Souls games have been a mainstay for quite some time now. With the release of Elden Ring, the fan base for Souls games has seen an incredible rise as more and more people tune in to claim their stake in the Lands Between.
FromSoftware has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to designing these titles, and each new entry is as special as the last. There is a certain sense of freedom that these games provide that is mostly absent in most modern-day AAA games.
Souls games are infamous for offering unique enemy designs. The immaculate worlds and the backstory in these titles would have no meaning if not backed up by an enemy that will give no quarter. The bosses in the Soulsborne games are brutal and unforgiving but never unfair. This is what makes them so special, as any challenge can be surmounted with patience and skill.
Along with being challenging, the design and setting associated with the bosses in Souls games come across as incredibly cinematic. The list below takes a look at some bosses that make players feel like they’re in a movie.
5 movie-like boss fights in Souls games that make players feel like they're in a movie
1) Storm King (Demon’s Souls Remake)
Demon’s Souls’ release in 2009 launched FromSoftware from relative obscurity to immense stardom. The 2009 release was a cultural phenomenon as the Souls series was officially born. The game itself was incredibly well-made for its time and gave players a brutal yet fair gaming experience. The game proved that a market for challenging games does exist and cemented FromSoftware as a premier video game developer for the modern age.
Demon’s Souls was remade for the PlayStation 5 by Bluepoint Games. They took incredible strides in vamping up the cosmetic design of the game, and it was light years ahead of the 2009 release for the PlayStation 3.
Bluepoint Games did not make any changes besides cosmetic ones, and the game has stayed largely the same. The cinematic cutscenes and the boss fights look absolutely gorgeous; the bosses in Demon’s Souls certainly set the trend for upcoming bosses in the Souls series.
The Storm King is the Archdemon that rules over the Altar of storms. The gigantic beast can be found in world 4-3 and is one of FromSoftware’s original ‘gimmick’ bosses. The fight requires players to run into battle and pick up the Stormruler, a legendary weapon that can slice open the sky itself. Players will have to use the weapon to take out the Storm King and its brood.
The fight looks incredibly cinematic, as players use the Stormruler to cleave through the storm.
2) Ludwig the Accursed, the Holy Blade (Bloodborne: The Old Hunters DLC)
The world of Bloodborne is dark and grim. There is very little hope that exists in the bleak and bloody landscape as every being has fallen victim to the beasthood. Yharnam is a shadow of its former self as even the hunters that were slated to protect the city have turned into beasts themselves, attacking friend and foe alike.
Ludwig was one of the Healing Church’s finest hunters and its most renowned. He fought with a transient blade of pure moonlight that cut through foes and served to guide Ludwig when all else seemed lost.
Ludwig the Accursed can be fought in the Old Hunters DLC. When the player first encounters Ludwig, they are greeted with a terrible sight, a horrifying three-way cross between a man, horse, and wolf. Ludwig has completely lost himself to the beasthood, and the fight is a challenging one.
As the fight progresses, Ludwig sees the Holy Moonlight Sword still on his back which reignites his lost humanity, and the tempo of the whole fight changes drastically. The music swells up, and players are treated to one the best boss OSTs FromSoftware has produced.
Bloodborne is a fantastic experience. The game hits all the right notes as a Souls game, and it definitely sets the standard for fantastic bosses. The game deserves a remake or a sequel, and FromSoftware would definitely profit from bringing the game to next-generation consoles.
3) Darkeater Midir (Dark Souls 3: Ringed City DLC)
There is a lot to discuss when talking about the highly-regarded lore of the Dark Souls universe. Starting with Dark Souls 1 and going all the way to The Ringed City DLC, Dark Souls has been arguably one of the best stories ever told in gaming, as it explores deep and intriguing aspects of existence and gods.
Hidetaka Miyazaki has expressed a profound interest in the works of Kentaro Miura and H.P. Lovecraft, whose influences can be seen in all of the Souls games.
Darkeater Midir is an optional boss that can be found way below the depths of the fabled Ringed City. The First Lord of Light, Gwyn, tasked the immortal dragon to watch over the inheritors of his world and keep them imprisoned in a gilded city. Midir’s sole task was to battle the Dark wherever it crept up, and this was a duty that he would perform till the bitter end.
His constant battle with the Abyss corrupted him, and when the player runs into him, he is almost ccompletely consumed by the very thing he was supposed to fight.
Midir offers a tough fight and is one of the largest bosses that the player battles within the Souls series. The key to winning this fight is keeping Midir right in front of the player as this is the best way to fight him. His huge size might scare players, but the fight can be extremely cinematic. There is nothing cooler than fighting a dragon on foot.
4) Dragonlord Placidusax (Elden Ring)
The lore for the world of Elden Ring follows the same tragic connotations as the previous Souls titles but takes a step forward in providing a much more dynamic narrative experience. There is a plethora of NPC questlines and branching paths that one can take in Elden Ring, and all of them provide a fantastic open-world experience.
There are a lot of bosses in Elden Ring as well, and they are some of the meanest and most well-designed, with intricate moves that can humble most players.
Dragonlord Placidusax can be found in Crumbling Farum Azula beyond time and space. This ancient dragon was Elden Lord long before the age of the Erdtree and now awaits guidance from the cosmic god it pledged allegiance to. This fight is very anime-esque, and Placidusax is truly an embodiment of that feeling. The boss uses intense earth-shattering attacks and can also sometimes move around the arena at great speed despite his size.
Dragonlord Placidusax offers an extremely cinematic fight, leaving the player feeling like they're fighting a true Dragon God. The Remembrance of this boss can be exchanged for the dragon breath or a heavy thrusting sword, which can honestly make the player feel like they are in an anime. The Ash of War is aptly named Thundercloud Form, and players can use this to great effect.
5) Radagon of the Golden Order/Elden Beast
The culmination of the Tarnished’s journey ends at the Erdtree. Everything that the game has taught the player is utilized up to this point; they must fight the first Elden Lord before getting access to the Erdtree.
Fighting Godfrey isn't going to be a walk in the park, as this absolute unit of a man rips and tears at the Tarnished. He aptly says after the fight “Thy strength befits a crown” which the player must take to heart as one of the toughest fights in the Souls series is about to come up.
The fight with Radagon is even harder. He hammers the player into oblivion as this is a fight with no subtlety. This battle requires the player to be on their toes, quite literally.
Radagon also has a lot of AOE (area of effect) attacks that can be avoided by jumping over the attacks with precise timing. The entire encounter has two phases. The Elden Beast rises up after Radagon falls, and this giant Lovecraftian being is incredibly evasive and challenging to beat. There are moments of reprieve during the fight, but players will still have to keep the pressure on the beast.
The music and the moveset of both these bosses are incredibly iconic. FromSoftware hit a goldmine when designing these bosses, and its usage of the theme music for the game as the OST is just magical. Elden Ring is truly a masterpiece, and this fight is easily the most cinematic one in FromSoftware’s library.
Note: This article reflects the author's views.