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5 of the hardest bosses in Soulsborne games (and 5 who are relatively easy)

Some of the hardest bosses to fight (image via FromSoftware)
Some of the hardest bosses to fight (image via FromSoftware)

Soulsborne games are the pinnacle of gaming. No other developer has had such success with back-to-back titles and FromSoftware is a giant in the industry.

Under the leadership of Hidetaka Miyazaki, FromSoftware invented an entirely new genre that is unique and has perfected it with each successive release. From Demon’s Souls all the way to Elden Ring, all of their games are timeless masterpieces and they don’t seem to be stopping just yet.

When Demon’s Souls was first released way back in 2009, the game was one of a kind. It had the RPG elements that fans were used to, but it brought a level of challenge and lack of hand-holding that has ultimately come to define the genre. Soulsborne games cannot be defined just by their difficulty. They give the player a modicum of respect that feels refreshing in modern-day gaming.

This list contains some of the hardest bosses that players will encounter in the Soulsborne series and a few that can be considered a cakewalk.


5 Soulsborne bosses that take a lot out of players

1) Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower (Bloodborne)

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As with most bosses in the Soulsborne games, there is a lot of tragedy in the characters that inhabit the world. Bloodborne is one of those special FromSoftware titles that could be seen as a branch-off into a slightly different direction that still stays true to its roots.

Bloodborne is loved by fans all around and there have been many calls for a remaster of the classic Soulsborne title. It was released in 2015 and has one DLC which houses some of the most challenging bosses ever conceived.

When players come across Lady Maria, she is seemingly dead, but this is not the case. She has three distinct phases and each is harder than the last. Players will have to think on their toes and avoid blood attacks that deal a ton of damage if caught.

She moves fast and players can lose the fight if they make even a minor misstep. Lady Maria is truly a challenging boss and lives up to her Hunter reputation quite well.


2) Nameless King (Dark Souls 3)

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When Dark Souls 3 was released, it was a culmination of all the Soulsborne titles up to that point. FromSoftware has such an eye for improvement and learning from past games that it has constantly innovated while staying true to the formula.

Dark Souls 3 is a monster of a video game. Enemies are fast, vicious, and do not hold back. At that point, this was the most challenging Souls title yet. The game tested players at every turn and they had to learn or suffer unending death over and over again.

There are two phases to this fight. First, players will have to defeat the King of the Storm. They have to deplete the entire health bar, which is a daunting task. The dragon that the Nameless King rides has a ton of AoE attacks that can chain together and kill the player.

After beating the King of the Storm, the Nameless King dismounts and the true fight begins. This is a true test and it really encapsulates the fight between the player and the heir of lightning.


3) Owl (Father) (Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice)

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is undoubtedly one of FromSoftware’s best games. They deviated so much from their usual RPG style that it has become a game of its own.

To the untrained eye, Sekiro does not feel like a typical Soulsborne game. Instead, FromSoftware has heavily focused on one thing, sword combat. This is integral to the Sekiro experience and the game has a huge learning curve.

The Owl (Father) fight takes place at the Hirata Estate and differs a lot from the Great Shinobi Owl that players will encounter after they have collected all three key items before returning to Kuro.

Owl (Father) is a vicious opponent. It almost feels like the players are going up against a powerful version of themselves. He is an optional boss but his moveset is one to be remembered. The Owl is easily one of the best-designed antagonists in the Soulsborne franchise.


4) Isshin, the Sword Saint (Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice)

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Easily one of the hardest bosses ever designed, Isshin is the culmination of all the hardships the player has gone through on their journey.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of the best games ever made, not just in terms of it being a Soulsborne but of all time. There is just so much depth to the combat in this game that it can take a long time to master.

This fight is a stretch at the very least. The only thing more challenging than Isshin is the fact that players will have to keep their composure throughout the entirety of the duel. He is the final boss in the game and has a whopping four phases.

The first phase is against Genichiro and after the player beats him, he summons his dead adopted Grandpa to save Ashina from destruction. This fight is incredibly challenging and requires utmost concentration. This boss is no cakewalk and a lot of players have walked away from the challenge.


5) Malenia, Blade of Miquella (Elden Ring)

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This next entry comes from Elden Ring and players will undoubtedly remember her name and who she is for a long time.

