Bloodborne is a difficult game. It’s brutal. It took me 40 hours or so to get the hang of game mechanics in order for me to enjoy it. In that time I rage quit several times, throwing my sweaty controller across the room, and startling my wife and dog.
I’m not new to games, but I don’t identify as a gamer either. I don’t take pride in the grind and work of getting good at a game. To me it’s just a game. That’s an unpopular opinion amongst gamers, but it’s mine to have out there.
This article is therefore for people who also came out the other side of the game with their sanity intact, and returned to the real world.
They woke up from the dream.
It comes in 2 parts:
1. Bloodborne Bosses Ranked from Easiest to Hardest (For Beginners)
With a score out of 5, this rank scales each boss from:
Meh — Hey, it’s alright
Challenging — Now that’s more like it!
Fun — More please!
Frustrating — What the hell?
<Honourable Mentions> — Technically not bosses, but might as well be
Brutal — This game is bullshit
2. Game Mechanics and Analysis
Some quick thoughts on how the game plays, how I approached it, as well as what’s overrated, underrated and nonsense.
* SPOILERS AHEAD! *
Bloodborne Bosses Ranked from Easiest to Hardest | Beginners Edition
39. Undead Giant — Dungeon
Good fight, keeps you on your toes.
38. Merciless Watchers — Dungeon
Good fight, forces you to keep an eye on multiple enemies.
37. Beast Possessed Soul — Dungeon
I assassinated it from behind in the main game, so I didn’t experience this enemy for what it is until the dungeons. Good fight.
36. Celestial Emissary
Weird puzzle boss, but once you get the mechanic it’s a breeze.
35. Living Failures — DLC
It has a devastating AoE attack, but the garden / fountain thing in the centre comes to good use.
34. The Witch of Hemwick
Your first puzzle fight! You have to identify the mechanics of the room and gameplay. But once you figure out all is not what it seems, it’s very easy. And it’s called the Witch of Hemwick, so why are there 2 of them?
33. Pthumerian Elder — Dungeon
With great timing and parrying, this guy puts up a good fight.
32. Moon Presence — Secret Final Boss
By the end of the game you’re an OP beast hunter and have just taken out Gehrman, the true final boss. Moon Presence doesn’t stand a chance on the epicness scale, but it’s speed and moveset keeps you dancing until the squid / wheelchair ending.
31. Yharnam, Pthumerian Queen — Dungeon
Apparently important to the story, but really just for completionists who find that the journey to get to her takes you through far more difficult boss battles.
30. Keeper of the Old Lords — Dungeon
Good hunter fight and blasts fire at you but it’s okay — parrying is your friend.
29. Pthumerian Descendant — Dungeon
Same as the Pthumerian Elder, but faster. Double sickle boomerang hits hard and leaves you wide open for punishment.
28. Forgotten Madman — Dungeon
He summons a friend halfway through the fight from out of nowhere, but they both go down hard.
27. Mergo’s Wet Nurse
The final-ish boss at the top of the castle. Apparently there’s no baby up there because it’s — formless or something — but this thing is… breast feeding it? I don’t understand. Looks difficult and intimidating but at this point in the game, was pretty easy.
26. The One Reborn
A mess of body parts where you don’t know the front from the back, in an open arena with healing and fireball mechanics, this makes for a good puzzle boss.
25. Darkbeast Paarl
First time I saw it get up and go electric blue was right after my painful fight with the Blood-Starved Beast. I immediately went “Fuck this” and used a Bold Hunters Mark to escape and fight werewolves instead.
I went back when I was finally more confident and it was a breeze! Very fun fight.
24. Loran Darkbeast — Dungeon
More difficult than Darkbeast Paarl: it’s faster, hits harder and has more health. Unlearnt early on not to fight from beneath it unlike Darkbeast Paarl, and had a blast taking it face on.
23. Cleric Beast
The iconic Bloodborne boss! Play with the camera unlocked as it’s speed, jumps and flailing erratic movements on the narrow bridge crowded with carriages makes the camera go nuts and you lose sight of it — that’s how bad the camera gets in this game.
22. Vicar Amelia
The first true skill check boss. You can’t progress unless you beat her. She’s the first big boss — fast, hits like a truck, and even heals.
21. Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower — DLC
At this late stage of the game, she’s the most fun you can have in a boss battle! Parry and visceral attacks were easy, and the dance around the room was beautiful and elegant.
Without a doubt my favourite fight in Bloodborne.
20. Father Gascoigne
Great first boss and test of skill, he introduces new players to the gameplay mechanics of Bloodborne. Only difficult if you’ve yet to get a handle the parry mechanic. Once you understand how to parry, this fight is a lot of fun.
19. Gehrman, The First Hunter
The true boss of Bloodborne, and an awesome epic final fight in an incredible arena at the end of the dream. Truly a fight to endure and remember.
18. Ludwig the Accursed/Holy Blade — DLC
I think his green sword is an iconic weapon from the game studio, but to me this was just a hell of a crazy fight against a gross horse dude, with a mad scramble for both to survive. It was a hell of a fight if you’re prepared for it, but even then still on the frustrating side of fun.
17. Ebriatas, Daughter of the Cosmos
This secret boss is a weird alien-mermaid-anemone that hits like a truck. Lot’s of one-shot attacks, can’t trust the camera, way too much health. To find it was frustrating, to fight it even worse.
