Back in 2011, the whole action RPG genre would forever be changed with the emergence of one of the most difficult (but fair) video game franchises of all time, Dark Souls. Since then, every other action RPG now wants to be a Souls-like game. The hardest Dark Souls bosses make up the bulk of the first game’s difficulty.
Dark Souls has thus become renowned for its brutal and relentless boss battles. These formidable foes have left a lasting mark on the gaming world (and a permanent crack on your screen). You can thank the top 10 hardest Dark Souls bosses for that kind of ordeal, and we’re not here to just reintroduce them; we also have some tips on how to beat them to save you from your insanity.
The Capra Demon, while not overwhelmingly difficult, is notorious for its cramped arena (as a testament to the unique level design). Modern teenagers’ rooms are bigger than this arena, and that’s not a joke.
The key to this fight lies in the first few seconds. Two ferocious dogs accompany the Capra Demon, and their immediate rush can quickly overwhelm players. Your top priority is to dispatch these dogs to level the playing field.
Once they’re out of the picture, the Capra Demon becomes more manageable. However, the confined space and three foes make this battle a threatening fight. And there’s also the shock value of getting enclosed in a small room with such a demonic creature.
Bed of Chaos
The Bed of Chaos is widely considered one of the most frustrating bosses in the Dark Souls series. It’s safe to say that a lot of players didn’t enjoy this fight because it was a cheap encounter.
This unique boss doesn’t engage in traditional combat but instead forces players to navigate a treacherous platforming sequence while dodging sweeping attacks.
To defeat the Bed of Chaos, patience and precision are key. Just dodge expertly and wait for the middle of the arena to crack. Timing your movements and attacks is crucial to conquer this infuriating adversary.
The Bell Gargoyle fight serves as a significant challenge early in the game. It’s also one of the earliest indications that the game doesn’t care about your feelings and your yearning for fair fights.
What makes this battle so daunting is the presence of two gargoyles. These foes can attack together, making it challenging to find openings for offense.
The best strategy is to focus on one gargoyle at a time, but it can be tricky when the other breathes fire or lurks nearby. You can use the triangular roof to your advantage when separating each gargoyle. Once one gargoyle is defeated, the fight becomes notably easier, but the initial two-on-one struggle is a true test of your spatial awareness.
The Four Kings, or Four Stooges, is a boss encounter that will force you to shed off all the caution you learned in the earlier boss fights and focus on the offensive.
Aggression is the key to defeating the Four Kings. The first king may appear distant at first, and the murky abyss makes it difficult to gauge your proximity to the boss. As time passes, more kings will spawn, making it a race against the clock.
The quicker you can deal damage to the first king, the easier this fight becomes. Without knowledge of this mechanic, the battle can be particularly difficult.
The Sanctuary Guardian is the first boss in the Artorias of the Abyss DLC and it sets the tone for what lies ahead. This mythical beast combines speed, agility, and aerial attacks.
The challenge here stems from its flying ability, allowing it to rain lightning down upon you. When the guardian lands, it launches rapid claw strikes. This is your opportunity to move in for the attack. However, the Sanctuary Guardian leaves openings during its attacks, making it a manageable adversary compared to others.
Overall, it’s a standard affair as far as Dark Souls boss fights go. Don’t get too greedy with the attacks, and learn to dodge properly.
Artorias of the Abyss
Artorias, a corrupted knight, serves as a fan-favorite boss. This tragic boss is as formidable as he looks, even in his weakened state. His erratic attack patterns make it challenging to predict his moves and respond without taking damage.
Artorias can seamlessly chain his attacks, making it difficult to counter him effectively. To make things more challenging, he buffs himself during the fight, increasing his damage output. Healing is nearly impossible in this intense battle, where speed and aggression are your allies.
If you want a rather easy fight, just be aware that Artorias is highly susceptible to interruption or stagger. The good old Zweihander can make quick work of him.
Gwyn, Lord of Cinder
This boss is a piece of cake if your playstyle involves parrying. However, Gwyn, Lord of Cinder, can be a formidable adversary if you haven’t mastered the art of parrying.
In close-quarters combat, Gwyn’s fiery sword and relentless aggression can be deadly. His unrelenting pursuit and deceptive range make this fight a tough one. For those who appreciate a musical backdrop to their battles, Gwyn’s somber and poignant theme adds to the gravity of this confrontation.
The most obvious way of defeating him remains parrying, but if that’s not an option, then you can use the pillars and the large rocks in the boss arena to evade his attacks while slowly whittling down his health with careful counterattacks.
Black Dragon Kalameet
Finally, a proper dragon fight in Dark Souls. Black Dragon Kalameet is the secret boss of the Artorias of the Abyss DLC and stands as one of the most formidable foes in the game. More importantly, he’s one of the few intact dragons you get to fight.
Engaging Kalameet at close range is imperative to avoid his devastating fire breath. While Kalameet can unleash an area-of-effect attack, it is clearly telegraphed, allowing you to evade it. His ferociousness, high damage output, and ability to fly make this battle a true test of grit and determination. Expect to die a few times before getting into the rhythm.
Ornstein & Smough
Speaking of dying several times, Ornstein and Smough represent one of the most iconic and challenging boss duos in gaming. You should now be used to unfair duo fights after that struggle with the Bell Gargoyle. But this time, it’s different. Fatboy and Slim here will have you pulling your hair out as they complement each other.
Ornstein’s agility and speed, combined with Smough’s lumbering but powerful attacks, create a formidable duo. Defeating one of them is easier, but the surviving boss inherits the powers of the fallen, becoming a deadly combination of speed and strength. You can use the pillars to your advantage and to put some distance between them or to separate them.
The choice here for ease is obvious. Kill Ornstein first since Smough is slower and easier to dodge. However, you won’t get Ornstein’s regal and cool armor this way, so it’s up to you where your priorities lie.
Manus, Father of the Abyss
As the final boss of the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, Manus presents a brutal challenge. His erratic and fast attack patterns make reading his moves a formidable task. Dodging is crucial, as Manus delivers a relentless onslaught of dark magic and physical attacks. Don’t expect to tank his hits with a shield; sooner or later, you’ll run out of stamina.
Finding opportunities to strike is possible due to his size, but you must be ready to defend immediately afterward, meaning a slow weapon is going to make this fight harder than it should. You can use the item that grants you a shield against this darkness attack, but frankly, you’ll still have to endure this fight and all of its nonsense.