labs just released their long-awaited title, Dauntless. It’s a Free to Play multiplayer game, exclusive to the Epic Games Store in the same vein as the Monster Hunter Franchise by Capcom. People on both sides have said bad things about the other, which raises the interesting question: – Which one should you be hunting in? For this piece, I’ll be taking a look at game features and the gameplay mechanics and systems as the basis to decide whether you want to hunter monsters in Monster Hunter World or Behemoths in Dauntless. I’m leaving monetization out as the former doesn’t have it.
The World of the Hunt
Monster Hunter: World puts you in the natural habitat of the monsters. Deserts have underground caves. Forests have an upper canopy level that leads to a mountain. Diverse flora, unique endemic life. The world feels alive, and it’s usable. Collect resources and raw materials, set traps, and use the environment against the monster. The interaction keeps the world feeling alive, and players far more engaged.
Dauntless drops players on to one of three biomes: Ice, Desert or Forest. Each is a fractured island floating in the skies which players jump between in the search of the Behemoth. The scenery is the same mix of rocks and trees and changing things up. While you can craft potions and items from plants, there are no traps or other interactions with the world.
The winner is Monster Hunter: World. Both the world and the environment are immersive and alive. Being able to use the environment against the monsters that you hunt adds a lot of depth to the hunts.
Tracking the Target
Monster Hunter: World you have to really track your prey with the scout flies. Find footprints, dung, scales, feathers and other clues. Collecting these clues equals an increase in your research level (knowledge) of the monster. This makes it easier to track the same monster in the future. Enough research means that monsters will appear on your map at the start of the hunt.
Dauntless drops you off on a floating island to find the Behemoth. It feels like a lot of blind searching or using the Lantern item to get pointed in the right direction, before sending up a signal flare to rally up and get the fight started.
Winner: – Monster Hunter: World. Dauntless doesn’t have a tracking mechanic and lets you get straight into the action. Monster Hunter: World actually makes you feel that you are stalking a monster through its natural habitat. If you prefer the thrill of the strategic hunt, go with Monster Hunter. If you want straight to the action, Dauntless.
The Monster or The Behemoth
Monster Hunter: World has monsters that feel alive. The monsters have an A.I, have “tells” but can string them together differently and in unpredictable ways making every fight a unique experience. Then there are the monsters getting into Turf Wars and acting like living creatures outside of the hunt. They exist in an ecosystem that is part of a world that feels alive and persistent as they hunt, sleep, wander and protect their homes.
Dauntless Behemoths feel more like Dark Souls videogame bosses than living creatures. Enter the area, it follows a set attack pattern, with nearly identical pattern and positioning. Get comfortable and the Behemoth becomes totally predictable, easy to dodge, counter and kill.
The Winner is Monster Hunter: World. The monsters move dynamically and behave like monsters. Not routine video game enemies. Predicting Monsters is a skill in its own right and adds a great deal to strategic monster hunting. Dauntless lets you do skillful hunts, and master their hunt in more traditional fashion
Equipment & Upgrades
Monster Hunter: World continues its tradition of gradual gear progression. Carve off pieces of hunted monsters to craft and improve weapons and armor over time with increasingly rare materials. You will have to repeatedly hunt the same monster to get all the materials you need for a specific type of hunt. The same applies to armor and the unique perks associated with that armor.
Dauntless lets you take all the Behemoth parts back to Ramsgate to craft them into what you need for the next hunt. The orb system and general currency make it easy to upgrade in the early stages of the game and it’s less punishing if you want to craft one piece of gear then experiment with something else.
The winner. Nope. This one’s a draw. I’d say both systems are equally effective but have differing focuses. Dauntless lets you get to the action faster by keeping the upgrading more casual and user-friendly since orbs and money are easy to get. Monster Hunter: World has a more tedious system but for tactical hunting, it will keep you engaged longer.
Monster Hunter: World’s combat is slower paced than Dauntless. Attacks are deliberately executed and positioning is very important to ensure you swing, hit and hit hard. Managing stamina, proper item and equipment used is crucial to success. You need to know the monster’s behavior if you are going to bring it down. With only three “lives” for an entire team, it’s easy to fail the hunt if mistakes are made, or the monster does the unpredictable.
Dauntless, by contrast, is more hack-and-slash-arcade, where combos are executed if you succeed in whatever mini-game goes along with it. Stamina drains slowly and regenerates quick. It’s a sharp contrast where attacks are quick but a mistimed one is still punishing, and dodge-canceling is a possibility. It’s also hard to fail as you can revive easily and only if everyone dies at 100% danger does the hunt fail.
This one ends in another draw because it comes down to what kind of combat you prefer. If you want something more complicated, tactical and strategic driven hunt then you will find Monster Hunter: World more rewarding. But Dauntless simpler combat is more accessible and action driven, letting you focus on the behemoth and get into the flow of combat.
Preparation for the Hunt
Monster Hunter: World means preparing for the hunt is a key to success even with upgraded weapons and armor. Craft items, consumables, check your loads out and always drop by the Meowscular Meowster Chef for a meal to buff and increase your stats before heading out to hunt. That one meal can make or break a hunt.
Dauntless lets players prepare tonics and various offensive items in Ramsgate, equip them and take them on a hunt. It takes only a few minutes to purchase or craft whatever you need for your Behemoth hunt.
This one ends in a draw as well, depending on what kind of hunting game you want to play. Monster Hunter: World wins on strategic and tactical depth, but Dauntless would win on giving you the fastest route with minimal prep time to get to the hunt, which is the meat of the game.
Dauntless is a less intense, more player-friendly game to hang out with friends in a vibrant, cheerful and relaxing time. The monsters are not as complex and combat is definitely not as intense but it is still fun. Monster Hunter: World remains the king in terms of strategy and tactics despite its frustration factor. There is nothing that matches taking down a Tempered Elder Dragon after hours of investment and teamwork. The choice between the two comes down to accessible and fun for Dauntless, or a challenging long-term investment in Monster Hunter: World. For Me? Monster Hunter: World.