You’re not alone if you think Bloodborne represents the absolute best of the Souls-like genre. With its incredible gothic horror atmosphere, and even more impressive gothic horror story, refined mechanics, and wonderful visuals, Bloodborne is considered by many to be From Software’s masterpiece.
Nowhere is Bloodborne‘s place near the top of this genre more evident than in the game’s boss fights. With all due respect to Dark Souls‘ incredible bosses, Bloodborne‘s collection of deadliest foes features such a stunning array of gameplay, design, and narrative concepts that few games (in or out of this genre) can possibly compete with the experience’s most memorable bosses.
Which bosses are best, though? That’s a tough question that we try to answer by considering the visual design of the boss, the quality of the fight against them, their role in the game’s story, and the overall impression they leave on you after they’ve finally been defeated. In the case of Bloodborne, we also skipped a few Chalice Dungeon bosses that are repeats of earlier fights and meshed a few similar Chalice Dungeon boss variants together.
With that said, here are the best and worst Bloodborne bosses.
37. Maneater Boar
This is certainly an example of Bloodborne boss design at its worst.
As a repeat of an enemy encounter in the main game, this Chalice Dungeon boss fails to make the regular variant of this foe any more intimidating. The Maneater Boar is visually amusing, but he’s certainly a filler boss.
Briansucker offers about the same experience as the Maneater Boar but scores a few more points due to the fact it’s actually somewhat challenging.
Still, this is the pretty much the same enemy that you encounter during the main game but with more health. “Boo,” we say. Boo.
35. Loran Silverbeast
As another variant of an existing enemy, the Loran Silverbeast only sneaks ahead of the Maneater Boar and Brainsucker by being slightly more challenging and visually interesting.
Still, this boss fight mostly requires you to utilize fire attacks and avoid some simple counters. Fights like this one sometimes make the Chalice Dungeons feel more tedious than they need to.
34. Undead Giant
There are variants on this boss fight that are actually quite challenging (the ball and chain variant being the most notable), but they’re all united by how dull they tend to be.
You’ve fought giants in these games before, and sadly, these bosses offer little variation on that formula.
33. Beast Possessed Soul
You can technically encounter this enemy during the main game, but he’s tucked away enough to ensure that some players will first see him during the Chalice Dungeon runs.
Either way, he’s a disappointment. While this boss certainly looks the part and can offer a challenge, this is just a generic overall encounter that fails to be truly memorable.
32. Merciless Watchers
Honestly, the best thing this boss fight has going for it is how challenging it can be.
Taking on these three foes offers a fairly noteworthy early challenge in the Chalice Dungeons. They’re kind of a teaser of what is to come in that respect. While they perform that job admirably, we of course now know the game is capable of much more.
31. Loran Darkbeast
Loran Darkbeast almost didn’t make the list at all due to the fact he’s a very minor variation on an existing boss, but for the sake of argument, he’s just different enough to qualify.
In his defense, Loran Darkbeast is much more challenging than the normal version of this boss. In our defense, his low ranking has to do with the fact that he’s not different or challenging enough to fully justify his return appearance.
30. Pthumerian Elder
Thematically, this fight is kind of interesting. The idea of battling an aging warrior is a neat way to incorporate storytelling into a boss battle.
Still, this battle falls apart when it comes to the fight itself. The Elder is just too slow and too predictable to put up much of a fight. He does the job, but you have to believe this fight could have been more.
29. The One Reborn
The first non-Chalice Bloodborne boss fight on this list is one I’ve heard described by some fans as the absolute worst fight in any of these games. However, I feel that assessment is a bit too harsh given the fight’s blood moon setting and the intimidating design of The One.
Still, it’s easy to understand that sentiment given how formulaic and simple this boss is. You just need to take out the casters that surround The One and then go to work on the boss itself. Not every boss fight needs to be an epic, but the setup for this one suggests something greater than you ultimately get.
28. Blood-Starved Beast
While the Blood-Starved Beast follows the old “fast-moving beast that you’ve got to roll in and out of for precious hits” school of boss design pretty faithfully, the Beast’s particular set of quick attacks is actually fairly vicious and his “Skinned Hound of Hell” character design is pretty great as well.
