I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve sort of been on a FromSoftware marathon recently. In the last few weeks, I’ve blasted through Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and Dark Souls 3 (cause I hate Dark Souls 2 with the heat of a thousand suns). Now, I’m giving Sekiro another shot. After that, I’ll play Bloodborne for the hundred billionth time. All to properly prepare myself for the Demon’s Souls remake.
And maybe Eldin Ring. If that ever comes out.
Originally, I intended to review each game as I finished them. But there’s a bit of a problem: I’ve already done that with most of them. The only one left to really review is Dark Souls 3. So instead, I’m going to go a little deeper into each game and do what everyone on the internet has already done: rank the bosses.
I know. I’m so original. Please, don’t applaud too loudly.
#25: Bed of Chaos
Surprise! This one is at the bottom! My originality streak continues!
No, for real though, this boss fight sucks. It’s not just one of the worst bosses in the Dark Souls series. It’s one of the worst bosses I’ve ever played in any video game! It’s a dull slog that, unfortunately, one must suffer through every playthrough in order. I genuinely believe that the team ran out of time for this area, because the entire thing just sucks.
Essentially, you need to hit three weak points in order to kill this one. When you take one out, the arena starts to crumble and the Bed of Chaos starts to fight back. Better have a nimble character, otherwise, you will get shoved into a pit and die. The only saving grace is that you don’t need to repeat each breakpoint. If you die, the progress is carried over between attempts.
At least Miyazaki acknowledged how much this one sucks and tried to alleviate our pain.
#24: Moonlight Butterfly
Are you an archer? Or a magic-user? Congratulations! You get to skip the wait.
This one is just boring. The butterfly just floats around, blasting you with magic until it eventually lands and lets you hit it. If you’re durable or fast enough, you won’t have any problems. It’s not a test of skill. Just patience.
You can always tell how good a boss is when it becomes a regular enemy not one area later.
This one isn’t even worth talking about. We all know how easy it is. The run-up to him is infinitely more difficult than the boss itself. I don’t even know what moves this guy has! He’s never hit me with them!
He’s a waste of time holding a great item. That’s all.
#22: Centipede Demon
Don’t lie. You forgot this guy existed. Don’t worry. I did the same.
This dude is such a nothing enemy. As far as I know, he doesn’t have any interesting lore to back him up. And he certainly isn’t hard. Frankly, I don’t even know why he’s here! Or why I had to fight him right after fighting the next boss!
#21: Demon Firesage
It’s the Asylum Demon but he’ son fire. Boring. Next.
#20: Stray Demon
It’s the Asylum Demon but he’s got explosions. Boring. Next.
#19: Capra Demon
What’s more annoying than fighting a boss with normal enemies with him? Doing that in a tight hallway!
I fucking hate this shit. I dread having to fight it every playthrough. It isn’t hard by any means, but it’s just so damn annoying! Who thought fighting a boss in such a confined space was a good idea?! I wanna punch him in the gut! And whoever gave him the dogs, Imma kick him in the dick!
He isn’t hard. He isn’t fun. Just annoying. Next.
#18: Taurus Demon
This is pretty much the same as the last one, but he doesn’t make me want to kill myself every time I fight him.
In terms of an actual fight, the Taurus Demon is pretty boring. Its attacks are only difficult to dodge because of the tight terrain. You can easily exploit it with lightning moves and repetitive plunging attacks. Killing it is really only difficult on your first playthrough when you aren’t sure how to play yet.
But once you do? You’ll blast past this guy every time without issue.
At least it isn’t bad. I guess that’s something.
#17: Iron Golem
TARKUS!! TARKUS!! TARKUS!! TARKUS!! TARKUS!!
Fuck, this thing is cool! It’s a giant metal man that can slice the air! It’s rad as hell! Even if it pisses me off to no end when he hurls me off the ledge…
This isn’t much of a difficult fight. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look forward to it every playthrough. It may not be hard, it may not have the deepest lore. It’s just fun! Watching Tarkus knock it off a cliff is exhilarating! Doing it yourself is even better!
