5 toughest bosses from Soulsborne games

Malenia is possibly the hardest boss in the Soulsborne games (Image via FromSoftware)
Malenia is possibly the hardest boss in the Soulsborne games (Image via FromSoftware)

FromSoftware’s Soulsborne games are some of the hardest gaming experiences ever to grace PCs and consoles. Infamous for their incredible difficulty and steep learning curves, these games are not for the irresolute as faltering at every failure will likely lead to even more disappointment. Perseverance is the only way through to the end.

One of the most characteristic traits of all Soulsborne games is the boss fights, which seek to test the player on everything they have learned up till a certain point in the game. It is for these challenges that many people play Soulsborne games, seeking to defeat bosses who have attained near legendary status in gaming history.

FromSoftware started the Soulsborne saga with Demon’s Souls, which was originally released in 2009. Since then, the developer has put out several titles, including the Dark Souls games, Bloodborne, Sekiro, and most recently, Elden Ring. Scouring across all of these titles, this list picks the five toughest bosses from the Soulsborne games.

Note: This article reflects the writer's opinion.

5 bosses from Soulsborne games which gave players quite some trouble

1) Malenia: Blade of Miquella - Elden Ring


Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. Elden Ring is FromSoftware’s most recent Soulsborne game, which was released on February 25, 2022, and took the Soulsborne genre to an open-world setting. The game featured numerous bosses to fight against, some of which were optional while others were required to finish the main storyline.

Malenia is one such optional boss, whom players can track down if they start Millicent’s questline. Found within the depths of the Haligtree, this red-headed amputee with a prosthetic arm was soon discovered by players to be the hardest boss in the game.

As players make their way through Elden Ring, they would have heard about the legend of Malenia on more than one occasion. However, it is only upon meeting her personally that they realize her true power. With a moveset that is quick to deal damage and a devastating weapon skill known as the Waterfowl Dance, Malenia is a potent combination of a heavy hitter who is also light on her feet. The fact that she has a second health bar is just the icing on top of this scarlet-rotted cake.

2) Ornstein and Smough - Dark Souls


The duo that made the very first Dark Souls title noteworthy for being hard, Ornstein and Smough are possibly the toughest bosses in the base game. Up until this point in the story, players would have been subjected to some difficult enemies, but almost nothing could have prepared them for the first time when they entered the final chamber in Anor Londo.

Facing off against two opponents with completely different movesets and attacks, most players would have been astounded by what they were facing to survive the first encounter. This was the first time a Soulsborne boss would have really stymied players, as nothing of this caliber had ever existed in Demon’s Souls.

This fight also serves as a checkpoint, as the game has taught players everything they need to learn about combat. Having fought a variety of bosses on their way to Anor Londo, players should have everything they need to defeat this dynamic duo in the palm of their hands. While an optional NPC summon is available for this fight, a fair bit of focus will see players through this tough ordeal if they can put their minds to it.

3) Owl - Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice


Fighting one’s heroes is never easy, and for the eponymous protagonist of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Owl is like a father to him, who adopted the shinobi when he was a young boy. Thought to have died long ago, Owl made an appearance in the game about halfway through the storyline. Like Genichiro, the main antagonist of the game, Owl is also seeking immortality and asks Sekiro to join him.

Players can choose whether to stand against Owl or join his cause. The former option will result in Owl calling Sekiro weak and initiating a boss fight. Owl proves to be a tough opponent and the fight is made even harder due to the arena it takes place in, which handily punishes players for backing themselves into a corner.

As Sekiro is a mechanically unique game in the Soulsborne series, its combat is also largely different. Players take on the role of a ninja and, up until this point in the story, have mostly fought normal warriors. Owl sets a different bar to clear, as players must now be on the lookout for tricks that they themselves have been employing in various fights.

4) Sister Friede - Dark Souls 3


First encountered about halfway through the first DLC of Dark Souls 3, Sister Frieda seems to be a harmless figure in the otherwise hostile landscape of the painted world of Ariandel. And similar to the ending of the painted world segment in Dark Souls, Friede also asks the players to let the world be and return to their own realm.

However, if players are to continue onwards, they will eventually come face-to-face with Friede, who serves as the final boss of the DLC. It is as this fight begins, which unfortunately consists of three different phases, that players might start to think that heeding Frieda’s advice from earlier may have been a more fruitful venture.

Despite being a member of the church, Sister Frieda has no qualms about using her long scythe to dish out some immense violence at the player's character. The second fight consists of another character, Father Ariandel, joining the fight in a mad frenzy as well. However, it is the final phase, which sees Friede unleash her black flames, when things really get dicey. Sister Frieda doesn’t function at all like a Dark Souls boss, as it almost seemed like she was made for Bloodborne.

5) Orphan of Kos - Bloodborne


Speaking of Bloodborne, the final boss at the end of the Old Hunter’s DLC for this gothic Soulsborne game is the Orphan of Kos. Taking into account that this is meant to serve as the final boss of the game, players can assume that this fight will be nothing short of grueling, and they would be right.

The last-born of an Old One (Lovecraftian deific creatures), this pale lanky humanoid creature is distressed at the sight of the dead body of its mother on a beach shore and will attack anyone or anything that comes close to it. It wields its own placenta as a weapon and can close in distances with quick agile steps.

Mistakes can cost players this fight in an instant, so they must remain focused at all times. It also has a second phase, which results in the creature getting some new abilities and increased mobility. Aside from its moves, the orphan emits a shrill high-pitched cry, which does more to disturb the player than their character, to be honest.

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Edited by Atul S
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