As one of 2022's best-reviewed games, Elden Ring's reception has been widely positive. With its open world and deep lore, FromSoftware has outdone itself with this stunning story. In true FromSoftware fashion, however, there is no shortage of frustrating bosses to beat.
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Players who have put hours into Dark Souls or Bloodborne know to expect a learning curve when fighting baddies. Elden Ring does not disappoint in giving players a challenge to overcome. From adaptive AIs to visually terrifying foes, players can expect to spend hours at a time trying to beat certain bosses. Some may even decide to put the game down for a while.
Updated by David Giatras on March 8, 2023:Elden Ring recently had its first DLC announced, Shadow of the Erdtree, and it will likely be released by the end of the year. If the base game is anything to go off of, players should expect some difficult foes ahead in the expansion. Only time will tell if the bosses found in Shadow of the Erdtree will be just as difficult, if not more, than the bosses in the main game.
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10 Godrick The Grafted
While difficult to find in the Stormveil Castle, Godrick the Grafted is a tricky foe to beat. Godrick is actually located in the Stormveil Castle dungeon. It takes a bit to learn his combos, but his attacks can be evaded by trying to stay behind him.
Godrick's second phase is truly something to behold, as he grafts a dragon head onto his arm and gains a fire attack to couple his axe swinging. Godrick is an optional boss, but if players want the rewards that come with beating him, important assets for their playthrough of Elden Ring, then preparation is key.
9 Margit, The Fell Omen
Margit is the first challenging boss players encounter in Elden Ring. His combos are constantly changing, so it is difficult to anticipate the next move. Low-level players beware, as Margit is hard to miss by players taking the beaten path after following the storyline laid out in the beginning.
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Those who have never played a FromSoftware game before will be unpleasantly surprised by the difficulty of this boss so early on in the game. Though best saved for later, Margit, the Fell Omen sets up a nice tone for what to expect throughout the journey.
8 Fire Giant
Mountaintops Of The Giants
The Fire Giant is not optional after unlocking the Mountaintops of the Giants, which makes his fight all the more frustrating. His ability to roll out of players' way while they try to attack is a great example of exemplary AI work, but it can be hard to appreciate the mechanics of it when constantly trying to avoid fire attacks.
The Fire Giant's massive health bar is equally disheartening, making him a formidable foe in the player's playthrough. Even with the best weapons, every hit feels like trying to chisel a sculpture out of the Hoover Dam, making him one of Elden Ring's toughest foes.
7 Astel, Natural Born Of The Void
The Lake Of Rot
Stepping out of the medieval fantasy foreground and into a cosmic nightmare, Astel awaits players with laser beams and future night terrors. This Elden Ring boss has many tricks up their metaphorical sleeves. It is nearly impossible to get in close range without being knocked by their shock waves.
Distance is not an ally in this fight, as Astel aims lasers at the player. Even when Astel reaches about half health, dodging is the player's best friend as they cast meteors from the sky. A being that rivals a Lovecraft creature, Astel unnerves as well as overpowers.
6 Dragonlord Placidusax
Crumbling Farum Azula
Dragonlord Placidusax is truly a sight to behold. A two-headed dragon in an arena surrounded by lightning, it is easy to see George R. R. Martin's influence within Elden Ring. Placidusax has the advantage of being a tough boss while using the environment to beat the players. His quick teleportation makes it difficult to land a blow.
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Players are advised not to get too focused on Placidusax's one-hit kills, as the lightning on the map can still kill players. Placidusax is hard to find, so players can easily avoid the fight, but achievement hunters will want to max out their weapons before braving this beast.
5 Beast Clergyman/Maliketh, The Black Blade
Crumbling Farum Azula
The Beast Clergyman is a relatively easy boss to beat, but when he transforms into Maliketh, any hopes of winning this fight on the first try will be dashed. Maliketh has a variety of one-hit kills that have to be timed just right in order to avoid them.
Maliketh flies around the map without any pattern to his movements, making the element of surprise especially difficult in this fight. Players can use the arena to help dodge attacks, but getting a hit is the biggest challenge of this fight. The fact that this boss has to be beaten in order to progress Elden Ring's main storyline is enough to make players put the game down for a little while.
4 Radagon Of The Golden Order/Elden Beast
In the final boss fight of Elden Ring, players are in for a gripping battle that is the perfect ending to their long journey. The fight starts with Radagon wielding the hammer that shattered the Elden Ring. It's a seemingly straightforward fight until he is slain and then transforms into the Elden Beast.
There is no break between the two bosses, so players are left with whatever health they had at the end of the first fight going into the second. The Beast is constantly moving, making it hard to hit. If players manage to get a hit on it, its glowing center is its weakest spot.
3 Godskin Duo
Crumbling Farum Azula
If there was ever a boss fight to co-op during Elden Ring, this would be the one. Players must fight Godskin Apostle and Godskin Noble at the same time. Both have their own respective health bars and a shared health bar. The goal is to deplete the shared health bar in order to win.
If the player depletes one of their single health bars, they will simply be resurrected in a matter of moments. For first-time players, it can be devastatingly hope-shattering to think they've defeated one only to see them get right back up and continue to attack.
2 Starcourge Radahn
Starscourge Radahn is a boss that doesn't let players figure out what's going on before the "YOU DIED" overlay pops up. Starscourge starts off miles away from the player, shooting arrows that can kill with a single hit.
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Starscourge's ranged attacks are powerful, and his aggressive melee combos make it hard to even button mash one's way out of it. If his intense fighting style wasn't enough, his second phase has him literally turning into a meteor and crashing down upon the players. This is an Elden Ring boss that will break even the most seasoned Dark Souls veteran.
1 Malenia, Blade Of Miquella
Elphael, Brace of the Haligtree
There is heavy debate among Elden Ring fans on which bosses are tougher than others, but Malenia is where all players can come to an agreement. Malenia's words, "I have never known defeat," reign painfully true as she darts toward the player and kills them with her very first move. If her fighting style isn't aggressive enough, she can also heal herself with every blow she lands.
Malenia's quick dodges make it nearly impossible to land a hit. Her second phase adds wings to her arsenal, increasing her damage and making her more evasive. Any player who dares attempt to defeat her will need a constant full health bar and endless amounts of patience, for even the toughest build is almost no match for her.
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