Monster Hunter and Dark Souls are two gaming franchises that have inspired large and devoted followings. You can always spot a player hooked by these franchises because that’s often all they talk about. But what if you could merge the concepts of both by combining a progression system with cooperative big game hunting of challenging monsters and a deep crafting system based on the spoils of hunts? Dauntless, an upcoming free to play RPG on PC from developer Phoenix Labs is looking to deliver just that experience.
Developed by: Phoenix Labs
Published by: Phoenix Labs
Release date: Unannounced, 2017
Age rating: Pending
- Defy Extinction: Do battle against fearsome behemoths that draw their cataclysmic power from aether, consuming the world.
- Master the Hunt: Hone your skills against unforgiving behemoths. Hunt together and capture glory.
- Craft Your Legacy: A slayer’s legend is written in their armour and weapons, forged from the trophies they take from the behemoths they defeat.
Players take on the role of Slayers, who live and hunt among a series of floating islands called the Shattered Isles, which drift across an endless sky. With skyships now available to the inhabitants, exploration of the surrounding isles has begun, and because of their drifting nature, new islands are always appearing while familiar ones recede. This opens up new opportunities for exploration and gathering of valuable resources. However, this expansion has been met by a natural threat, beasts called behemoths who wreak havoc and destroy settlements on the islands.
Behemoths draw their strength from the land itself, consuming a substance called aether which enhances their power and defines their abilities. Depending on the elemental aether they consume, behemoths can employ blaze, shock and frost energies in combat, to name a handful. 3 types of behemoths have been confirmed so far. Shrikes are flying predatory behemoths, Drasks are lumbering, lightning fueled hulks, and Embermanes are fiery, clawed beasts that are built for speed. New behemoths are expected to be introduced during the game’s development and beyond launch and their design will form a foundation of the gameplay. As a Slayer, your mission will be to hunt and eradicate these dangerous beasts who threaten the safety of everyone on the Shattered Isles, using what you acquire from your hunting quests to improve your deadliness as a hunter.
Once your character is created and customized, you will head out to hunt. When tackling the behemoths in combat, players are going to have several tactical options and considerations depending on the beast being hunted. The combat system is not hack and slash, and recklessly attacking is going to leave players open for devastation, similar to Monster Hunter and Dark Souls. Instead, focusing on attack patterns and openings will be key to victory.
Dauntless will feature a stamina bar mechanic that governs powerful offensive actions like charges and combos. It’s also used for abilities like dodging and sprinting. This system is similar to those found in Monster Hunter and Dark Souls and can leave you exposed to an enemy attack or unable to land a blow on an opening if poorly managed. Players will be able to make creative use of these offensive and defensive tactics in concert like canceling out of a charge to dodge.
The weapons a slayer choose will determine the fighting style and combo attacks. Whether you choose axe, sword, hammer or any other yet to be revealed weapon type, what is wielded will all have very unique combos. These different combos will have very specific timing, and range from simple to more complex. However, no single weapon type can provide every tactical option, which is where the multiplayer comes in to play. As well as providing support against powerful behemoths to tough to tackle alone, slayer groups will have to make sure their gear is all complimentary to cover any tactical situation. Furthermore, each weapon can be imbued with aether to enhance their power, such as increasing the attack, firing a canon attached to the hammer, or even apply specific elemental properties like blaze to your attacks.
The behemoths themselves have their own combat mechanics to consider. If your battles with the behemoths drag on too long, they’ll enter a rage mode during which their attacks and speed will amp up, and new abilities will make their appearance, and you’ll have to weather this elemental storm until the rage subsides. If you stand tall you can target specific parts of these beasts to expose weak points and alter their patterns. Continuing these focused attacks can result in the carving of trophies from their bodies, in the form of items like tails or bones which can be used in the game’s crafting system.
The trophies you harvest from the behemoths can be brought to an Aethersmith in the town of Ramsgate who will add them to your weapons and armor to improve their abilities and appearance. The more powerful the beast you slay, the more impressive the gear you can craft from their trophies.
Slaying behemoths releases the aether that they consume which can be collected into a substance called aspect archonite. This substance can be used by the smiths to create new weapons and armor with raw power and elemental abilities specific to the beast killed. Further fleshing out the crafting system are items that can be collected such as minerals and flora which can be given to the smiths to add their own wrinkles when improving your gear. Players can expect to be frequent visitors to the smiths as they apply their spoils to improve their beast hunting prowess.
Dauntless is endeavoring to craft a positive feedback experience that is hard to find in gaming. Deep combat with engaging monsters who can be harvested for trophies and items that improve gear. Rinse, wash, repeat. By increasing the challenges of the foes presented, which will also naturally increase the quality of the rewards, we have a formula that can be gratifying for a long time. If the itemization, challenge and multiplayer can all hit the mark, we may have quite the special game to look forward to this year. Those interested in answering the hunter’s call can sign up for the game’s upcoming beta.
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