A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The story is a simple tale of survival with little overt messaging, but the team-based play encourages cooperation and collaboration, especially among groups of friends playing together.
Positive Role Models
Players can customize their avatars, selecting gender and ethnicity. Avatars don't speak, but are cast as heroes who have taken on the responsibility of protecting humans from huge and aggressive monsters.
Ease of Play
Simple controls and a shallow learning curve make this game very accessible. Plus, the cooperative element lets skilled players help rookies along as they learn the ropes.
Violence & Scariness
Players use swords, axes, hammers, guns, and grenades to attack aggressive monsters that take a range of forms, from reptiles to giant birds. Bright red blood splashes appear with each hit. As battles wear on, monsters show wounds in their skin and lose parts of their bodies, such as their tails.
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Products & Purchases
This game is free to play, but players are encouraged to spend real-world money on in-game currency used to purchase cosmetic upgrades, reduce the time it takes for certain processes to complete, and gain access to "elite" hunt passes. Virtual currency bundles range between $10 and $100.
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.
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.
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