You know what I’ve always loved about video games? Boss fights. Those have always been my favorite part of any game. Having to test your skill and knowledge against an ultra-powerful foe has always been a highlight for me.
Which is why I’m gonna start doing deep dives into boss fights. Totally not because I’m still playing Elden Ring and I don’t have another game to talk about. Nope. Not that at all.
Between all the games released by From Software, a good number of boss fights live in infamy. Some of them because of their lack of quality (there aren’t many of those). Others because of their difficulty.
Among the latter category, there is one that has stood above them all for years: Bloodborne’s Orphan of Kos.
As with most bosses in these games, we don’t know a whole lot about the Orphan. But we can piece a few things together. Long ago, the Hunters killed the Great One Kos; in death, the Great One cursed them, creating the Hunter’s Nightmare, which is essentially purgatory. It is within this nightmare that the Orphan resides, dwelling within the corpse of its parent. Essentially, it’s the vengeful spirit of a dead Great One. Perhaps its the source of the nightmare, the guardian of its parent’s final creation. Or maybe it’s just a lost spirit trapped in purgatory.
Either way, it is not happy to see the player.
The first phase of the fight is fairly brutal. The Orphan swings its… placenta-sword (what the fuck, Bloodborne?) like a maniac, sometimes using it as a sword and sometimes using it as a yo-yo. If you get far enough away and try to recover, it’ll throw what is essentially a grenade of blood at you. If it wants to close that distance, it’ll leap at you and perform a devastating slam attack.
But none of that compares to phase two. Now glowing and wielding its placenta in both hands, the Orphan goes absolutely insane. It can launch more of those blood grenades, four all at once in a shotgun blast, or just release a burst of blood by screaming. It can slash its weapon at incredible speed in long combos. Even the dead body of its mother gets involved, blasting waves of lightning out all around it.
All of this combined makes the Orphan of Kos the single most unpredictable and dangerous boss in the entirety of Bloodborne. It can string together any combination of these moves at any point, making it insanely difficult to dodge and attack. Any opportunity you have to strike could quickly vanish and result in you getting punished instead. This is the ultimate test of your reflexes, skills, luck, and patience.
And it’s one of the best boss fights in any video game.
There is no extra mechanic to deal with. There are no minions to distract you. It’s just you, the Orphan, and the corpse. It is a true clash between a Hunter and a monster. It feels like something you’d see in a Berserk fight!
While there is a degree of RNG to the fight, it never feels unfair or frustrating. It is absolutely brutal, yes. You’ll need to bring your A game just to stay alive long enough to even hit the bastard. But if you’ve gotten far enough into Bloodborne to actually reach this monster, then be assured: you have all that you need in order to win.
If there’s one thing really wrong with the fight… I guess it’s the music? It’s not bad, the music in these games never is. But compared to the music that plays during the fights with, say, Ludwig or Lady Maria, the Orphan’s OST is kind of forgettable.
Again: it isn’t bad. It does manage to capture the somber tragedy behind the Orphan while still capturing just how powerful and deadly this monster is. Hearing the music escalate from a quiet and melancholy piece for phase one into a straight-up horror theme for phase two is impactful as all hell…
…if you can tear your focus away from the fight for long enough to hear it without getting obliterated.
This is a masterpiece of a boss fight. To this day, it is one of the best From Software has ever done. Bloodborne is a masterpiece of a game, filled with some of the best bosses in video games. And standing atop them all is the Orphan of Kos.
Although you could make an argument for Ludwig the Holy Blade. Oh, and Lady Maria. And-