Dauntless, the Free-to-Play Monster Hunter, Is Out Now on Switch With Crossplay

Check out the new enemy, Malkarion, and Escalation mode on the go!

A Switch version of Dauntless sounds mighty appetizing — especially with the same cross-play the game has on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation 4. That’s the reality we live in now. The free-to-play game with some serious similarities to Monster Hunter is out now on the Nintendo console, and you can still play with friends on any other system.

I have to admit that Dauntless isn’t my preferred game of monsters and hunts. Particularly after the release of its Iceborne expansion, Monster Hunter World is damn near unassailable. It was one of my go-to “relax and grind” games in 2018, narrowly pushing out the likes of Destiny 2 and Final Fantasy 14. But MHW is most assuredly not portable. Hell, Capcom can’t even keep the PC version up to date with PS4 and Xbox. So the opportunity to get a small dose of this kind of game on the go is its own kind of experience all by itself.

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Not to mention Dauntless makes no bones about being free-to-play as hell. It’s got a Battle Pass and everything! That’s how you can tell. Destiny went free to play earlier this year and BANG! Battle Pass. It’s what the kids crave.

More importantly, though, being a free-to-play-ass free-to-play game means Dauntless is structured a bit more casually than Monster Hunter. Missions are quicker and sport a lot less downtime. Weapons are simpler to control and require a bit less maintenance. Considering my go-to Monster Hunter game on Switch before this was Generations Ultimate — a game that doesn’t even have any of the quality of life improvements made in World — that is… Well, it’s like I said. It’s pretty appetizing for short bursts!

Circling back to the Battle Pass (or Hunt Pass, as Dauntless calls it), there’s a new one to coincide with the Switch port. It also comes into port with a new mode, called Escalation, that developer Phoenix Labs likens to a roguelike. You fight multiple Behemoths at a time, building towards a new creature called Malkarion. The electrifying snake monster seems to only appear at the end of an Escalation mission at the moment. So in order to face the Malkarion Behemoth, you need to finish off four monsters in a row without dying.

It seems like a nifty system! And it does shake up the core gameplay pretty significantly. Randomized variants of monsters will appear (such as ice creatures that would normally deal shock damage), forcing you to shake up the kinds of equipment and tactics you typically use on them. In addition, each round presents you with random buffs and challenges. These are pulled from an expanding pool, unlocked with your seasonal talent tree, and further add to the variety.

Luckily, since Dauntless is crossplay on all platforms, the Nintendo Switch version should get all of this stuff at launch — and everything else in following updates. That’s a trend I’d like to see a lot more games adopt in the future. For now, though, at least someone is out there making it happen.

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Steven Strom

An obsessive writer broadcasting to you live from the middle of nowhere. Thinks cute things are good, actually.

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