Boss battles are what you remember the most about the Dark Souls games; huge, tense & often infuriating battles that require strategy, planning & a willingness to change your approach if something isn’t working.
The first game had some amazing battles & you can ready my personal favourite top 10 boss battles from that game here.
There are bosses a-plenty in Dark Souls II, a few less inspired than what we got in the first game. These are my personal top 10, the ones that stood out for the way in which they attacked, how they looked & the strategy needed to beat them.
10 – Mytha, the Baneful Queen
One of the most difficult boss battles in the game because of the poison pit you fight her in. The poison will chip away at your health quickly & her attacks can be devastating if you’re not careful.
The trick is to set fire to the windmill as you climb the Earthen Peak, this drains most of poison in the area as well as from the boss room making it a much easier battle.
9 – The Lost Sinner
I was working my way through Dark Souls II, making it through area after area without massive amounts of difficulty. The few bosses I had already faced dying with relative ease…I was confident, a big mistake in Dark Souls.
The Lost Sinner destroyed me in a matter of seconds being primarily melee based with a powerful great-sword at her disposal. A strong shield & good dodging skills are needed in this battle as her attacks are big but slow. To make it easier get hold of the key that unlocks the doors above her chamber & use a lit torch to ignite the oil. This will light up the boss chamber ensuring the Lost Sinner can’t disappear into the gloom.
8 – The Executioner’s Chariot
I really liked this boss battle mainly because of the first section. The chariot is pulled by a huge 2-headed horse; you have to make your way along a circular corridor as it races past you. Your only defence is small cubby holes to hide in as it passes you by although you’ll have to also contend with skeletons & mages along the way.
Once you make it to the end of the room & pull the lever the real fight begins as the Chariot is brought to a screeching halt & the horse turns its attention to you. The horse has very powerful attacks but most can be easily dodged. Staying on your toes here is important as blocking is next to useless.
7 – The Skeleton Lords
These guys are very intimidating because there are 3 of them. 2 melee based & 1 who deals in pyromancy but to make things worse killing one will see smaller skeletons spawn. In particular killing the pyromancy lord will see pinwheel skeletons spawn in making this battle much tougher (Dark Souls players will have had nightmares over pinwheel skeletons).
Speed & good use of stamina is key here & the lords can fall very easily to high level attacks & defence.
6 – King Vendrick
The King is actually an optional boss that you don’t even have to fight unless you want too. You do need to enter his chamber at the bottom of the Undead Crypt to get the Kings Ring but he will just be wandering around in the room not paying you the slightest bit of attention.
It’s only once you attack him that he will fight & this is where things get interesting. His defence is super high & he has huge sweeping attacks that, while slow, will drain your stamina quickly if using a shield.
The trick to dishing out any real damage to him is to first collect Souls of a Giant that are hidden throughout the game. Each one of these will multiply your attack for this fight with at least 3 in possession recommended (although there are 5 in total).
5 –The Old Iron King
Probably the most impressive & intimidating boss in the entire game. This huge devil like boss rises out of the lava & strides towards the tiny platform you stand on. At first it seems like an impossible boss with heavy fire attacks, a laser blast that can knock you into the lava & heavy slams with his fists.
However once you know how this is actually one of the easiest battles in the game. Go through the fog gate & move to your right around the corner of the broken building by the next fog gate. Most of the Old Iron King’s attacks can’t hit you here, everything except his laser blast which can be dodged by rolling out of the way at the last second.
4 – The Duke’s Dear Freja
Do you suffer from arachnophobia? The journey to Freja is an arduous one as you fight through waves of spiders. Emerging in a pit filled with huge webs everywhere, at the bottom awaits this unique boss. Freja is a giant spider with only 2 weak points, her heads.
A head at each end & attacking her involves timing, great defence & plenty of stamina to dodge often. She has a number of attacks & all can be devastating but very easy to see coming. Watching her carefully is the only way to get through this battle in one piece.
3 – The Looking Glass Knight
One of my favourite fights in the entire game the Knight is a primarily a melee fighter but will still cast devastating spells if you’re too far away. Not only that, his mirrored shield can deflect spells & every so often he will slam it down releasing an NPC phantom to join in the fight.
It’s a very tough battle that needs a good shield & light gear to make dodging even easier. The NPC phantom’s tend to be melee characters & should become the priority once they enter the battlefield.
This is the kind of boss battle that leaves you feeling like a Dark Souls god once you put him down.
2 – The Rotten
The Rotten is the best looking boss in the entire game. Found at the bottom of the poisonous & very demanding Black Gulch he is a huge mass of undead that carries an enormous butcher’s knife. His size hides that he is also a fairly speedy creature & he will constantly close the gap between you in an attempt to smash you with an array of attacks.
If that wasn’t bad enough this is a battle that requires you to be very aware of your surroundings as there are a number of burning fire pits that when stepping in will deplete your health at an intensely fast rate.
1 – The Smelter Demon
Amazingly the Smelter Demon is an optional boss; you don’t have to fight him unless you want too.
I’ve chosen this guy as the number one boss because he reminded me of the kind of bosses I fought in the original. A ‘take no prisoners’; no tricks but just wail on him until he dies & hope you get through it in one piece.
The dude has very powerful armour, so much so that damaging him convincingly seems impossible at first. His attacks while slow are very powerful & as the battle progresses his abilities change. Mobility & fire-resistant armour are the most important things you can bring to this fight especially when he powers up the first time. At this stage even approaching him to attack will see you receive area damage from his fiery body.
To top it off, just when you think you’ve got a handle on him he powers up again resulting in his huge sword being covered n flames. If you thought his attacks were bad before, this is so much worse.
He sounds like a nightmare to beat & he is but it’s well worth it, if not just for the satisfaction.