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11.17.21 Top 10 Video Game OSTs10.18.21 Elden Ring: Discussion
10.05.21 Bloodborne: Boss Ranking09.02.21 Ultimate BTBAM Ranking
08.16.21 Dark Souls Boss Ranking: Decade Anniver 10.11.17 TLOZ: OoT Dungeon Ranking
04.14.12 New Sigur Ros06.08.11 Skyrim

Bloodborne: Boss Ranking

After publishing the Dark Souls ranking a couple of months ago, it inspired me to return to the world of Yharnam. After immersing myself in the glow of the moon's various manifestations, the politics of the world's various covenants and competing factions, the lore, and the frenzying dance that constitutes Bloodborne's combat via various builds, I can confidently state that it makes for one of the most satisfying, immersive, and addictive experiences that gaming has on offer. Everything about the journey is about as close to perfection as possible, it's emblematic of the notion of refinement and quality over quantity (especially in respect to its selection of weapons and builds), and every playthrough provides different paths for progression, new character arcs, and fresh opportunities to absorb and decipher the environments that you're bound to explore. The cornerstone of FromSoft games for me are the boss rosters, and while I've yet to play Dark Souls 2 & 3 and Sekiro, I cannot imagine how this game's selection could be bested. As a love letter, I will rank the bosses from the base game and the Old Hunter's expansion, and I plan on revisiting the Chalice bosses in a future list. I would love to see how your own rankings differ, and if you've not played this game yet, I cannot recommend it enough. There is still a vibrant community on Discord with scores of hunters (myself included) who would love to engage in some jolly cooperation, helping newcomers and veterans alike to get the most out of Bloodborne. Gameplay spoilers are inevitable, but I'll do my best to avoid major boss and end game spoilers. Still, avoid reading the descriptions if you've not completed the game at least once.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