#16: Bell Gargoyles
This one is slightly harder, so it takes the spot over the Iron Golem.
Not to say that it’s all that much better. This is basically a less frustrating version of a Demon’s Souls boss, the Maneaters. Granted, it’s fun to tear them a new asshole every playthrough. But even in my first, I never found them to be all that difficult.
Much like the next guy.
#15: Dark Sun Gwyndolin
I don’t know why, but I always die to this guy once before I kill him. But on that second run, he never even touches me. I legitimately have no idea why.
While he does have great lore, Gwyndolin’s boss fight is mostly just a pain in the ass. You need to chase him down and endless hallway while dodging arrows and magic. It doesn’t take many hits for him to chicken out and run away again.
I don’t hate it. But if this weren’t an optional fight, it would definitely be lower. He’s interesting, sure. But he’s about as much fun as watching paint dry.
#14: The Four Kings
This fight is a total coin flip. You’ll either murder each one well before the others show up or all four will appear and shove their weapons up your ass at the same time. There is no in-between.
Personally, I prefer the ladder. That one is much more hectic and challenging! Plus, having four enemies to kill makes a decent marker for your progress. Not only does it reward you by making the fight easier, but it’s also just plain satisfying!
But if you’re too strong and kill ’em too quicky? Oh man, is this shit boring! You’ll spend more time waiting for them to spawn then you will killing them! Downtime is the exact opposite of what a Dark Souls boss should have.
Still, a pretty cool boss. And they’ve got some neat lore between them! I only wish the idea wasn’t so hit or miss.
#13: Gaping Dragon
That’s a helluva nickname there, buddy. But I guess it’s fitting.
To me, this is the first true ‘monster’ boss. Sure, we fought plenty of demons to get here. But none of them were nearly as big or intimidating as this one! FOR FUCK’S SAKE, IT’S A GIANT DRAGON WITH A MOUTH FOR A STOMACH!!
Granted, it isn’t all that hard. It’s moves are slow and easy to dodge, though they do a shit ton of damage if you don’t do so. Killing it is challenging the first time. But after as many playthroughs as I’ve done, it really isn’t much of a challenge.
Cool as hell, though. But you do have to go through the Depths to get to it and I fucking hate that area. So… I guess that’s a point against it?
Nah. Otherwise, Quelaag would be so much lower on the list.
#12: Gravelord Nito
I want to knock this one down because of those annoying fucking skeletons. If there’s anything I hate in a boss fight, it’s mobs distracting the player from the boss itself. But I’ll be nice and give it a pass.
Nito might have some of my favorite lore in the first game. He was one of the original Lords and the first to taste death. In the war against the dragons, he spread this death to them with poison. There’s not much there, but it’s a super cool premise for a background.
And if it weren’t for his skeleton mob buddies, he’d have a cool boss fight attached to it! He’s got plenty of moves to repel you and attack you from a distance. If you want to win, you need to essentially take up hit-and-run tactics. Unique for a game that involves heavy dodging and timing.
Plus, his design is cool. He’s a skeleton wearing other skeletons! That’s metal as fuck! And actually kinda horrifying if you really think about tit.
#11: Asylum Demon
Imagine it. You’re playing Dark Souls for the very first time. You have no idea what the game is like, but so far it doesn’t seem so bad. Like a gothic-fantasy action RPG.
And then this motherfucker drops in. You have two options: fight with that broken weapon or run away. You try the former and it wipes the floor with your face with relative ease. So you run, find some better stuff, get a healing item, and try again from a more advantageous position.
In all honesty, the Asylum Demon isn’t that hard. Neither new or veteran players will have all that much difficulty killing it. But as a first boss, it’s a perfect tone-setter for Dark Souls! It immediately communicates to the player what kind of game it is: dramatic, brutal, and oh so rewarding!
