We’ve seen some pretty spectacular monster designs in this year’s crop of horror movies, with two standouts being David Bruckner’s The Ritual and Alex Garland’s Annihilation. Both films feature truly unforgettable monsters that are some of the coolest in recent years, one a jaw-dropping human/animal hybrid and the other a nightmare bear. Cannot. Ever. Unsee.
But right up there with the monsters seen in those two movies, if you’re asking me, are the insane creatures that want to eat you alive in Endnight Games’ The Forest, an open world survival-horror game that was launched for Microsoft Windows back in April and for PlayStation 4 just last week, on November 6. A nonlinear game with no set quests or storyline missions, The Forest tasks you with surviving out in the wild (alone or with a friend) after a plane crash that deposits you onto an island that’s infested with hungry cannibals.
Those cannibalistic “Mutants” are the first threats you’ll find yourself battling in The Forest, but soon, other creatures begin emerging from the caves underneath your treacherous new home. The cannibals are easy enough to defeat, once you get the hang of properly swinging your homemade battle axe, but the larger boss-like monsters are a whole nother story.
And holy shit are they TERRIFYING, when they show up.
The game’s two most fearsome foes are the male “Armsy” and the spider-like female “Virginia,” both fleshy beasts that essentially each look like several human-monster hybrids that have been blended together in some nightmarish workshop. They each have multiple limbs fused together in Cronenberg’ian ways, and they’re nothing short of genuine nightmare fuel.
(Yes, I realize that term is way overused. But seriously. They are.)
I’ve only logged a handful of hours playing The Forest thus far so I’m not sure if there’s ever any kind of backstory established for these abominations, but man do they put the fear of God in your heart when they decide to mess your life up. Especially when it’s dark outside (and the game gets a bit *too* dark at night), one of these things darting out at you is liable to turn your shit white, and even the less-terrifying standard cannibal foes have the power to nearly make you lose bowel control when they suddenly start hunting you down. What makes all the game’s monsters even scarier is that they’re *smart*; they’re not just mindless monsters that attack, attack, attack, but rather they stalk, hunt and strike when you let you guard down.
If you’re just starting to play, a little word of advice. If you encounter “Armsy” or “Virginia,” set them on fire with a molotov cocktail. Once they’re charred and injured, they’re much easier to take down with, say, a super cool club that happens to be made out of the skull of a cannibal you just killed. When you slay one, be sure to skin it and score yourself some monster armor.
And whatever you do. Don’t… go out… at night.