Developer Phoenix Labs has shown off more of its upcoming Dauntless port for the Nintendo Switch at PAX West 2019. Although there is no definitive launch date yet for the game, the recent video appears to show full functionality in a match with four players, and so a formal launch should not be far off.
This is the second time the developer has shown a sample of the game on the Nintendo Switch, the first being at E3 during the Nintendo Treehouse presentation in mid June. Between the two gameplay videos, there appears not to be much difference. Below is the video from E3, which contains commentary from the developing team about what they hope to accomplish in this port, and a variety of weapon and boss mechanics demonstrated.
For the unfamiliar, Dauntless is a popular free-to-play action role-playing game that launched into a year-long beta in May of 2018, launching formally in 2019 on the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game received acclaim for integrating full support for cross-platform play, and players can immediately see at the start of a match what platforms their allies are using.
The gameplay focuses on a world being torn apart and monstrous creatures known as Behemoths threaten the few surviving humans. Players control Slayers to take down these Behemoths, and in doing so loot items to craft weapons and armor from their enemies. In this sense, the game resembles the basic premise of games in the Monster Hunter series.
While the game is technically free-to-play, there is the caveat for the Nintendo Switch that Nintendo Switch Online membership is required to play, unlike Warframe and Fortnite. This means that Dauntless is free to play, but only after you pay for the online service.
While the news of Dauntless coming to the Switch was big news in June, things have changed in the past four months for the worse. While the game is fun to play early on, the developers appear to be struggling to create an innovative and engaging endgame for committed players. While there is no advantage to paying for in-game items, as they are all cosmetic, attaining all weapon and armor sets requires little more than a repetitive grind. The same is said of gaining all ranks in Mastery.
Trials have recently been added and were thought to be a great component for the endgame, however the initial launch was riddled with game-breaking bugs, players exploiting the system to take the top spot on the leaderboards, and also became frustrating when done properly because there was no opportunity to replenish materials used in crafting consumable items.
These issues are certainly being looked at, and if they are addressed, the game is likely to do well. In any case, these are the tiniest of nits to pick, as overall the game is quite enjoyable for casual players, which the Nintendo Switch may be appealing towards in the launch.
For now, we simply need to keep an eye on things for a firm launch date. The developers still affirm that the game is set to release in 2019, and both demos certainly look as though the game is in a playable state already.