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These Are The Hardest Dark Souls Bosses In Franchise History

The Dark Souls series, the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls, is renowned for a great many things. Most notably, its unrelenting difficulty. While the series' difficulty is derived from many aspects, including lethal puzzles and hordes of enemies, its bosses are far and away the largest source of frustration for many players. The series has no shortage of memorable boss battles.

For instance, Ornstein and Smough are two particularly iconic bosses among players of the Dark Souls franchise. Taking place in the ornate halls of the Anor Londo palace, many consider this boss fight the hardest of the first Dark Souls game, though not necessarily due to the bosses themselves. One-on-one, these guys are moderately difficult among the pantheon of Dark Souls bosses. However, when taken on at the same time (which is unavoidable), the two are difficult beyond description.

Even after Smough or Ornstein is defeated, however, the fight only ramps up. When one of the warriors falls, their comrade will essentially "absorb" the power of the one who gets defeated, either leading to an exponentially larger Ornstein or Smough's hammer being infused with electricity.

Read on for more of the hardest Dark Souls bosses.

Soul of Cinder

Dark Souls 3's Soul of Cinder can either be a somewhat easy or incredibly difficult boss, depending on the build of your character. However, this boss has two phases that make him an absolute nightmare to deal with regardless, and he deals unforgiving blow after unforgiving blow.

With the fight taking place in a plain of ash, Soul of Cinder wields four sets of attack in his first phase. Three of the attack sets are melee-based while one is ranged. The four vary in difficulty, but all comprise only half of this incredibly difficult boss fight.

In Soul of Cinder's second phase, he becomes far more aggressive with his moves, also unleashing homing attacks that can be quite deadly if the player isn't agile enough. Moreover, some of the melee attacks within Soul of Cinder's second phase can end the player's life in one fell swoop. Above all, players need only to heed one word of advice: dodge.

Dancer of the Boreal Valley

Dark Souls 3 has no shortage of great boss fights. While Soul of Cinder caps the game off in glorious fashion, the faceoff with the Dancer of the Boreal Valley midway through the game is Dark Souls at its purest: a game of anticipating movesets, knowing when to dodge, and outlasting the misery brought upon the player by the onslaught of attacks.

The Dancer of the Boreal Valley is a relentless beast. As the fight plays out against the orchestral piece that somewhat mirrors the boss's nimble movement, the Dancer of the Boreal Valley stalks the player slowly, swinging its flame-infused sword erratically to and fro.

When the boss's second phase kicks in, the Dancer of the Boreal Valley equips itself with two swords, ramping up the speed of its attacks and striking ferociously. Fortunately, some well-timed dodges should be enough to avoid the sheer aggression of the Dancer of the Boreal Valley, though the music's hypnotizing quality can cause interference in and of itself.

Throne Watcher & Throne Defender

Dark Souls 2 didn't quite offer the bosses with the same aggression as those in Dark Souls 3, but that isn't to say the game was remiss with tough boss fights. Specifically, the Throne Watcher and Throne Defender offer one of the game's toughest challenges in what is the game's penultimate boss fight just before the duel with Nashandra. 

As with Ornstein and Smough, both are easy enough to defeat individually, and especially so with the help of an NPC. However, when either the Throne Watcher or Throne Defender is taken down, the other will rush to its aide to heal it fully. This means one of two things: either it's going to be one long boss fight, or the player will need to divvy up their attacks wisely to be able to defeat both in rapid succession. 

The Throne Watcher and Throne Defender don't necessarily sport the "wow" factor of a final boss. However, these two could have been the final boss of Dark Souls 2 alone, as they far overshadow Nashandra; a boss who is tough in her own regard but doesn't effectively rewind the clock to the same degree that the Throne Watcher and Throne Defender do by healing.

The Abyss Watchers

Dark Souls 3 is just a game that never lets up when it comes to hard bosses, even in a franchise iconic for hard bosses. One of the game's early boss fights, the Abyss Watchers, is easily one of its most difficult. In the fight's first phase, the player squares off against a tall, rather ordinary-looking enemy (the Abyss Watcher) who offers a challenging set of sword attacks that players can handily dodge. However, part-way into the first phase, identical Abyss Watchers join the fray in what can become an overwhelming skirmish.

In the second phase, the Abyss Watcher defeated by the player absorbs the power of its defeated allies. Upon getting back up to square off once more, the Abyss Watcher makes use of its fire-infused sword, which can make short work of even the most experienced Souls player. Once the fight is over, however, players can rest easy — that is, until the next boss battle.