Top 5 Boss Battles In Bloodborne
FAIR WARNING – The following article contains potential spoilers for the awesome plot that is Bloodborne, please don’t read any further if you wish to stay unspoiled.
From Software are no strangers to the art of creating great bosses. Even since their first venture into action-RPG territory with Demon’s Souls in 2009, they’ve managed to invent adventures with bosses that hold special places in the hearts of players. Bloodborne was no different in this sense.
The Lovecraftian-Gothic epic was charged with no less than forty-three boss fights. While that seems like an extravagant number, twenty-one of that total are in fact chalice dungeon bosses. These won’t be included in this list due to many of them simply being reskins, or carbon copies of other fights. Any other fight, however, including those from the wonderful Old Hunters DLC, is fair game, and in the running.
5 / Father Gascoigne
Gascoigne is the second boss the Hunter encounters while the night is still young in Yharnam. Despite some early game bosses sometimes leaving a foul taste in the mouths of players so that the team can save the best for last, the formerly Holy Father is a buck to that trend. The fight is visceral, intense, and features possibly the best soundtrack in the entire game, so it’s easy to see why Gascoigne is on here. Not only does the game present him as an equal (you’re both Hunters, and you’re both doing what Hunters do best), but he acts like you.
Panicking is quickly punished, with only some room for error even in the early phase. He’s incredibly aggressive, utilizing both a blunderbuss, and heavy axe to force players to either fight back or die running away. At around eighty percent health, Gascoigne unleashes the full force of his own trick weapon. A near cousin of the Hunter Axe, as it transforms into a halberd, but with the ability to be wielded with a gun too. Of course, landing hits on this crazed man isn’t easy, but the game forces you to learn to parry. Large wind-up frames and telegraphed attacks make it easier to initiate a critical strike.
Then the game reminds you that getting close to bosses isn’t a good idea, as Gascoigne turns into a terrible beast himself. His final phase is intense, with attacks being thrown about left, right, and center. Pressure couldn’t be higher as trading blows with the now beastly Gascoigne is highly dangerous, and learning from the first phases is vital (because visceral attacks are the way forward). Killing Gascoigne is a rite of passage for new Bloodborne players because it’s a PvP fight with one of the most interesting characters in the game.
4 / Amygdala
The Great Ones are the ‘gods’ capable of altering the physical world, and the direct cause of the beastly scourge within the city of Yharnam. While Amygdala is an optional boss, it remains perhaps the biggest abomination in the main game. Complete with three sets of arms, a head that looks like a drilled pumice stone, and hundreds of fleshy eyes that fire inter-dimensional lasers – Amygdala is not to be sniffed at.
As you’d expect from a boss of this size, the first thing the camera does is struggle. It struggles because this eldritch horror is the size of a small factory, and this only ups the ante when she (yes, this creature has been confirmed to be female) starts to attack the Hunter. By using her size alone, she can smash players into the ground, and send them sprawling with a bat of her arm.
Since Bloodborne rewards aggression, however, running away will only delay your death if you don’t fight back. All bosses have weak spots, that’s a hard fact built into video games, and Amygdala’s head is exactly where you want to focus your firepower or the limbs for slightly smaller returns. Assuming you’re not ash before she reaches fifty percent health, then you get to enjoy her phase two.
She rips off her own arms in pure rage and begins to use even more devastating attacks to annihilate you. Cosmic energy, force waves, bitch-slaps, there’s nothing off the table at this point. It becomes frantic because half the time you’re stuck under her hind legs, trying to avoid being squashed. To watch this grotesque creature fall, however, is beyond satisfying.
3 / Gehrman, the First Hunter
As Bloodborne’s ‘final’ boss, Gehrman is a fitting challenge. An appropriate end to a journey as horrid as the one the player has walked. He’s much like Gascoigne, in the sense that they were both Hunters at some point, and you fight them. Beyond that, the comparisons end. Not only is he lightning fast, with attack combos that continue for up to four hits, he embodies what it truly means to be a Hunter. Fast, agile, brutal, and relentless. Fighting toe-to-toe with Gehrman is like facing off against yourself (if you were a boss).
Using everything you’ve learned from other fights, and countless mob enemies, it all comes to a head in this single encounter that feels more like a duel than anything else. Wielding the daunting Burial Blade, Gehrman might as well be related to the Grim Reaper at this point, because he’s certainly playing the part. In the first phase he’ll throw attack after attack at you, in an attempt to throw you off. There’s no shame in saying that they caught you out, mainly because the neck swipe is cruelly employed. The majority of his attacks come with little telegraphing, and keeping up with this old crook isn’t easy. His innate speed and ferocity only get bolstered when phase two rolls around.
