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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Editorial: The Top 10 Worst Souls-Series Bosses, Part 2.

Editorial: The Top 10 Worst Souls-Series Bosses, 
Part 2, 5-1.

Last week, we took a fair look at some of the worst bosses in From Software's boss-rich Souls games. Well, with another week having passed, it's now time to look at the bosses that were even worse than that.

Once again, any Souls game boss is eligible for this, so that's any boss from Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Dark Souls II, Bloodborne, and Dark Souls III.

5. Living Failures, Bloodborne.

I'm often not a fan of bosses that gang up on you, and the Living Failures are one of the best examples of that. Consisting of a gang of unintimidating, glowy, blobby things that look a little like cut-price Celestial Emissaries, the bosses share a health bar, and will slowly accrue numbers until there are five of them.

But boy, what happens when there's five of them? Do they merge into a more powerful form? Do they change up their behaviour? Well, they have a super-attack that will drain most or all of your health and can be avoided by running counter clockwise. That's it. Just run counter clockwise and none of their cool, flashy meteors will hit you, because they're coming down at an angle and you'll consistently be skimming under them.

Once you learn that, these slow, ponderous bosses are kind of absurdly easy. They have very little lore behind them, either, and rather than being a true area boss, they're instead almost just a precursor to the boss that lies just beyond them - Maria of the Astral Clocktower - and feel more like they're there to make up the numbers than anything else.

4. Demon Firesage, Dark Souls.

Re-using bosses is fine, within reason. Generally, you should try to put a new twist on them, and generally, that twist should be a little more interesting than 'now they're on fire.' From Software, why do you keep doing this? Why do you keep reusing bosses and just setting them on fire instead of innovating?

Much like Laurence, the Demon Firesage is the very first boss you faced (the Asylum Demon) only on fire - except, to make this worse, it's actually the third iteration of this boss, since you'll also fight the Stray Demon, who is identical to the Asylum Demon apart from having an explosion attack.

Reusing a boss three times is pretty shockingly lazy, and unlike Laurence, he doesn't even have a second phase where his strategy changes at all - you just fight him with exactly the same strategy as the Stray Demon and Asylum Demon.

3. Royal Rat Vanguard, Dark Souls II.

I've mentioned before that I'm often not keen on group bosses, right?

Well, the Royal Rat Vanguard is the worst example of a group boss, an endlessly respawning supply of rats, with no indication that you're facing a boss until you've killed ten of them - at which point, a boss rat will be spawned.

How will you know which one is the boss? You won't. It could be any of them. Apparently it has a small mohawk, but in a dark room, finding one mohawk'd rat is nearly impossible.

To make things more irritating, the boss rat can poison you in a single hit, while the other rats can hit you with bleed, meaning that you'll find your health running down very quickly.

He has no story relevance, by the way. He's just a big rat.

2. Bed of Chaos, Dark Souls.

You know what's a thing that Souls games don't do well? Platforming. Jumping over small gaps while avoiding flailing, moving objects.

Most of the bosses on this list are here because they're irrelevant, unimaginative, and boring, but the Bed of Chaos is here because it seems to have been created solely for the purpose of making players deeply frustrated - and not in the wholesome, classic Souls-series way, in the unfair, throw your controller down in frustration way.

It basically comes down to blind luck if you'll manage to defeat this boss or if it'll knock you into a pit with its flailing appendages. The worst thing is that while a lot of these bosses aren't lore-relevant, the Bed of Chaos really is, being the monster resulting from the Witch of Izalith's attempt to recreate the First Flame.

As the keeper of a Lord Soul, you're kind of led to expect that the battle will be big and dramatic, not you battling with uneven terrain and shoddy platforming mechanics.

1. Micolash, Host of the Nightmare, Bloodborne.

Micolash is another frustrating boss, but for an entirely different reason than the Bed of Chaos.

While the Bed of Chaos is an exercise in jumping about and hoping blind luck will see you safe, Micolash is an exercise in chasing a man with a cage on his head around a maze like you've stepped into a demented Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Micolash will nearly never fight you, and when he does he's, in all honesty, about as weak as you'd expect a university student with a cage on his head to be, and will instead flee through the hallways of the Nightmare of Mensis, occasionally raising a few very slow and very weak skeletons to minorly inconvenience you.

The actual way to beat him, which involves running down a few particular same-y hallways in a specific order so that you can both get him to trap himself in a room and then drop down on him from above, is so absurd and difficult to figure out for yourself (as the entire place is mazelike and barren of distinguishing landmarks) that you basically have to rely on  chasing him about until you manage to accidentally hit on the solution.

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