It’s easy to say that one video game is like another. Shared mechanics aren’t unheard of, and you’ll always see a resemblance and inspiration through the medium. But come on, Horizon is like Monster Hunter. You walk around fighting big things, and those big things look like dinosaurs. Just replace the metal with scales and you have a Monster Hunter game, right? There’s a little more to the comparison than that here, however – and perhaps more importantly, Guerrilla is already halfway there.
If you’ve ever played Zero Dawn and thought about Monster Hunter for even a second, that mental picture will return as soon as you set foot forbidden in the Forbidden West. Many locations and features in Horizon Forbidden West take this idea a bit further than I expected. From settlements to guns – and yes, big machines too – Guerrilla has essentially made a Monster Hunter game before. Aloy may have been added to Monster Hunter: World in 2019, but now it looks like Monster Hunter: World has been added to Aloy.
As soon as I set foot in the Chainscrape Tavern, I knew it would work. The dark and confined atmosphere of the wooden architecture; bustling crowds and stories of adventure shared in laughter; the plentiful plates of food – these are scenes I expect to see in the Monster Hunter universe, and they’re all before we even get to machine hunting.
The similarities don’t end there either. A new weapon added to Forbidden West is the Boltblaster – a large crossbow which Aloy carries on her back with weight, must use all the strength she has to reload it, then unleashes the bolts in a frenzy as the metal and the the wood of the machine creaks and snaps into place. If that’s not a Monster Hunter weapon, I don’t know what is. Unless she gets a Buster Sword made out of bones in some DLC, I think we’re as close as it gets.
I spent a lot of my time during Horizon Forbidden West thinking “I would love a Monster Hunter game like this”. I felt like I was already playing it anyway. Those moments of exploring the wilderness, tracking down some type of machine that might be in the area, or performing contracts to scavenge and obtain certain parts. Then I go back to a colony and replenish supplies, sell parts I don’t need, and collect some more food for those buffs before the next hunt.
Even some campfires are now shelters, where you can craft, pass time, or access the small hidden item chest. This is really starting to sound familiar now, huh? Colonies also lend themselves to this aesthetic. Whether it’s the industrial metal and woodwork of the Oseram, or the very sharp and colorful architecture of the Tenakth, it’s everything you’ve come to expect from Monster Hunter. I mean, Monster Hunter: World’s hub is already mostly Oseram, and Monster Hunter Stories’ village feels more like Tenakth to me – well, thorny and colorful, less deathmatch.
At the end of the day, you could just give Thunderjaw some wings and some horns, and call him a Diablos. But is that all? Horizon’s gameplay is a far cry from the mission-based loot and loop that is Monster Hunter – but it works, at least in a spin-off sense. We had Monster Hunter Stories, which delved into the creature-collecting genre Pokemon reign over, so why not give the rights to a studio for an open world title? A studio that will do things well and that has already proven itself.
Monster Hunter: World is the big, pretty game that brought a lot of people to the Monster Hunter series, and Rise has since launched on Switch and PC – but many still consider World the best current Monster Hunter game to invest in. After all, the Switch can’t push the boundaries of graphics, and people want to see these big monsters in all their colossal, intimidating glory.
So why not give Guerrilla the freedom to use what they know and create a new face for the series? It’s one that could take a new direction – not for the main games, but for a spin-off. People love Monster Hunter for the way it plays, and that shouldn’t change when it comes to the main series. Quick mission-based gameplay that lets you hunt with friends – who East Monster hunter. But so does Stories and its hugely successful sequel. Now, with Guerrilla creating so much of that feeling and heart in Horizon – whether intentional or not – Forbidden West already seems like the perfect ground for a new era of Monster Hunter.
NEXT: Horizon Forbidden West Addresses Issues With Tribes, But Not Appropriation
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