The Witch of Hemwick (3/5)
While this is arguably the weakest boss in the game, it's still a highlight of sorts because of how insight dictates the mechanics of the fight. She summons Mad Ones by default because of the insight obtained by starting the battle, but if you use a Hunter's Mark, spend your insight at the Bath Messenger, the fight becomes an absolute cakewalk. It's one of the two "puzzle fights" in the game, it has one of the best boss themes, and while she is technically an optional boss, she guards the Rune Workshop Tool, which is one of the most useful acquisitions, also being mandatory in unlocking the trek to one of the best areas in the game later on. The fact that the Witch is the lowest ranked boss and still earns a 3/5 should speak volumes in respect to the boss roster's quality.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Celestial Emissary (3/5)
The Celestial Emissary is a fun callback to Phalanx from Demon's Souls, with a cosmic twist. It's one of the easier fights in the game, but these blue jellybeans have a great aesthetic. If you're a lore buff, it's clear that they were formerly the children occupying the city's orphanage, victims of the Healing Church's meddling with eldritch truths. The boss also guards a window toward one of Yharnam's best concealed secrets.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Living Failures (3/5)
The Living Failures are basically the Celestial Emissary pt.2, only this time, they maintain a less forgiving moveset, and can channel comets. The boss isn't anything special, but it guards one of the most beloved and punishing fights in the game. It's also the only moment in the DLC that could be considered remotely underwhelming, but it's nonetheless far from being a blight on the overall experience.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Mergo's Wet Nurse (3.5/5)
Depending on your progression, this could be the final boss of the game, and occupies what is for many players, the most reviled portion of Bloodborne. There's not much going on with the Wet Nurse mechanically speaking, but she does a phase toward the latter half of the fight that can make for trouble, though it's easily mitigated by running counterclockwise around the edge of the arena. Upon defeating her, her death results in the last major environmental change of the game, giving you access to the game's three endings, dependent upon your previous actions. She's not a top-tier boss, but she still makes for a spectacle, and a brilliant possible conclusion to the base game.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Moon Presence (3.5/5)
In an effort to keep spoilers to a minimum, I'll simply state that it's a great boss with a fantastic design, and everyone should seek to discover it at least once for the sake of the experience.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Cleric Beast (4/5)
The Cleric Beast is my favorite tutorial boss that I've experienced in these games thus far. The fight can be trivialized with oil and molotov cocktails, but if you fight it the traditional way, it's fantastic for teaching new players how to handle many of the larger bosses that arrive later on. The fact that you fight it on the Great Bridge undoubtedly results in one of the most grandiose moments of the base game, and if I ever have the opportunity to visit Prague and to stroll across Charles Bridge in the future, there's no way that I won't be thinking of this boss fight. I also love how you can hear the Beast screeching from across Central Yharnam at the start of the game, and that moment upon its reveal, realizing that this monstrosity is what you previously heard as you were ascending the ladder to light the first lamp in the area proper.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Shadow of Yharnam (4/5)
Fighting these wraith-like figures was one of the most adrenaline rushing experiences during my initial playthrough, and the fact that they are the climax of one of the most hellish areas of the base game only adds to the tension of the fight. There are conflicting perspectives on the best order to take these guys out, but I always go for the scimitar shadow first because it's the quickest and most deadly. If you can manage the crowd effectively, the fight gets slightly easier after the first shadow is extinguished. It's a tough boss even with the help of another player, but it's a satisfying one to complete, and it effectively marks the beginning of the most explicit Lovecraftian turn in the game by guarding Byrgenwerth.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Rom, the Vacuous Spider (4/5)
The Moonside Lake is such a beautiful area, but arachnophobes will surely shudder with terror upon initiating the encounter with Rom. Rom summons dozens of agile spiders throughout the fight, so similar to the Shadow of Yharnam, effective crowd control is key to success. It can be difficult to actually get hits in on Rom proper because of her legion of spiders, but also because of her arcane attacks, which limit space for attacks. It's one of the better bosses for co-op because of this, because it's made significantly easier when someone can focus on the spiders while you give her attention. The fight itself is a bit underwhelming, but the reason for her placement in the list is the fact that she's the key to being able to fully witness the eldritch nature of Yharnum (unless you previously accumulated enough insight), and upon beating her, you'll reveal the blood moon, initializing a score of changes throughout the city
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

which impact the remainder of the game. This boss also provides the best chance for insight farming in the game outside of the Chalices, which incentivizes helping hands.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Blood-Starved Beast (4/5)
This is unquestionably one of the most difficult bosses in the game if you aren't comfortable with parrying, visceral attacks, and dodging. Nonetheless, like Gascoigne, it's an effective learning tool for that reason, located in my personal favorite area of the base game. The lore of Old Yharnam resembles the story of Innsmouth, in how the area was torched in order to mitigate the spread of the horrors found within, and Djura's presence in an effort to prevent hunters from pillaging the area, adds a shade of nuance to the story that I've always appreciated a lot. The area is hauntingly beautiful with some of the most impressive architecture in the game, and once you descend into the darkness below its scorched, towering spires, it results in pure, gothic bliss. I love this fight, its degree of challenge, and it's astounding to me that it's technically optional, with many players never completing it, in spite of it being the key to a chalice and later area that
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[...] is even more horrifying.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

The One Reborn (4/5)
This boss is another callback to the Demon's Souls (Tower Knight). You have this undead mass as part of the Mensis Ritual, with Chime Maidens above the arena shooting fireballs, eventually healing the boss if you choose not to kill them prior to fighting it. I honestly despise Yahar'gul as an area because of these maidens, how they perpetually reanimate the area's enemies if you are unable to find and kill them, and the Gaol hunters are one of the toughest encounters in the entire game if you don't have the DPS to quickly eliminate them, otherwise resulting in a gank that will obliterate your soul. The boss itself is fantastic however, with one of the best cutscenes in the game. This is where Bloodborne takes its most apparent Lovecraftian turn, Amygdalas hug the walls of the Unseen Village's cathedrals with one frying you with lasers if you can't effectively dodge them, and the Cramped Caskets in the streets before the boss are some of the most horrifying enemies
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

