The formula for perfecting the monster collecting genre provides an exciting array of well-designed creatures you’ll want to have in your inventory and engage in battles with. How about some of the existing games that already have an iconic enemy variety we all know and love, but are underutilized in this regard?
Over the decades and across genres, from action-adventure, survival horror and sci-fi fantasy, came an amazing collection of creatures that still roam their environments without any player characters. The Pokémon series may be among the most popular, but maybe some of these could one day give it a run for its money.
Id Software’s first-person shooter Doom series has been around for 30 years, with no monster-collecting aspect in sight. The classic demonic units across the generations of games have all undergone intricate design evolutions, and it’s about time their purpose is for more than just glory killing.
In an unconventional twist on the genre, the Doom-slayer can have a recruitment-adjacent system like in Shadow of War and turn to lesser enemies like Cacodemons, Arachnotrons, Revenants, Imps and Lost Souls for their help in battle. It can mimic a more fragile Pokémon-style aesthetic of demon-on-demon action.
9 Silent Hill
Of all the existing horror game series, the one that will surely stand out as a monster collector will be the atmospheric Silent Hill series. With the series experiencing a resurgence, it may only be a matter of time before you can roam the spooky surroundings of Silent Hill and acquire some of its iconic monsters.
And there is an endless list of them, each game introducing new grotesque creatures that represent the characters’ darkest psychological traumas. Imagine having everything from the nurses to the mannequins, pants and double heads by your side to fight bigger enemies like the fearsome pyramid head.
Metroid certainly wouldn’t be the first Metroidvania-style game to fuse monster-collecting mechanics. Monster Sanctuary more than proves that the mechanics of maintaining a band of creatures and defeating enemies in a 2D pixelated platforming world is an achievable and fun combination.
Like Nintendo’s Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda enemies, those in the Metroid series are equally remarkable and deserve Samus Aran’s grace to join her as supporting members in battles with the other terrifying creatures you may encounter. Being able to upgrade your abilities like you can Samus’ outfit sounds like an idea everyone can get behind.
7 Mass effect
When the first Mass Effect came out in 2007, it revolutionized the RPG genre with its branching dialogue wheel mechanics and the ability to form same-sex relationships with other characters. Of the four titles that have launched, the only remaining feature still left out is any form of creature collecting.
From the Milky Way to the Andromeda Galaxy, Mass Effect offers a variety of fantastic alien races and species such as Thresher Maws, Echidnas and even Space Cows. With a squad-based combat system already in place, some of these monstrous aliens would join the fray, adding wonders to the sci-fi experience.
6 devil may cry
A series as old as Silent Hill and Resident Evil, Devil May Cry is one of the originals in the hack-and-slash genre that sees you progress by slaying hordes of demons. Had there been more RPG elements attached to the action-adventure game, you might have gotten a system similar to the Shin Megami Tensei games where you can collect and upgrade demons for battle.
In fact, Devil May Cry puts a lot of emphasis on ranking your battles and missions by awarding grades from D to S based on completion time and the amount of damage taken. It’s a game ripe with spectacular enemy designs, and some of the lesser demons like Kyklops, Beelzebubs, Empusas, and Riots might help boost your ranking.
The exotic array of alien aquatic species lurking in the ocean depths of Subnautica’s Planet 4546B makes a compelling case for the survival game to shift more towards monster collecting. Both games already include several modes, such as creative, where you don’t have to worry about hunger and oxygen levels, along with hardcore and survival. So why not an additional monster collection mode?
The vast underwater environment is home to rich and diverse biomes of, among other things, kelp forests, caves and sand dunes. You can hatch eggs scattered in these biomes and befriend certain fish with bait, but it would be nice if they stayed by your side as protection when in conflict with several giant carnivorous species.
4 Fall out
The fourth installment allowed for a canine companion, and Fallout 76 experimented with a co-op experience, but the Fallout franchise has yet to include an official monster collection entry where you can add more mutated creatures from the nuclear wasteland to your team. From Radscorpions to Giant Mantises, Mirelurks and Mole Rats, there are plenty of popular ones to choose from.
The open world survival aspect of Fallout has the potential to be even more interesting if you could befriend some of these otherwise menacing creatures you encounter. They can accompany you on your journey through the wasteland and defend you against Ghouls, Raiders and the further threatening Deathclaws.
3 The Witcher
Geralt of Rivia tackles an extensive bestiary of mythological creatures throughout The Witcher series, all remarkably designed and coming with in-depth knowledge. But what if there was an option for you to acquire one instead of killing them and collecting their various parts? Possibly a new magic sign you can learn that allows you to enchant them to your side.
The open world of The Witcher, especially the third entry in the series, is equal parts immersive as it is massive, so it should host enough space for Geralt and a party of Drowners, Nekkers and Wraiths to engage with the more formidable Royal Griffins and werewolves, and even the battles with the Wild Hunt.
Horizon Zero Dawn and Forbidden West fully showcase their unique array of animal machines that populate the fantastical post-apocalyptic landscape. As the main character, Aloy, you can take control of certain through override ability and use them as a mount, and some can also help in battle.
It’s nowhere near as detailed as each machine receiving a health bar and sticking by your side as a collective. However, the taming system used to extend the hacking to a more diverse range of enemy machines, such as grazers and diggers, could be expanded to better strategize battles with their respective abilities in a similar light to Monster Hunter Stories 2.
When you think of a series like Borderlands, the first things that come to mind are the distinct art style, humorous characters that keep it company of villains, and the signature looting shooter gameplay. While these are what ultimately shape the Borderlands games, the various creatures scattered among planetary environments should not be overlooked.
Borderlands 3 teased what a deep monster collecting game could mean for the series with the pet companion system for the character FL4K, but it could go even further than limiting it to just one pet and only choosing from three specific species. Aside from Jabbers and Skags, there are Dregs, Varkids, and countless varieties of native Pandoran animals.
NEXT: Monster taming game with co-op features