The Best and Worst Soulsborne Bosses

Jack Matthams explores the best and worst Soulsborne bosses…

Everybody loves bosses. What’s not to love? They bring together everything you’ve learnt and gathered from the previous levels and force you to demonstrate your mastery for the right to progress, often with spectacular visuals and soundtracks. None, however, are quite as unique and notoriously memorable as those in the Soulsborne chain. This spiritually connected series, beginning with Demon’s Souls and running through three Dark Souls games and Bloodborne, form a collective mastery in learning from your mistakes and slashing at the ankles of various monsters as they try to flatten you. Now, three months after the final piece of content was released, it’s time to judge: what are the best and worst bosses in Soulsborne history…and why?

The Dregs of Soulsborne

The Bed of Chaos and Centipede Demon from Dark Souls 1, and the Royal Rat Authority, Dragonrider and Guardian Dragon from Dark Souls 2 all have something in common: they aren’t fun. You might wonder how that’s even possible in a video game, but once you’ve challenged them, you’ll truly understand.

The first three of these all suffer from significant mechanical issues from a design standpoint, all of which make them chores to complete. The Bed of Chaos was unfinished design-wise, as was his level, and ended up being a disappointingly awful fight with an entity the game had portrayed as being extremely powerful. It was more of a puzzle than a fight, and by that I mean it was puzzling to understand why they turned the battle into a platforming obstacle course.

The Centipede Demon wasn’t much better, and has become a staple for one of Soulsborne’s most common complaint:
‘what is the camera doing? No, point that way! Where am I? I can’t see anything!’ I need not go on.

The Royal Rat Authority is just dreadfully designed, with minion rats that can deal prolonged damage into the fight by using a status effect that will leave you unable to really fight the boss fairly. But what really makes this guy so bad is that he has no real reason to even be in the game; victory over him gives you nothing, unlocks nothing and won’t quench the bitter taste in your mouth, unlike the Bed of Chaos and Centipede Demon, which will at least provide some sense of reward and victorious joy.

Finally, there’s the Dragonrider and Guardian Dragon, both of Dark Souls 2, and both guilty of being ridiculous disappointments on the difficulty scale. You’d think, with those names, that these bosses would be devastatingly hard to kill whilst also being able to deal massive output in damage. Well, you’d be wrong. Unlike some of the other easier bosses that are somewhat justified in being a pushover, these two should not be nearly as quick to whip, and help justify that Dark Souls 2 simply has too many bosses.

The Creme de la Creme

On the flip side, there are some incredible fights in these games. To renew faith in Dark Souls 2, Sinh the Slumbering Dragon is what a dragon fight really should be, as is his species-similar Midir, from Dark Souls 3. As far as dragon fights go, both are exactly what you’d expect, with amazing soundtracks and claims to a staggeringly high number of broken controllers between them.

Equally as notorious are the final bosses of Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3’s DLCs, the Orphan of Kos, Sister Friede and Slave Knight Gael. Whilst all three are humanoid, they are devastatingly quick, deal enormous damage and prove a real challenge that makes the prices of their respective content worthwhile alone. Slave Knight Gael, as well as the Abyss Watchers and the Twin Princes (also from Dark Souls 3), have truly spectacular soundtracks. If epic is what you’re looking for, you should hear them for yourself.

Demon’s Souls can brag the Tower Knight, the first real jaw dropping moment in the series, and False King Allant, but it would be unwise to list the best Soulsborne bosses without mentioning the OG powerhouses of Knight Artorias and Ornstein and Smough. Both are world renowned, known even by those who don’t own Dark Souls 1 and for good reason. Artorias is relentless and has one of the best backgrounds behind a boss in gaming history, whilst Ornstein and Smough brag the unrivalled title of best multi-enemy boss in the series…and they can’t half fight too.

There are many more brilliant bosses in Soulsborne, but the only way to know is to check them out for yourself. That’s the beauty of this series, everyone plays their own way, so nobody experiences bosses the same way. Everybody can debate which ones are better, but one thing’s for sure: Soulsborne has some of the most enjoyable bosses in gaming history.

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