He’ll start to float toward the full moon behind the field where you fight, seemingly opening himself up for punishment. Whatever you do, don’t be greedy with attacks. Taking the resulting force wave to the face without dodging can kill most players instantly. But surviving means you’re now fighting against a teleporting Hunter, with increased speed. Chipping away at Gehrman’s health isn’t easy when the target is invisible most of the time, but it can be done. This entire battle is somber and aptly captures every unique mechanic that Bloodborne has in its arsenal, with a finish that is incredibly poignant.
2 / Ludwig, the Holy Blade/Accursed
All throughout Bloodborne item descriptions, and certain weapons names, they tell of Ludwig, the first Hunter of the Healing Church. When the game first came out, many players logically assumed that the Cleric Beast was Ludwig. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Within the bowels of the Old Hunters DLC, was a beast so foul that it sat atop a mountain of blood, and gore, waiting to kill players in droves. Ludwig wasn’t as dead as players had assumed.
A gargantuan seven (and a half) limbed abhorrent creature, the Healing Church’s finest warrior is now reduced to a wailing wreck only capable of slaughter. It’s difficult to say which is more unpleasant: fighting him, or looking at him. Everything about his design is just nasty like it’s rank with disease. Trying to kill him, however, is so much worse. Not only can he swipe casually, and take half your health away, he can do that with any one of his attacks. From charging at you to leaping above to try to pancake you, his move set is horribly versatile to fight against.
The only redeeming factor of fighting Ludwig is his pitiful stagger resistance, which can be exploited by players with larger weapons to stun him temporarily. Aside from that, it’s an uphill battle to learn his moves, while not becoming red jelly. However, unlike all other bosses on this list of pain, his second phase is actually better to handle than the first. If Ludwig’s first half is his aggressive, beast mode, then phase two is the inner warrior aiming to kill you with precision.
Once the player has been graced with a cutscene showing him drawing the fabled Moonlight Greatsword, Ludwig charges straight at you. Now you’re forced to adapt to a totally different moveset, while dodging waves of emerald cosmic energy. The fight changes pace, and can easily trip up players who are tired from fighting his first phase ten times in a row. Ludwig stands, and shall continue to do so, as one of From Software’s toughest bosses to date, but that just increases the satisfaction when he’s taken down.
1 / Orphan of Kos
Even though the top two places in this rundown are from the Old Hunters DLC, they’re both well-deserved in their awards. And the Orphan of Kos, wizened child of the Great One, offers the most blood-pumping, enthralling fight in the entire game without a doubt. Not only because it’s a fitting end to a story arc that explains a ton of questions from a lore perspective, but because it’s terrifyingly fun to fight. If you encounter open space in a video game, expect an ambush, and if you see larger open space: be very, very worried.
Half the arena before you actually fight the Orphan is just the nervous walk towards the corpse of Kos, his mother. After watching him emerge from his dead mother’s body, you’re free to engage him. Which you’ll likely regret instantly. Nine times out of ten, the Orphan will open the fight by charging directly into the player. This isn’t the problem though, it’s the subsequent attacks that can spell doom.
From that charge, he’s open to abuse his moveset in a way that’s incredibly hard to punish properly. Every attack (except one) is barely telegraphed and leaves the player to either soak the hit or dodge luckily. Much like the fights with Gehrman, and Ludwig there’s no room for errors here. Taking even one hit can render you extremely weak, and reeling from the blow. The Orphan excels at panic-induction and is the most aggressive boss in the game. Even as you learn his erratic, often unsettling, attacks, he’s constantly screaming.
This is more of a psychological fight than anything else, as it plays on your ability to remain totally calm in the face of certain death. And phase two is the worst. As the Orphan reaches around fifty percent health, he’ll bite into his weapon, causing him to abruptly transform. Now complete with the ability to fly, he comes at you even harder than before, only offering mere microseconds between attacks to hit back.
Worse still is his screech. While it remains his only backstab critical punishable attack, it summons bolts of lightning directly emanating from the body of Kos on the beach. These bolts then continue to travel until they hit a wall; or the player. The Orphan is the single most fantastic, and cruel boss that the Souls/Borne series’ knows to date, and it’s only fitting that he should rest as the best boss battle in Bloodborne.