Still, this is ultimately a pretty standard fight that loses some points for feeling like a step down from the game’s previous early boss encounters. Blood-Starved Beast just doesn’t ask anything of its challengers.
27. Keeper of the Old Lords
It might be one of the weaker hunter vs. hunter fights in Bloodborne, but this Chalice Dungeon boss is fairly interesting.
Keeper of the Old Lords offers quite the challenge due to the variety of attacks at his disposal. While much of the appeal of this fight is tied into how tough it can be, Keeper of the Old Lords is a good roadblock in a game that needs them.
26. Moon Presence
Life isn’t fair if you’re Bloodborne’s secret final boss, Moon Presence. While you are supposed to be the badass, tough as nails secret boss to a badass, tough as nails awesome game, your presence is greatly diminished by the fact that you have to follow one of the greatest fights in franchise history.
Moon Presence is certainly tough enough to be worthy of being a secret final boss, but in comparison to the regular final boss in the game, this creature just does not measure up on a creative or emotional level. Even taken on its own, there really isn’t much to this particular fight beyond its cool setting and punishing difficulty.
25. Celestial Emissary
Well, I have to give Celestial Emissary credit for playing with expectations. What initially appears to be a sequel of sorts to the Royal Rat Vanguard quickly turns on you, as one of your prey grows tremendously in size and begins to wail on you for your hubris.
Aside from that amusement, this fight certainly isn’t in the same league as the true heavy hitters of these games. It deserves some credit for being entertaining and fairly balanced, but aside from its humorous callback, Celestial Emissary just doesn’t measure up.
24. Pthumerian Descendant
Thematically this is an interesting play on the earlier Pthmureian Elder encounter. Essentially, the Descendant fights like the Elder might have in his younger and brasher days.
This fight is also quite challenging as the Descendant is an incredibly aggressive foe. While the contrast between the two characters is the highlight of this encounter, Descendant offers a good overall fight.
23. Forgotten Madman
While this comes close to abusing the inherent appeal of hunter vs. hunter fights, the battle against Forgotten Madman is actually quite enjoyable.
Well, it’s at least enjoyable in the sense that it’s tough. What starts as a fight against a capable and versatile hunter soon transforms into a fight against two capable and versatile hunters. It’s honestly the challenge of this fight that makes it so memorable.
22. Laurence, the First Vicar
You know, if you’re going to be a flaming hell-beast in this universe, you need something that immediately identifies you from everyone else. In this regard, I will say that the image of Laurence chilling without a worry in a cathedral throne as you approach him certainly goes a long way towards making him memorable.
Aside from that, the fight itself is a fairly standard affair. Laurence puts up a good fight, and his giant arm can easily take down unsuspecting adventurers, but otherwise is a good fit for this “good, not great” tier you are currently enjoying.
21. Cleric Beast
First boss duties in these games is a tough gig to draw. You’ve got to somehow manage to present a formidable challenge to the player that will properly introduce them to what is coming without completely crushing their spirits.
In that regard, Cleric Beast does a fantastic job. While he’s not nearly as tough as the later Bloodborne bosses, he is a noticeable step up in challenge from everything that has come before in the game. Cleric Beast does a great job of forcing you to the top of your game early on and serves as a great challenge that doesn’t frustrate.
20. Headless Bloodletting Beast
This absolutely massive boss comes in two forms (Headed and Headless), but we’re going with the Headless variant for this list because he’s more interesting and because “Headed” is a dumb word.
This massive boss makes the most of his size by utilizing his wide reach and incredible power. Defeating him not only requires you to be patient but consider the advantages of multiple approaches based on your loadout.
19. Martyr Logarius
The only word that can describe Martyr Logarius from a physical standpoint is haunting. It’s appropriate that a crown rests upon his ghoulish head, as this fading sorcerer looks like he may very well be the king of nightmares.
Sometimes, this series can struggle with magic-based bosses, but that is not the case here. The magical scythe that Logarius wields is capable of not only a variety of punishing spells but can absolutely destroy those that wander too close to it for a melee fight. Martyr Logarius proves to be one incredibly difficult boss that still manages to occupy the nightmares of Bloodborne players long after he has been knocked off his rooftop perch.
