In my anticipation of Dark Souls II, I made a list detailing the top 5 bosses in the Souls franchise. It is quite predictable then, that I’d make a top list for the newly released game. While many bosses in Dark Souls II are fantastic, I could only justify three for such a list. To make the cut, they really had to have something that made them unforgettable.
Without further ado, I present my three favourite boss fights in Dark Souls II.
Lost Sinner, much like Artorias, is a very straight-forward boss in design. Even despite this, she still manages to transcend a lot of the other bosses. Lost Sinner is simply a warrior who has punished herself for past sins. Like Artorias, her attack patterns are what you’d expect out of a straight up brawler, and she manages to make the duel one of the most intense and heart-pounding fights in the game. She is unrelenting in her attacks because she’s either swinging her gigantic sword at you, recovering from an attack or preparing to use sneaky tactics and surprise you from behind.
The pace is like a shot of adrenaline, as the entirety of the fight has you so occupied with her merciless nature that you can hardly fit in time to heal. It also doesn’t help that she blows out all of the fire before the fight begins, so you also have to attempt to keep track of her movements. It’s very easy to lose track of where she is, and it makes the anxiety all the worse.
The Pursuer is a unique boss in that he not only appears multiple times, but actively stalks you throughout your quest. The first time you see him, he catches you off guard and swiftly dispatches you, reminding the player that they can never feel relaxed in the world of Drangleic. He evokes a sense of paranoia as you progress through the game, and often makes you wonder when he’ll make another appearance.
What’s more, his attack animations are some of the most graceful and polished in the franchise. Every attack he does feels like a dance, and the fact that he hovers above the ground solidifies the idea. Precise timing and near-flawless execution are required, as one single hit can shave off half of your health, leaving you only few precious seconds to drink Estus. He is persistent, ruthless, and intimidating, and he is absolutely unforgettable.
Demon Of Song
Demon of Song is, in my opinion, the most unique boss Dark Souls II has to offer. With the departure of Miyazaki, some of the subtle things that made Demon and Dark Souls so great are gone. Demon of Song, however, feels like Miyazaki himself pulled the entire fight from his imagination.
Demon of Song has the most bizarre and creative boss design in the game, and its vulgar and grotesque nature is even more enforced by an absolutely perfect theme. The track uses low chants, deep piano key strokes and brass instruments to add depth. The most brilliant aspect of this track however, is the low guttural sounds and a variety of dissonant noises that feel as if the frog, or the creature residing within is making them.
Beyond this, his attacks are very avoidable and with the exception of his ground smash, you can predict most of his move-set. That said, pattern memorization and risk taking are still the keys to success here. The fight itself is not entirely challenging, but that might be because the walk to him is utterly infuriating. It’s a nice balance that is very reminiscent of Sen’s Fortress.
Honourable Mentions: Throne Watcher & Defender, Ruin Sentinels, Skeleton Lords, Executioner’s Chariot.