[...] in the game, always giving me flashbacks to the Bone-Wheel Skeletons in DS1. Speaking of which, does anyone else notice a resemblance between Nito and TOR?
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Darkbeast Paarl (4.5/5)
The One Reborn isn't the only boss concealed within the Yahar'gul. If a Snatcher manages to kill you at any point before defeating Rom, you will be imprisoned in the Hypogean Gaol, having early access to the majority of the area and Paarl. The area is unforgiving for the early game (and the late game too honestly), but upon encountering Paarl, you'll discover a hell of a boss. This beast is lightning fast, aggressive, and can easily kill you in a few swipes, but it's manageable after learning its moveset. It's worth fighting Paarl early on in at least one playthrough for the sake of getting an alternative means of accessing Old Yharnam, obtaining a unique manner of encountering Djura. I love this fight, and while Yharnam might not be as interconnected as Lordran, this boss/area is exemplary in how much freedom there is in respect to game progression, along with demonstrating some surprising ways that the city's areas connect with each other.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Amygdala (4.5/5)
A lesser Amygdala is responsible for getting you to the Nightmare Frontier to begin with, so it has always seemed appropriate to fight one as a boss at the end of the area itself. Aesthetically speaking, this is my favorite boss in the base game, and I love the arachnid-like appearance of these eldritch horrors. The first phase isn't too difficult, but the second phase of the fight can be punishing, as it rips two of its arms off, and greatly extending the range of its attacks. Go for the head whenever possible, and beastblood pellets/weapon buffs will serve everyone well who needs a bit of help. I also want to mention that this is basically Bloodborne's version of Blighttown. While a lot of the tension of that area is gone due to warpability, there is hardly anything more tense in this series than the encounters with the Winter Lanterns here. There's also an automatic PvP queue both here and in Nightmare of Mensis (unless you're playing offline or have beaten the
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

[....] bosses), two hunters towards the start of the area, and a cameo via everyone's favorite trickster fuckface. There's a lot going on here and a lot to balance when you consider the environmental hazards, but the Amygdala fight makes it worth the struggle and agony, as it's a definite game highlight, albeit a completely optional one in the case that you can't stomach this area.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Vicar Amelia (4.5/5)
Going from struggling immensely with the Cathedral Ward to annihilating everything in your path and scaling the path to the Grand Cathedral is a godlike moment, and Vicar Amelia perfectly serves the function of humbling you, by returning a healthy dose of that same annihilation. Seriously, Vicar Amelia was a definitive wall in my first playthrough. She deals a ton of damage, she's relentless, and she has an imposing design and appearance that can easily make you fumble if you're not on your A-game. It's helpful to be mindful of the tactics used in the Cleric Beast fight though. If you can stay behind her and manage your stamina well, you can eventually get past her, especially if you can stagger her from healing. Upon beating her, you find the skull of one of her allies, and unlock one of the best cutscenes in the game. Her death also ushers in a new moon phase, which makes the Cathedral Ward much easier to work through as you venture toward the game's next areas.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Laurence, the First Vicar (4.5/5)
Laurence and Amelia go hand-in-hand, being at the top of the Healing Church's hierarchy, being fought in the same arena, and having similar appearances. Laurence is basically a late-game Cleric Beast, but his second and third phases are nothing to scoff at. He'll eventually break his legs and use lava attacks a lot like Quelaag from DS1, but they are substantially more deadly, and are more difficult to evade. He's an optional boss, but he drops one of the coolest runes in the entire game, and the fight's challenge alone is more than worthy of attempting for its own sake. The lore is also fascinating, given how pivotal Laurence is to the story, and how much speculation there is in respect to his history and role within the game's politics.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Micolash, Host of the Nightmare (5/5)
Micolash is a lovable nutcase, and I cannot express how much I love chasing him around, listening to him rambling about Kos and insight, and the fight itself is enjoyable too. His first phase is a joke, doing nothing more than using his Augur, but once you pin him leaving him nowhere to run and gush about the Great Ones, he actually puts up a fight. The only thing that you have to seriously watch out for is his Call Beyond, which you can thankfully stagger him out of. Seriously, anything that uses A Call Beyond in this game can easily kill you in a single blow, so do everything within your power to avoid that. There's not much to the fight itself, and if it were a "normal" duel in a conventional arena, it would be at the bottom of the list. What makes this one of the best fights in the game is the exposition, the atmosphere, his mad ramblings as you chase him, and the maze that you have to traverse to catch him, which can be bewildering if you
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