18. Ludwig the Accursed/Holy Blade
Had Ludwig just been the boss he is in the first stage of this fight, he honestly wouldn’t be that memorable. Ludwig the Accursed is just another beast hungry for your death and feels no shame in using a variety of quick attacks in order to taste it.
Ludwig the Holy Blade, however, is a phenomenal encounter. The use of Ludwig’s famed glowing sword lends a level of epicness to this fight that few others enjoy. The reveal of the sword itself is incredible and the accompanying changes in the music and fight dynamics make the second phase of this encounter simply amazing.
17. The Witch of Hemwick
In any other game, a hunchback old-woman is more likely to be a victim than a boss. Of course, as you’re probably well aware by now, these are not any other games.
This fight is based around the Witch of Hemwick’s ability to disappear and remain invisible. She only provides brief glimpses of herself that you must be on the lookout for if you wish to deal direct damage. The mechanic makes the boss more notable than your standard battle.
16. Abhorrent Beast
As the “final form” of the Suspicious Beggar NPC found in the main game, it’s actually possible to encounter the Abhorrent Beast outside of the Chalice Dungeon. However, it’s his appearance in the Chalice Dungeon that earns him a place on this list.
Not only is the idea of a beast disguised as a beggar in this world kind of interesting, but the Abhorrent Beast offers a truly challenging battle that will challenge the best of players. He’s fast, he’s strong, and he’s incredibly aggressive.
15. Orphan of Kos
The entrance of the final boss in Bloodborne’s Old Hunters DLC certainly does not fail to make a statement, as he slithers from a dead womb and immediately sets upon you with a ferociousness that few other enemies come close to possessing.
While the mechanics of this fight are nothing too incredible, the skill of the Orphan of Kos, combined with its twisted and cruel design, makes this creature a suitable conclusion to Bloodborne’s truly exceptional DLC release.
14. Mergo’s Wet Nurse
When you first meet Mergo’s Wet Nurse and watch in awe as she descends upon you with her four arms wielding four scythes, all moving at blazing speeds, you’re probably thinking that you’re pretty screwed. You are right.
Wet Nurse is not an impossible boss by any means, but her ability to punish players for any mistake with her quick, sweeping attacks makes this one of those fights that demand absolute perfection. It’s an incredibly rewarding battle against a pretty cool boss.
13. Watchdog of The Old Lords
As a giant lizard dog that seems to be eternally on fire, Watchdog of the Old Lords will always hold a special place in our dog-loving hearts.
Canine associations aside, this boss is a true nightmare in the best way possible. His fire attacks are truly dangerous and his size allows him to quickly cover much of the small arena he guards. This is certainly one of the more memorable Chalice Dungeon bosses.
12. Vicar Amelia
Ever game in this franchise has that first hurdle boss. They’re the bosses that deliberately halt your progress and force you to up your game if you’re going to clear them. Vicar Amelia is Bloodborne’s hurdle boss.
Vicar isn’t especially difficult, but she does require a level of patience that the rest of the bosses in the usually very fast-paced Bloodborne do not. Her “back off now” attack style and high health pool means that beating her requires a far greater time investment than most enemies ask for.
11. Living Failures
I’m not saying that the Living Failures are aliens, but I’m also not going to say they aren’t aliens. What I’m saying is that they are most certainly aliens, but probably not aliens.
If you think that’s confusing, try beating these monsters. This is an example of a mob boss battle done right, as the Living Failures use their numbers and magic advantage to overwhelm unprepared players fairly quickly. This fight doesn’t hold back on making you feel truly outnumbered, and I’ve always loved it for that.
10. Rom, the Vacuous Spider
Should some horrible fate befall me in the near future, I would just like to take this opportunity to let everyone know how much I hate Rom the Vacuous Spider. Rom is a particularly annoying boss that’s also kind of great. The setup to this fight is amazing, as it requires you to take a leap of faith in the realm of Rom. The battle itself is a doozy, as Rom’s spider minions constantly frustrate you in your attempts to hit their master between area attacks. It’s a pretty great fight.
