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Dauntless Call of the Void hands-on preview: Umbral nightmare

Dauntless' Call of the Void update brings new features and a brand-new challenging Escalation for players to take part in. We got to go hands-on with the update before it's launch and here's what we thought!

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Phoenix Labs is set to launch the latest update for Dauntless on June 11 and ahead of the launch of the new Call of the Void season I got a chance to go hands-on with the new Umbral Escalation, the Training Grounds, and all of the new content coming in the update. Here’s what you need to know.

The old is new again

One of the biggest points of the upcoming Call of the Void update is the new Umbral Escalation. During the preview event, this new gauntlet-style challenge took center stage. Like previous Escalation missions, players must stock up on supplies and then head into a series of Behemoth fights, each more dangerous than the last.

With the Umbral Escalation, though, Phoenix Labs has upped the ante quite a bit. While you’ll still be facing off against Behemoths that you know and love, the fights have been changed up. Each Behemoth is now infused with Umbral, giving it access to new combat patterns, more powerful attacks, and even a slick new design.

It took us around thirty minutes or so to run through an Umbral Escalation with myself, Andy Burt, and Nick Clifford making up our team of slayers. While it had been a few months since I had a chance to sit down with the game, we took a little time to dive into the Training Grounds area, where I was able to quickly get up to terms with the weapons of the game. After a bit of deliberation, I decided to stick with my trusty Dual Blades, and we headed into the Umbral Escalation to try things out.

Whereas traditional hunts in Dauntless will see you gearing up, going out and fighting a Behemoth, and then returning to Ramsgate, the Escalations force you to face off against multiple Behemoths back to back. The loadout that you take with you into the field is what you’re left with, so make sure you bring something along that is going to keep you in tip-top fighting condition. It's the perfect addition to the challenge of the new Umbral enemies, and it's something that I think new and experienced players will enjoy when they dive into the update.

An escalation of challenges

As explained above, the gauntlet-style hunts in the Umbral Escalation really put players to the test. During our time we faced off against multiple Behemoths, all of which offered new challenges and attacks than their regular variants. The fact that the Behemoths are now imbued with Umbral brings about some new moves and patterns for players to memorize and learn. This all helps to round off the challenge that already comes from the Escalation playlist, and it was a joy to fight alongside Andy and Nick as we took down Behemoth after Behemoth.

Of course, the biggest challenge didn’t come until the end when we faced down the newest beast to join the roster in Dauntless, Thrax.

Thrax is pretty much unlike any other Behemoth currently available in Dauntless. Featuring a snake-like body, Thrax uses Umbral portals to attack Slayers from unique angles. On top of this, the various tail-based attacks that Thrax uses during the final fight are some of the more impressive moves we’ve seen from the beasts in the game. Don’t get me wrong, the animations and overall visuals for each Behemoth have always been fantastic in Dauntless, but Thrax takes things to a different level.

At your fingertips

One of my favorite additions to the game with the update are the UI changes, including a new journal which features info about each of the Behemoths. Being able to see how much damage you’re doing and what kind of damage you are dealing to Behemoths is a fantastic addition, and it helps to make the game much easier to understand for players who haven’t been grinding since launch.

The journal is a great little addition as well because it gives you a ton of information at your fingertips. Info on the various NPCs around Ramsgate, as well as the different crafting areas that you can explore in between hunts. It’s a fun way to get to know the world more – which is going to start evolving as Phoenix Labs introduces living events and stories to the game over the coming season.

There’s really never been a better time to jump in and give Dauntless a try. Available for free on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Epic Games Store, and Xbox One, Dauntless brings a quality monster-hunting experience to anyone looking to dive in and have a go. The Call of the Void update will hit all platforms on June 11.

Guides Editor

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has been exploring the world of video games for as long as he can remember. He enjoys everything from large-scale RPGs to small, bite-size indie gems and everything in between.

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