[....] aren't familiar with its layout. The boss also has my favorite boss theme in the game, which perfectly suits him (though this is true of every theme in the game honestly). The real challenge comes after the area, assuming that you're after the blood rock and want to take out the Brain of Mensis. Those Winter Lanterns would be the biggest pain of the game, if it wasn't for what locks the Rakuyo later on. I can't be the only one who wants to drink absinthe with Micolash, talk about some eldritch hentai, and listen to Brahms, right?
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

The First Hunter (5/5)
Similar to 18, I will be as vague as possible. This boss was a major surprise for me during my first run, and while it's far from being the most difficult in the game, it makes for a satisfying potential ending to Bloodborne, giving you access to one of the sickest weapons in Soulsborne. I could understand why anyone would place this boss at the top of a list, but the top 10 of any Bloodborne ranking makes for stiff competition. While it's certainly one of the most memorable and cinematic fights in the series, it's not quite up to par with what follows (similar to Gwyn, Lord of Cinder in my DS1 ranking)
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos (5/5)
I always had the suspicion that there'd be a Cthulhuian Great One somewhere in Yharnam, and while the whole concept of fighting and defeating one is about as Lovecraftian as a Marvel comic, Ebrietas does at least partial justice to the idea by being well concealed, and by being absurdly difficult. For me, Ebrietas is the most challenging boss in the base game. Her attacks pack a massive punch, it's difficult to successfully use the tried-and-true tactics for larger foes because of the nature of her movement and attacks, and similar to Micolash, she has a Call Beyond-like charge attack that will probably one-shot you if it connects, so there's a great deal of tension in this fight related to if and when she uses it. If you can attack her from the front and keep a medium distance, that works best. Bloodtinge builds and strength builds with the cannon probably have the easiest time with her, but regardless, it's intense across the board, and I can't
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

