No matter how much the medium of video games grows and changes, our obsession with boss fights will never end. These set piece battles serve not only as important points in stories, but also put all the skills we’ve garnered up until that point to the test, and there’s nothing quite like a fight that does that properly. Sometimes, however, boss battles can be a bit too demanding, to the point where you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall, and the very concept of progress begins seeming like a distant and impossible dream. This is a feature about a few such boss fights.


ultra necrozma

A general and ever-increasing lack of challenge has been one of the biggest issues with the mainline Pokemon series for some time now, but credit where credit is due- Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon actually had some pretty tough fights. In fact, the fight against Ultra Necrozma is probably one of the toughest fights ever in a Pokemon game. Boosted stats, a sudden jump in its level, a moveset that can do devastating damage, and more ensure that even with the best party composition, you’ll struggle in the fight against Ultra Necrozma.



Nioh 2 is full of challenging boss encounters, so when we say the fight against this massive owl is probably the toughest fight in the entire game, you know we aren’t saying it lightly. Summoning ghosts, throwing barrages of projectiles, unleashing high damage aerial attacks, Tatarimokke does it all. Unless you’re constantly ready to react to everything it does at a moment’s notice, this boss is pretty much impossible to beat.



Gears 5 doesn’t have an awful lot of boss fights, and the few that it does have aren’t terrible challenging- all except one, that is. The fight against the Matriarch at the end of Act 2 is something else. The glowing weak point on its back is the only place where it can take damage, and the fact that she keeps moving around and is deceptively quick makes that quite tricky. She can also deal heavy damage with even a single hit (especially on harder difficulties), which means constantly staying on the move and out of her reach is key in this fight.



Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is full of bosses (and even lower level grunts) that demand extremely quick reflexes, but it’s hard to think of many fights in the entire game that need you to be as sharp as the one against Genichiro Ashina does. He’s incredible quick, has multiple weapons, can do elemental damage, and all of that is compounded by the fact that this is a long fight with multiple stages. A single mistake can be fatal, and trust us- those mistakes are very easy to mistake.



If you’re looking for actual, grueling challenge in God of War, the optional boss fights against the Valkyries is what you need to seek out. Appropriately enough, the fight against the Valkyrie Queen, Sigrun, is the most difficult of the lot. From blocking and dodging and parrying to having the perfect build and knowing exactly when to switch between your weapons and so much more, this fight needs you to be sharp every second of the way.


defiled amygdala

We could have gone with any number of boss fights in Bloodborne for a list such as this one (hell, I’m sure many players rage quite after the very first boss fight itself), but the one against Defiled Amygdala still definitely comes out on top. For many players, this isn’t even challenging- it’s just downright frustrating. Vicious attacks that can kill you in one hit, multiple stages, each harder than the last, and a vast pool of health are only the least of your worries in this encounter.


Again, Cuphead is brimming with challenging boss fights that can often seem like insurmountable roadblocks, but King Dice is easily the most formidable of them all. Right after you’ve gone through a gauntlet of bosses, Cuphead hits you with this guy- and what makes it even more exhausting is just how much of the fight relies on that deadly combination of dumb luck and seemingly impossible reflexes.


the radiance

While there are scores of boss battles in Hollow Knight that will test your mettle like very few other games do, the fight against The Radiance almost veers into the territory of being downright unfair. With attacks that leave little more than a split second to react to, multiple phases that prolong the fight’s duration, and a propensity to mix up a varied moveset in very unpredictable fashion, The Radiance is easily the toughest boss in a game full of tough bosses.



The fight against Okumura wasn’t awfully difficult in the vanilla Persona 5, but Persona 5 Royal makes several changes to it – none of them for the better – that turn it into a frustrating, horribly designed encounter, and one of the few low points of the game. Getting past the waves of enemies he sends your way initially can be tough enough, seeing as it requirements for beating them exactly the way the game wants you to can be so arbitrary, but then you have to fight Okumura himself. All of this has to be done in an allotted time limit, which isn’t made easier by the fact that the boss fight is specifically designed to waste your time.


cave story

What’s more challenging that an incredibly challenging boss fight? Three incredibly challenging boss fights in a row. That’s exactly what Cave Story + throws at you right at the end. In fact, it’s technically four bosses in a row, since one of them has two forms. Each if gruelingly tough, and the fact that the game gives you no checkpoints between them makes the entire ordeal that much more frustrating.


empowered scholar

The fight against the Empowered Scholar in Borderlands 3’s Guns, Love, and Tentacles DLC cherry picks all the worst things you can hope for in a boss fight, and combines them in a single package. A massive health pool, stupid platforming sections, regenerating health for the boss, phases where the boss is immune to most damage- and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This is easily one of the worst boss fights ever in the Borderlands series.



There’s a lot going on in this boss fight that makes it one of the harder fights in the Souls series (which is really saying something). For starters, cutting off Kalameet’s tail is a real pain, but the fight against the boss itself is no cakewalk either. You need to do a lot of blocking and dodging, and doing so in a way that doesn’t drain your stamina too quickly or at an inopportune moment is difficult enough. Add to that the fact that Kalameet has quite a few attacks that can deal devastating damage, and what you have is a recipe for an encounter that will require many dozens of attempts for you to be successful- at least on your first playthrough.


tanks ninja gaiden

Ninja Gaiden: Black, true to the series that it belongs to, is quite a challenging game, but there are times when it can be almost unfair. This boss fight, which sees you going up against two tanks at the same time, is surely one such instance. Sure, there are ways to cheese your way through the fight to make it much easier, but if you want to engage with the game the way it wants you to and have a proper fight, this encounter can be incredibly frustrating.