Elden Ring is an open-world Soulsborne game that is the first of its kind and takes extreme strides in what a Souls game can be. It's a technical masterpiece that has taken critics and fans by storm. Fans are eagerly awaiting a DLC to this game which hopefully is not too far away.

Malenia, Blade of Miquella is easily one of the hardest bosses in a Soulsborne game. There is little room for error in this fight as she eviscerates any player that makes one misstep. This fight consists of two distinct phases that require players to think proactively.

She is fast and dodges most projectiles that are thrown at her. In the second phase, she transforms into the Goddess of Rot and gets a couple more attacks added to her arsenal. Malenia, Blade of Miquella is an optional boss that can be found at the roots of the Haligtree.


5 Soulsborne bosses that are a cakewalk compared to the rest

1) Fool’s Idol (Demon’s Souls Remake)

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Demon’s Souls was a generational prodigy. The game redefined the gaming industry and opened up an entirely new audience to games that challenge the player. The game was so influential that Blue Point games remastered it for the PS5 and it looks absolutely gorgeous.

The bosses in Demon’s Souls differ a lot from the newer games. They might not be as challenging, but they are difficult in their own right. Fool’s Idol is a boss that is encountered in world 3-1, specifically in the Tower of Latria.

She is a mandatory boss that must be defeated in order to progress to finish the game. She can be seen as a gimmick boss, but she can spell doom for unwary players. Fool’s Idol is an easy boss in the Soulsborne lineup but not one to be taken lightly.


2) Pinwheel (Dark Souls Remastered)

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This boss is considered a joke by most people in the community. There is little debate to whether he is easy or hard. Pinwheel is found in the Catacombs, and true to his name, looks like a pinwheel. This boss is another one on the gimmick list and poses little-to-no threat to the experienced Soulsborne veteran.

The strategy for Pinwheel is quite simple, don’t let him breathe. Players should not slow down their assault at all during the fight as all of his clones can get tedious to handle. Players can trivialize the fight by using pyromancy, but the boss does pose some challenges. Ultimately, he is an easy enough boss that doesn't pose a lot of trouble.


3) Ceaseless Discharge (Dark Souls Remastered)

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Can Ceaseless Discharge be considered a boss? The answer is, yes. Ceaseless Discharge is a tragic boss that players will have to beat in order to progress through the main game. He is the source of most of the flowing lava and beating him unlocks more areas the player can explore.

The fight is insanely trivial. There is not much for the player to do besides starting the boss and running to the other end as he chases them. He can one-shot players so they must be careful.

There is a part where he lunges at the player and gets himself stuck on the ledge. Players must then brutally hit his stuck limb and do the same thing Scar did to Mufasa in Lion King. It is one of the biggest gimmicks that FromSoftware has ever put in a Soulsborne title.


4) Deacons of the Deep (Dark Souls 3)

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Deacons of the Deep is a group that come together as a mandatory boss in the main game of Dark Souls 3. They guard Aldritch’s coffin and players have to defeat this group to advance the story. The Deacons were guardians of the Deep but were ultimately corrupted by the very thing they guarded.

When the player first enters the arena, they expect to be greeted by the bloating mass of Aldritch waiting for them, but instead, the corrupted Deacons swarm the player with dark sorceries and candlesticks.

The Deacons share a health bar until the second phase kicks in. The head Deacon spawns into the arena and the players have to kill him in order to finish the fight. It's pretty straightforward battle when it comes to tackling the boss.

The only thing players don’t have freedom with is time as the fight gets significantly harder as it drags on. Players have to finish this fight quickly and they can do this in one try.


5) Folding Screen Monkeys (Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice)

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Sekiro has some of the most memorable boss fights in the entire Soulsborne franchise. This final entry, however, is challenging for completely different reasons.

This fight is basically a puzzle and players must rely on the old “3 Monkeys Tale” to solve it. The Folding Screen Monkeys are found at Senpou Temple and they guard the Divine Child of Rejuvenation and must be beaten to advance the story.

The four monkeys are incredibly elusive and players will have to use stealth in order to catch them off-guard. There are hints littered around the entire arena on how to catch each of the four different monkeys, and once players figure out the riddle, it is kind of easy. He is one of the easiest Soulsborne bosses if gamers know how to solve the gimmick.


Note: This article reflects the author's views.

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Edited by Abu Amjad Khan
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