[...] blame anyone opting for coop, searching for someone who can easily help vanquish her. A fantastic and grueling fight, and another example of one of the many optional fights/areas resulting in some of the greatest moments in the game.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Father Gascogine (5/5)
Guac is the most iconic fight of the game and is one of the most challenging fights for a newcomer, in spite of it being either the first or second boss. He's armed with the same tools that you have at your disposal which makes his first two phases perfectly balanced, and if you have your parry timings down, he shouldn't be too difficult. If you don't have your parries down however, Father Guac will force you to git gud if you have any hope of progressing in this game. Yeah, the fight can be trivialized with the Music Box and coop, but I'd recommend against using either unless you're genuinely stuck for days, and the boss is preventing you from enjoying the game. The fact that you have some handicaps though illustrates the fact that while Soulsborne is unforgiving, it is entirely possible to get through any of these games regardless of ability and effort, so long as you explore your options.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Martyr Logarius (5/5)
Excluding teleportation and transformation, Logarius reminds me of fights with Dracula in the Castlevania series. He's got lots of magic attacks in his first phase, which are all Hunter's Tools that you can acquire yourself throughout the game. His second phase is melee orientated, going toe-to-toe with his scythe. He's swift, he has tremendous reach, so the best tactic is to stay as close as possible in his second phase, try to parry him, and get in charged attacks whenever possible. Castle Cainhurst is a fan favorite, and one of the most glorious moments of the game is ascending it, traversing the snow-covered roofs and spires, fighting him at the very top. There are lots of pillars to use as cover for the first phase, and if you beat him, you get access to both Bloodborne's vampires and my top waifu of the game. I absolutely love this place, this fight, and it's wild knowing that a majority of the people who've played the game haven't accessed it.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower (5/5)
The Research Hall is by far the most unsettling, disturbing, and labyrinthian area in the game up to its point in the DLC, but upon exiting it, dealing with some cosmic rejects and lighting the lamp outside of the clocktower, you find Lady Maria, who closely resembles the Doll of the Hunter's Dream. Similar to Gascoigne, Maria resembles a player-like moveset in her first phase, and most players who've made it this far shouldn't struggle too much. The real challenge comes from her blood and fire phases, which diminish the space for attacks, parries, and healing. One of my favorite moments in the game comes after beating her and configuring the clock to access the final Old Hunters area. There's no doubt that Lady Maria is one of the toughest bosses in the game, but she brilliantly embodies the "tough but fair" approach to boss design that FromSoft is famous for.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Ludwig the Accursed/Holy Blade (5/5)
Ludwig has the most grotesque appearance and design in the entire game in my view, but also has one of the most tragic backstories. His humanity gradually withered away into beasthood, turning him into a bloodcrazed psychopath who slaughtered untold amounts of unfortunate Yharnamites. His first phase is impossible at first. Given his size, his agility seems like it shouldn't be allowed, and he's incredibly difficult to dodge and safely attack from behind because of his leg attacks; not to mention the fact that he can also leap to the celling and plunge attack you, either one shotting you or eliminating most of your health in less than a second. The difficulty is build-dependent, and those who use the pizza cutter/beastblood pellets seem to have the easiest time with him. He regains a shred of his humanity in the second phase (if you can get that far of course), where he regains the ability to stand upright, and he pulls out his Moonlight Holy Blade,
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

[...] giving you one of the most epic cutscenes in the series. This phase is more manageable than the first, but you have to keep close or else he uses the sword's arcane attacks for ranged damage. There's also a charged AOE blast and a downward strike that will guarantee a one-shot death if it lands, but this phase is where the beastblood pellets come to play. It's arguably the most masochistic fight in the entire game, but it has the best lore, the best cinematics, one of the best themes, and you can talk to the horsehead afterward and obtain his blade. It's so FromSoft, but that's exactly why it's as iconic as it is.
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

Orphan of Kos (5/5)
I mentioned the Shadow Over Innsmouth earlier in the list, and Old Yharnam isn't the only location where its legacy is felt. The Fishing Hamlet is Innsmouth, with every enemy and NPC in the area (excluding Brador) bearing something like the "Innsmouth Look." The most memorable parts of the game for me are walking through the clocktower, entering the Hamlet, hearing the ramblings of the Priest, seeing all of the Fishmen and hearing the gurgling death sounds, the whispers of the hidden townsfolk, and of course, encountering those dreaded Sharks. I would say that the Sharks and Winter Lanterns are the real bosses of the area, and that would be true if it were in any other area of the game... if it weren't for the Orphan of Kos. The Orphan of Kos is a conglomerate of endgame/DLC FromSoft bosses. Imagine Manus and Artorias in a single fight smacking you with shrimp shaped placenta, summoning lightning strikes as it screams at the top of its lungs (?), and erratically
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Bloodborne (Original Soundtrack)

[...] bashing everything within a 360-space surrounding it. That's merely a morsel of an idea of what this fight entails. This boss, the area, the lore, the atmosphere, and everything about it makes for the best area in the series that I've experienced thus far, and one of the best in gaming period. It's entirely possible that OoK is the toughest fight in the series as well, and I died more times to this abomination than probably every other boss in the game combined. There's no cheese method as far as I'm aware of, and your only hope of such a strategy could come from a glitch in the AI that keeps him standing still, which I've seen happen once in a speed running video. You've gotta be on your toes at all times, and even then, you'd be best to pray to the Great Ones for some additional luck. What an incredible way to end what is without a doubt the greatest DLC I've ever had the pleasure of playing.
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