The best and worst Dark Souls bosses

Bed of Chaos

Urgh, the Bed of Chaos. As if trekking through Lost Izalith—a seemingly unfinished area with wasted potential—wasn't tiresome enough, rounding off the trip with such a tedious boss battle is not fun. Assuming you don't rely on this fight's quit/reload trick, it can take an awful long time to get right—particularly when you've taken down both roots, the floor crumbles beneath you, you're tasked with landing on that unreasonably narrow root below, and the bastard continually sweeps you away with it's unwieldy branching arms. Deep breath. I hate it. 

I love Dark Souls' tough-but-fair learning process, but for me too much of this fight relies on luck and undermines its credibility. The Witches of Izalith are among my favourite Soulsborne lore stories, which makes this boss fight all the more disappointing. —Joe Donnelly

Covetous Demon

This Jabba-the-Hutt-on-meth looking bastard is boring, slow, and again, boring. He's all limp belly flops and pathetic swipes, with the occasional roll thrown in. None of his attacks look interesting, are satisfying to dodge, and the battle plays out in a drab room that doesn't even have the atmosphere of some of Dark Souls' other weak bosses. At least Jabba had a laugh. —Wes Fenlon 

Ceaseless Discharge

I'm honestly going to make a case here for Ceaseless Discharge being one of the best Dark Souls bosses, because nothing better represents the strange, morbid humor of the series better than a boss named Ceaseless Discharge. The world is absolutely a better place thanks to its presence. Imagine living your life, never having said the words Ceaseless Discharge out loud and immediately giggling. It would be a little worse, right? Also, he's fucking horrifying looking, as any giant creature who lives in the lava lake hell of Dark Souls should. Bad fight. Great boss. —Wes Fenlon 


I named and shamed Pinwheel in our best and worst boss fights in PC gaming last month because I feel he's the most incongruous of the Souls series. Dark Souls prides itself on its challenging enemies, yet Pinwheel is not only one of the easiest boss battle in the entire series, but is easier to topple than a sizeable number of its generic baddies too. Billed as a "multi-masked necromancer", I love the idea of Pinwheel on paper—spawning copies of itself, firing projectiles at players—but in practice he's so very boring. 

His moves are easily telegraphed, his minions are more irritating than challenging, and his drops are pants. Even the Rite of Kindling pickup feels out of place here, which is honestly this fight's sole redeeming feature. Compared to his horrifying, erratic and unpredictable Bonewheel cousins, this boss is a total bore. Piss off, Pinwheel.  —Joe Donnelly 

Belfry Gargoyles, Dark Souls 2

Actually, Pinwheel, maybe I’m being a little harsh on you. Are these chumps the worst boss(es) the Soulsborne series has to offer? They’re more challenging, sure, but they’re also a copy and paste job of the first game’s Bell Gargoyles. There are more of them here, up to six gargoyles can spring to life at once, but they’re also an optional encounter which I’d suggest is best avoided as it’s repetitive and gruelling in equal measure. James once described this run-in as tiring, which I think hits the stone statue on the head. Quality over quantity, please. —Joe Donnelly 

Prowling Magus and Congregation

Simply put: Prowling Magus and Congregation should not be a boss battle. Brightstone Cove Tseldora is littered with difficult generic enemies, which makes this fight all the more unusual. It’s the weakest boss battle of Dark Souls 2, which can be collectively disposed in minutes with a combination of wide melee swings or area of effect magic. Ten or so enemies housed with a narrow church hall should not be this easy. —Joe Donnelly 

Royal Rat Authority

Thank goodness this one’s optional, because fuck this rat. Not only is the Royal Rat Authority one of the fastest bosses in Dark Souls 2, but it hits the hardest, and kicks off the match by sending a few radioactive minions your way. If you don’t go toxic in the first few seconds, then don’t worry, because the Royal Rat will be sure to puke toxic goop all over you. I tend to dislike the more monstrous bosses of Dark Souls anyway. They’re harder to track with the camera, and the Royal Rat’s sweeping attacks allow it to fly all over the arena, spinning the camera around to knock loose your lock-on, or crowd the frame when you’re close enough for a hit. Also, that’s not a rat, that’s a wolf, and Sif should not be associated with such a stinky jerk. —James Davenport

With contributions from