By Josh Davison
Tracking with the pedigree of the series, Dark Souls 3 is full of fantastic and satisfying boss fights. Today, we're narrowing down the best of them.
Dark Souls 3 closed out the series with another dive into a waning Age of Fire and a sole undead, this time called the Ashen One, deciding the fate of reality. This game more overtly and often references the lore of the original Dark Soulsthan Dark Souls 2, even going so far as to take the player back to Anor Londo.
RELATED: 6 Times Marketing Spoiled RPGs
Like both prior installments, the game prides itself on unique and varied boss encounters, and that is what we are going to be discussing here today as we count down the best boss fights from Dark Souls 3.Factors take into account include visual design, gameplay, lore significance, and, of course, difficulty. Expect spoilers for the stories of all three Dark Souls installments.
THEGAMER VIDEO OF THE DAY
10 Deacons Of The Deep
The Deacons of the Deepprovide an example of improvement on the boss design of earlier games. Dark Souls boss fights such as the Capra Demon and Gravelord Nito were criticized for only really being difficult because of the mob enemies that hassle you during the battle. Dark Souls 2 improved this somewhat with the Skeleton Lords and Executioner's Chariot (Rat King's Vanguard was just too easy). Dark Souls 3 went back to the idea with the Deacons of the Deep and the Abyss Watchers (which barely got edged out of this list) by making the mob and the boss one and the same.
The Deacons overtake the Watchers through how just unnerving they are. They seem more like an enemy out of Bloodborne than Dark Souls. They are followers of Saint Aldrich and guard his tomb. They are possessed by unearthly power, and that is the force that you must kill if you are to slay the mob of murderous deacons.
9 Iudex Gundyr
Like the Asylum Demon of Dark Souls, Iudex Gundyr gives the player a good idea of what's different about Dark Souls 3. What seems like a fairly straightforward fight against an armored humanoid enemy turns into a bizarre struggle against a slimy draconic creature that erupts from Iudex Gundyr.
It's startling, subverts expectations, and is fairly difficult to boot. Gundyr himself returns later as "Champion Gundyr," though that fight doesn't quite measure up to the surprise of fighting Iudex Gundyr.
8 High Lord Wolnir
High Lord Wolnir largely makes this list because of his visual design, his introduction, and his arena. Wolnir appears before the player after they touch a chalice hidden inside a sarcophagus. A darkness erupts and drags the player into the Abyss, where the massive skeleton of High Lord Wolnir approaches from complete blackness.
RELATED: 10 RPGs That Only Make Sense On A Second Playthrough
That said, the fight itself is fairly easy. While Wolnir has some dangerous attacks, his weakness is a set of glowing golden bracelets that break easily upon repeated strikes.
7 Yhorm The Giant
This is another fight that gets by on things other than the actual difficulty of the fight (provided you don't have the Storm Ruler and didn't befriend Siegward of Catarina) and more by the lore and aesthetics of the encounter. Yhorm himself is an intimidating warrior with brutal attacks, but his fight is easily finished with the Storm Ruler.
Yhorm and Siegward of Catarina were allies in the time before Dark Souls 3, and Siegward wants to see his old friend put out of his misery.
6 The Nameless King
The Nameless King is considered by many to be the most difficult boss of the base Dark Souls 3 story. He is an optional encounter, but he's still an exciting and compelling foe to battle. He wields the power of lightning and rides a drake known as the King of the Storm.
The fight has two phases, as the Ashen One must kill the King of the Storm before getting to the Nameless King himself. In addition to being a brutal and well-designed boss battle, it is believed by many players that the Nameless King is actually the heretofore unnamed first child of Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight.
5 Oceiros, The Consumed King
Another foe reminiscent of Bloodborne in many ways, Oceiros is a former king of Lothric who studied the writings of Big Hat Logan and Seath the Scaleless, ultimately turning himself into a deformed would-be dragon himself. He is (maybe?) blind and is looking for his son, Ocelotte. That said, it's also possible Ocelotte is by his side and just invisible (like Crossbreed Priscilla), and Oceiros can still see. Many things in Dark Souls are up to interpretation.
In any case, Oceiros is another unnerving boss encounter with a foe who gets progressively more bestial as the fight goes on. His visual design is a twisted reflection of Seath the Scaleless himself from the first Dark Souls, and the encounter is as memorable as Seath's.
4 Lothric, Younger Prince And Lorian, Elder Prince
This is another dual-boss battle, though Lothric and Lorian are more codependent than Ornstein and Smough. It's here that the Ashen One realizes that the destined prince who "refuses" to reignite the Kiln of the First Flame is actually just too sickly to do so. Regardless, the two princes put up a vicious fight to be left in peace.
The fight is quite gut-wrenching, and the player is forced into fighting these two brothers who care for one another so. In the end, the player can only kill Lothric by attacking him while he tries to revive his older brother.
3 Slave Knight Gael
Slave Knight Gael is met by the player in Ashes of Ariandel and is the actual final boss of the Dark Souls franchise. He serves as an ally in Ashes of Ariandel and The Ringed City DLCs. However, he attacks the Ashen One at the very edge of the world in the Ringed City, where Gael is possessed by the Dark Soul.
RELATED: 10 Greatest RPGs Rated M By The ESRB
Gael provides an intense and spectacular boss fight to finish out the series, andthe fact that the final boss in the saga is an unknown knight who was once a slave possessed by the very essence of humanity (depending on your interpretation) is quite poetic.
2 Soul Of Cinder
Speaking of poetic endings, the Soul of Cinder is the final boss of the main story in Dark Souls 3. It is a creature made of everyone who ever kindled the First Flame, including Lord Gwyn himself. The music even reverts to Gwyn's boss fight music by Motoi Sakuraba midway through the battle.
The Soul of Cinder has several fighting styles and has far more fight in it than Lord Gwyn did. Slaying the creature allows the player to once again decide the fate of this dying world.
1 Aldrich, Devourer Of Gods
Aldrich was once the Saint of the Deep, the Deep being a corrupting force located below where the Cathedral of the Deep now stands. Aldrich himself is a cannibal and has an army of followers who have followed suit.
Upon being revived to kindle the First Flame, he sought out Gwyndolin, son of Gwyn, and consumed him. When the Ashen One battles Aldrich, he has assumed the form and power of Gwyndolin. Needless to say, Aldrich is another grotesque and unsettling creature from the Dark Souls lore. The originality, difficulty, and lore of his boss fight is the most memorable of Dark Souls 3 and lands this monstrosity at the top of this list.
NEXT: 6 Differences Between RPGs And JRPGs