9. Micolash, Host of the Nightmare
Why does Micolash wear a birdcage on his head? Why don’t you wear one on your head? Because you’re not the Host of Nightmares, that’s why.
Much of this fight actually consists of pursuing Micolash down a series of corridors and stairs where enemies await. Only by cornering him are you allowed to do damage directly. This element of chase lends real scope to the battle and helps to immediately set this fight apart as something great.
8. Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos
I think the easiest way to describe the look of Ebrietas is as a cosmic, mermaid, demon worm. I also think that’s the most difficult way to describe her.
This unique boss manages to frustrate players with her bizarre limb structure that can dole out attacks from nearly any position. Nearly everything that makes Ebrieta unique visually speaking is used as an attack in some way, making her one of the more notable cases of an enemy’s design being maximized to benefit the fight itself.
7. Darkbeast Paarl
Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, it is quite easy for players to encounter Darkbeast Paarl early on in the game. Attempting to fight this beast at that point will inform players fairly quickly that they’ve made a terrible mistake.
Darkbeast Paarl is one of the more difficult and capable bosses in the game, due largely to its incredibly strong area attacks and a fondness for backing away whenever you are close to getting a hit. The “easiest” method of defeating this boss requires serious melee skills, and even at later levels, it puts up one hell of a fight.
6. Yharnam, Pthumerian Queen
Given how difficult the Chalice Dungeons can be, it should be no surprise that the boss is also something of a challenge. Still, FromSoftware could not have designed a more appropriate Chalice boss. From the crying baby sounds in the background to the demonic bride look of the boss, this is an inherently unsettling fight that gets under your skin well before Yharnam uses various blood magic to frustrate even the most capable of players.
5. Shadow of Yharnam
Shadow of Yharnam is a fantastic take on how to do a multiple character boss fight. Rather than having the foes merely complement each other with different abilities – though there is some of that going on here – this fight ups the difficulty of the individual bosses the more damage you do to the collective group. It forces the player to not only play at their best but discover the best way to avoid the nasty later stages of this fight.
Isn’t it great to have a Bloodborne boss that’s a throwback to the days when a boss could take up half of the screen? While this is actually a fairly straightforward fight, the sheer size of the boss relative to the player, as well as its spider-like build, give it a throwback quality that complements the already challenging nature of the encounter. Also, the fact those many limbs can come from seemingly anywhere to ruin your day tends to haunt players.
3. Father Gascoigne
Father Gascoigne has a great name, he has a great look, he fights in a cool environment, he has interesting attacks, he requires skill but isn’t cheap, and he has a unique mechanic that only the most discerning of players will be able to exploit. His story is fascinating, and in his second phase, he turns into a wolf creature with a method of attack that is completely different from what came before. Father Gascoigne is just about everything you want in a boss fight.
2. Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower
Within the peak of a clock tower sits Lady Maria upon a simple chair that may be her sad throne. Behind her is the face of the clock and all around are the soft ringing of the bells. As your character approaches her motionless body and reaches out, Maria grabs your arm and informs you that “A corpse…should be left well alone.”
Incredible music, a chilling atmosphere, a fantastic set-up, and a great move set that can only be beaten if you are operating at your very best makes Lady Maria impossible to forget much less leave alone This is simply one of the most beautiful fights in the entirety of the game.
1. Gehrman, the First Hunter
You don’t engage in sword duels or one-on-one duels in these games traditionally speaking. Every boss is ultimately a pre-programmed series of attacks designed to attack you in a pattern until one of you are dead. The best bosses, though, have a way of making you forget this by conveying a feeling that you are engaging in a classic showdown just like the finale of a great samurai film.
Gehrman is perhaps the best at conveying that feeling. This fast and aggressive boss is your equal in style and your better in skill. Among a field of white flowers, you shed each other’s blood – mostly yours – in an ongoing duel that will push you to your limits, by forcing you to face what is essentially a better version of yourself.
Gehrman doesn’t technically have to be the final boss in the game, but it’s impossible to think of a more appropriate climatic encounter than this one.