You just need to get past this one roadblock. He essentially stands as the gatekeeper. “I’m your first and easiest obstacle.” It tells you. “It only gets worse from here. You got the guts to keep going?”
Doesn’t matter how often I kill it or how easily I do it. This is still one of the fights I enjoy the most.
#10: Seeth the Scaleless
This one is interesting to me. Technically, he’s the only boss in the game that you’re required to lose to on your first go. You might think this establishes him as a huge threat. But no. He’s actually kind of a push over.
But he’s a scaleless dragon, so he’s got that going for him. That’s pretty cool!
This guy isn’t challenging at all. He blasts you with curse-inducing crystal layers, but he’s pretty easy to dodge. All you have to do is stick to one of his tentacles and attack relentlessly.
Honestly, he’s mostly up here for his lore. He betrayed his kin to Gwyn then reaped all the benefits. He got a lab, where he conducted many horrific experiments, and he even managed to bang one of Gwyn’s kids, resulting in the birth of a certain crossbreed. The more you study him, the more you realize how much of a bastard this guy is!
Which makes it all the sweeter to kill him, once and for all.
#9: Gwyn, Lord of Cinder
I would be sad about this one, if Gwyn weren’t such an asshole. He makes Seeth look like a goddamn saint!
If you avoid a certain tactic, this fight is awesome! Gwyn has a huge range of attacks with lots of range and speed, making it difficult to deal with him. Sure, you can block them all. But not only will that drain your stamina, but that’ll leave you open for his deadly grab move. It can be a deadly, highly difficult dance for an unprepared player.
Or you could just parry. The fact that you can do that makes this fight a total cakewalk.
Still, this guy is undeniably important in terms of lore. He’s the central piece for the entire Dark Souls trilogy! He’s so important that they practically recreated him for phase two of the Soul of Cinder boss in DS3! This dude is sick as hell!
But again: you can parry him. Kinda takes the wind out of his sails, doesn’t it?
#8: Sanctuary Guardian
I often forget this boss exists. Probably because his design is just ‘manticore’. Pretty boring, compared to the others. But his fight is pretty sick!
This thing is like a surprise box of attacks. First, you’ll be dodging lighting. Then you’ll be avoiding poison. Then he’ll just slash or stab at you. Combine that with its extreme mobility, and you’ve got a boss that’ll always keep you on your toes.
Even if he’s still painfully easy. Seriously, in all my time playing Dark Souls, I’ve only lost to this dude once. I then went right back in thanks to the bonfire right next to the fog gate and beat his ass to a pulp.
It was exciting, don’t get me wrong. But compared to the other three bosses that awaited us in the DLC? This one is pretty weak.
#7: Crossbreed Priscilla
In terms of a fight, this one isn’t so difficult. Sure, she can turn invisible. But all her moves are easy to predict and dodge once you eliminate that ability.
This one is mostly here for the lore. As a crossbreed between dragon and god, she was seen as an abomination and sent away to the Painted World. She turned that world into a home for the damned and abandoned. She essentially became a guardian for the most disgusting beings in the world.
And then you bust in and casually murder her.
Which is another thing I love: she won’t fight you. In fact, she even shows you the way out! If you partake in this bossfight, it’s entirely of your volition. You’re the aggressor, not her. You’re the asshole in this scenario!
Unfortunately, that means I’ve only fought her twice. Because I just can’t bring myself to do it most playthroughs.
#6: Chaos Witch Quelaag
This is where the balance between difficulty, fun, and interest finally start to align.
Quelaag has some incredible lore. A daughter of the Witch of Izalith, she was mutated by the birth of the Chaos Flame. With her mutated form, she took to defending her sister, who took a similar but much weaker form. Whenever an Undead comes to ring the bell, she claims their humanity and feeds to to her dying sibling.
So, once again, you’re the asshole. Well done.
