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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dauntless is a downloadable free-to-play online action role-playing game (RPG) for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. Players create customized avatars and take on the roles of heroes attempting to protect humans from giant monsters. They work in teams of four, cooperating with one another (voice and text chat is supported) in lengthy battles while using melee weapons, guns, and explosives to gradually wound and eventually kill their targets. Successful strikes result in splashes of bright red blood, and monsters sometimes lose body parts such as tails. Parents should be aware that while the game remains free throughout, players are encouraged to spend real-world money on virtual currency that can be used to purchase cosmetic upgrades, reduce the time it takes for certain processes to complete, and gain access to an "elite" hunt pass, which grants players better rewards as they progress. Virtual currency bundles range between $10 and $100.
What's it about?
DAUNTLESS begins with the player creating a warrior avatar, a recruit in an ongoing battle against a wave of aggressive monsters that have appeared to threaten the survival of humanity. The hero you create is quickly thrown into a battle against one of these creatures, which acts as a brief tutorial on how to move around, attack, and dodge. Once your first monster is slain, your character's dropped off in a town, which is where the real game begins. You'll talk to quest givers, craft weapons, armor, and helpful items including potions and grenades, and go on monster hunts with other players in groups of four. Hunts are set upon small islands in the sky. You and your team will be tasked to find and defeat a specific beast, but along the way you can explore the land and harvest various crafting resources from local plants and rocks. But once the battle begins, success is dependent on players working together as a group, trying to deal as much damage as possible and healing each other as needed. When the battle is over, players are transported back to town where they can talk to quest givers and see how far along they are in specific objectives before crafting new gear and planning the next expedition.
Is it any good?
Whie enjoyable for a time, games don't get much more repetitive than this action-RPG (role-playing game). Dauntless has players hunting monsters, crafting new gear and items with the resources they've collected, then doing it all over again. Before each hunt you're informed of your prey's strengths and weaknesses, giving you a chance to select appropriate weapons and armor. Attacking is simply a matter of choosing between weak and strong attacks and using a handful of special abilities. That's not to say battles are always easy -- you'll need to learn enemy patterns as well as how to cooperate with your party -- but it's unlikely many players will quit out of frustration at not being able to figure out what to do. This is about as uncomplicated as action role-playing games get.
It's blissfully easy to join random players on hunts whenever you need to, but whether these players will work together is a crapshoot. There's a chance that you'll start a battle with a behemoth while everyone else is off gathering plants and rocks, leaving you to get beaten silly until they arrive. Players who group up with good friends will have a lot more fun as they progress together, strategizing and chatting with one another along the way. But the biggest issue for many will be the microtransaction system. While it's possible to play without spending a dime, paying money gives notable advantages, such as speeding up the time it takes to fuse cells (special boosts attached to weapons and gear) and earning better rewards for progressing through Hunt pass tiers. These artificial barriers could prove frustrating for some players, especially if their friends are spending money and progressing more quickly. Dauntless checks off the boxes of a competent free-to-play RPG without adding anything radically new to the mix. Chances are, your enjoyment will come down to whether your friends are playing and how much you're willing to spend to improve the experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about privacy and online safety. What would you do if you were playing Dauntless with strangers and one of them began bullying other players or asking for personal information?
How do you determine the value of virtual goods in games? What criteria do you consider when thinking about whether a price is fair and the product worthwhile?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Pricing structure: Free (This game is always free to play, but players can enhance their experience through microtransactions.)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Epic Games
- Release date: May 21, 2019
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.