As a latecomer to the Soulsborne series, here are the three most difficult experiences I had playing these amazing titles.
Above and Beyond
Anyone who's had any experience from the various "Soulsborne" titles would tell you that these games are incredibly difficult yet fun. Everything from the enemies to the level design is so beautifully crafted and balanced. These games demand the full attention of the player at all times.
For this short list, I'm going to tell you about my three hardest experiences from Bloodborne, Sekiro and Dark Souls 3 that made me want to bash my controller into a fine powder. Since I never completed (or really had a serious attempt at DS1 and DS2, I won't list any bosses from there.
I've ranked them here in order of difficulty from "extremely difficult" to "my deep-seated rage from this encounter made me kill my neighbours cat."
Here we go.
Laurence the First Vicar - Bloodborne
Bloodborne holds a really special place in my heart for the Soulsborne titles, and that's because it was my entry to the series. When it came out, I'd never played Dark Souls or Demon's Souls. I knew there was a following for these games, but I didn't expect to love them this much.
Right from the get-go, I knew this game was much harder than anything I'd played. As I began to find my feet for this formula of gaming, I grew increasingly excited for the boss battles.
The bosses offered amazingly unique and challenging experiences, and when you beat them (especially difficult ones), you're riding cloud nine.
However, this boss, which was only available through the DLC, was the first real controller-smashing experience I encountered. Don't get me wrong, all the bosses up to this point were hard, but I usually found that after a few attempts, I'd learned enough to overcome them.
Enter Laurence. This a-hole had me dying again and again and again. At first glance, he seems to be a clone of the Cleric Beast, who was an optional boss in the very first area of the game. Do not believe the lies he would have you believe, he is far from the Cleric Beast. Not only is his health pool the size of Jupiter, but his attacks hit harder than the meteor that destroyed the dinosaurs. Add the fact that he's on fire and you're literally burning in hell.
Once you get this piece of filth down low enough, he'll start his second phase where his legs fall off. However, this makes the fight even harder. His moveset becomes harder to read and lava is left on the ground wherever he moves, which remains there for an unreasonably long time. If you even look at the lava wrong, it will take a sizable chunk of your health bar.
When I finally beat him, I just had to take a break from Bloodborne as my eyes were bloodshot from the lack of sleep in my haste to put the beast down. Yes, Laurence was, without a doubt, the most difficult boss I faced through Bloodborne's entirety.
Genichiro Ashina - Sekiro
Genichiro, more specifically his second encounter, is without a doubt the boss that killed me the most in Sekiro.
I found Sekiro to be slightly more difficult than Bloodborne or Dark Souls III. This game did deviate from the previously established formula. Whether or not you would include this title in the Soulsborne series isn't what I'm trying to debate here, but it did lean heavily into that same unforgiving difficulty that we've come to expect from FromSoftware's titles.
You face Genichiro pretty early on, and ooh boy, he's no joke. I would say he's the first real challenge the game offers, and I think that's because of the two-phase nature of his fight. Souls players are quite familiar with multiple-phase fights, but this felt like two boss battles as once you've performed two deathblows on him, it moves into another battle with a new health bar and posture metre.
His first phase is where I learned what unadulterated hatred is. It's in this phase when you're trying to learn and figure him out that he simply just doesn't give you any time to. He's quick and closes the distance between himself and the player in a heartbeat. This makes trying to figure him out extremely frustrating. He's aggressive and what's worse is that when you fall back to heal up, he'll line you up with his bow and arrow and completely waste the health you recovered from the healing gourd. Genichiro hit me with an arrow as I was healing so many times. It made me want to destroy my PlayStation with a bat then question why I was born.
I think I attempted to beat this boss over 30 times. The only redeeming quality of this fight is that when you have had that many attempts, you do become somewhat of a master of reading what he's about to do. When I finally beat Genichiro and uploaded footage of my victory, some of my friends thought I had done so with ease.
Make no mistake, it was far from easy. It just looked easy as I had gotten to the point where I could successfully prepare my deflects and counterattacks by just watching the first couple of frames of his moves.
Even though this fight made me find God, I'd say that this idea of facing a boss so many times that you know exactly what they're going to do is what makes the Soulsborne games so fantastic.
Dark Eater Freakin' Midir - Dark Souls III
This was hands down the most difficult boss I've ever had the displeasure of facing. Dark Eater Midir made me so jaded and full of hateful rage that I could have punched a baby in the face. (Obviously I would never do that, but this boss did drive me mad.)
I faced off against this god-forsaken lilac lizard over 50 times. Now's the part where I'm supposed to list the things that made this fight so hard, but where do I start?
There is the fact that this fight is optional. This boss is completely optional in the final DLC for Dark Souls III, so why did I commit to beating it? Because I'm a foolish, prideful man that won't be beaten!
When I first stumbled upon Midir, I died several times, so I asked a friend for assistance. He joined my game and we several more times. I eventually asked if I could do it by myself as it made it easier for me to read Midir's attacks if I knew where his aggro was at all times. Yes, I found it easier to fight this scumbag without assistance.
Dark Eater Midir has no stagger, which means that you cannot create any windows for extra damage. On top of that, given his enormity, the majority of his physical attacks have such a large area of effect that they might as well be area of effect attacks. Does he hit hard? Yes, he's a freakin' dragon. Is his health pool deeper than the event horizon in a black hole? Yes, he's a freakin' dragon. He has a fire breath attack and a laser beam that could probably split tectonic plates should he so desire. Sometimes, just to mess you up, he'll do both his fire breath attack and laser beam attack in the same move.
On top of this never-ending list of delightful revelations, he has a second phase with an actual AOE attack. You have to run longer than Forrest Gump just to avoid this incredibly rude move.
If you took a Charizard and made it eat the souls of a thousand children, kill Santa Claus with it, then pump it full of horse steroids, you might have something that looks like a friendly version of Dark Eater Midir.
Midir was one of those bosses like Genichiro. I faced him so many times that when I finally beat it, I looked like I did it with ease. This could not be further from the truth, it cost me blood, sweat, tears and my sanity to get to the point I could read what attack he was going to do from the first few frames of him doing it.
And that's it! Do you agree with my list? Did you guys ever face these bosses? I'd love to hear from you. Leave me a comment or send me a message!