Plus, the fight itself is cool. For a giant spider that spits lava, she’s surprisingly fast! You’ll need to maneuver around a lot to avoid death. But that’s made pretty difficult, cause she does have a habit of covering the floor in lava.
Granted, she’s still a mid-game boss. Compared to what you’d see later, she isn’t that bad. But when you reach her for the first time, she should prove a worthy opponent. Plus, she’s super fun to fight!
#5: Manus, Father of the Abyss
Fuck dude, this guy is nuts! He’s fast, he hits hard, he’s got magic, and he’s tricky as fuck! No matter how often I play, he still gives me a wicked hard time!
Plus, he’s got some neat lore! He’s a prime example of the complexity between the Link the Flame and Dark Lord endings. Sure, Gwyn is a right asshole and linking the fire seems like a pretty bad idea. But then you see this asshole and you think “Huh, maybe the dark isn’t all that great either!”
Also, he hurt my boys Sif and Artorias. So I hate him forever and will eternally revel in killing him.
#4: Black Dragon Kalameet
This dude is fast as fuck! He’ll fly around, run you down, blast you with fire, and kill you before you can even breath! He’s like a prototype Midir!
Only with a tolerable healthpool. So, in my mind, he’s better. Plus, you get to convince a giant to shoot it with a gigantic bow!
#3: Ornstein and Smough
This, to me, is the final roadblock. If you can beat these two, you can beat Dark Souls. There’s not a doubt in my mind that they’re the hardest fight in the game. So, once they go down, the others should fall pretty easily.
Not that you’ll have an easy time.
Fat-ass and Wolf-Head are the ultimate pain in the ass. Get too distracted by one, you’ll get flattened by the other. Kill the wrong one first and the other one will get a huge power boost in the ladder half of the fight. This is not a fight you can rush. Take your time, be careful, and don’t. Die.
Or just summon Solaire to keep the other one distracted. That sunbro will never let you down.
Unless Smough flattens him right away. Or you fuck up and forget to do his questline like I did in my most recent playthrough.
#2: Great Gray Wolf Sif
It’s a big wolf with a big sword. Sure, he’s easy as sin. But that’s awesome! And his lore is the best in the game!
Long ago, puppy Sif and Artorias went to Oolacile to halt the spread of the abyss. However, they failed, and Artorias had to sacrifice his shield to protect his loyal puppet. Now, in the present, he protects his master’s grave from those that would take his ring and brave the Abyss.
But then the DLC happened. Now, you can actually go and save Sif yourself! Do that, and he’ll actually recognize you during the fight! The fight itself won’t change, but the intro cutscene will!
And I cry. Which wouldn’t be so bad if Dark Souls had a pause button.
#1: Artorias the Abysswalker
And here he is. My favorite fight in the game and my second-favorite in all of Dark Souls.
Artorias has it all. He’s fast, he’s got tons of moves, and he deals a shitton of damage. Even in his moments of vulnerability, you only have enough room to squeeze in a few hits. This dude is the penultimate killing machine: fast and deadly.
He’s also go the best lore in the game! A noble knight of legend, his legacy built entirely on a lie! But even in his broken state, he continues to battle the Abyss. Even with only one arm to wield his sword, he never stopped fighting!
When you meet him, you’re given two jobs. One: to put this noble hero out of his misery. Two: to make good on his legend yourself. And that is fucking awesome! Put that together with Sif’s lore and you get one of the most interesting, emotional stories in all of Dark Souls!
I’ll keep this one short. This damn article is long enough as it is.
Honestly, the rankings on this list could change at any moment. Depending on the day, I might put any one of these bosses higher or lower on the list. It all depends on my current thoughts and how recent my last playthrough was. But considering that I just finished it a few days ago, I’m pretty confident in my current choices.
And now I’ll never do this again. There are just too many bosses in DS3 to do this anymore. Besides, I really don’t wanna talk about the Champion’s Gravetender or the Curse-Rotted Greatwood. Those guys fucking suck, bro.