16. Micolash, Host of the Nightmare
SUPER frustrating. You’re forced to chase the bastard around a twisted nightmare funhouse castle — which as boss fights go, really sucks. And then in the 2nd half of the fight, he one-shots you with the magic attack A Call Beyond. That magic one-shot hit is incredibly difficult to dodge in the cramp space, and the projectiles track you. Death forces you to chase him around randomly again.
Hate this boss. And how is he the host of the nightmare?
Shut up Micolash.
15. Laurence the First Vicar — DLC
Like the Cleric Beast, but on fire and the difficulty ramped up for end-game. Still fun and a cool fight, but more on the frustrating side with its unpredictable 2nd phase.
14. Rom the Vacuous Spider
Very frustrating. In the beginning I was very hesitant to engage as I assumed the small spiders will just keep being re-spawning, which is technically incorrect.
Once you know to systematically kill the small spiders first, and can dodge the magic meteorites, it’s easy. The fight then becomes tedious and boring.
It’s big. I think the biggest boss in the game. So big, the attacks come from outside the screen itself. It hits hard, tears off it’s limbs in rage mode, and shoots lasers.
Most players don’t count Hostile Hunters as bosses because they don’t have a massive health bar at the bottom of the screen, but they deserve recognition as bosses in their own right — both in story and in difficulty.
The difficulty of these particular hunters for new players sits between frustrating and brutal:
12. Henryk — Hostile Hunter
If you have to fight Henryk solo, good luck to you. He even tears apart Eileen if you don’t step in in time to help her.
11. Djura — Hostile Hunter
If you’re lucky he’ll fall off the tower, but likely you’ll fall or die first at the level you encounter him.
10. Unnamed Cathedral Ward & Yahar’gul — Hostile Hunters
1 hunter by themselves I could handle at the level encountered, but 2 at once is a crazy tough fight.
9. Bloody Crow of Cainhurst — Hostile Hunter
Brutally difficult fight, a great test to get you ready for PvP.
8. Yurie The Last Scholar — Hostile Hunter
Technically the Bloody Crow of Cainhurst was the more difficult fight, but Yurie the Last Scholar was BRUTAL because she shares that Micolash one-shot attack A Call Beyond.
Brutal FUCK YOU! FUCK THIS GAME! Bosses
7. Bloodletting Beast — Dungeon
So massive the camera doesn’t aim properly, and it hits from outside the screen. Has an AoE ground pound attack that stuns and knocks half your health off with a massively unfair hitbox.
6. Orphan of Kos — DLC
Spectacular end game boss of Bloodborne — The Old Hunters DLC. Good fight, but relentless. Absolutely devastating and demotivating as the thing tears you a new asshole every time. You sometimes don’t even have time to heal in between the onslaught of attacks. A true and awesome test of grit, resolve and determination.
5. Martyr Logarius
His AoE tracking magic attacks are the worst. I was able to parry his sword attacks, but in all my playthroughs he rarely used them, preferring to one shot me instead by repeatedly spamming giant exploding magic skulls. Quick and deadly.
Also summons a storm of swords.
4. Shadow of Yarnham
The first and only real multiple opponents boss fight in Bloodborne. Forces you to judge the battlefield and prioritise each shadow on the fly. When you die, it forces you to plan your strategy around how to approach the fight.
Do you fight the magic caster first, or take out the aggressive sword wielder? It depends on your placement and they’re placement. And don’t even get me started on the race against time with those snake summons at the finish line. A lot of fun for intermediates and above, but truly frustrating for the beginner.
I also hated the walk back to the boss every time I died. So much shame past all the hissing snakes.
3. Blood Starved Beast
FUCK. THIS. BOSS.
I died a million times to it screaming and swearing at the TV in my first playthrough. I almost rage quit Bloodborne altogether because of this stupid flappy vagina-headed bastard. The non-stop combo attacks, poison, speed and erratic move sets were tough enough — my frustrations stem from the aftermath of every failed attempt.
Forced to trek all the way back from the lantern, farming for health, bullets, antidote items and upgrades, the grind made me despise and loath the game so much. Because rather than get right back into the fight, I had to farm consumables just for the insane privilege of being ripped to shreds again within seconds of entering the arena.
It’s dead easy once you have your parrying downpat, otherwise fuck this boss.
2. Watchdog of the Old Lords — Dungeon
One-shot attacks, massive health bar, can’t stun or visceral attack. At it’s peak, the worst boss to fight in the Chalice Dungeons.
Especially painful in the dungeon where your health is cut in half.
1. Abhorrent Beast — Dungeon
In my opinion the most BRUTAL boss in the entire game. It was the only time I thought to myself — this game is impossible. Fuck it, I can’t beat this game. I give up.
It was the only time I truly felt defeated by a game. Like it was time to stop smashing my head against the brick wall, hoping it’ll break from sheer force of will.
And after half an hour everything just clicked and the brick wall came crashing down in front of me. AHA!!
40 hours into Bloodborne I hit the zen moment of clarity — and it was like everything I was learning from the game just fell into place. All my frustrations with attack timing and the cheap deaths just melted away. Suddenly I was now able to anticipate and dodge attacks attacks, weave in and out, take advantage of openings and danced into every fight. I knew when when to counter attack, when to step back.
So what happened?
I got good.
2. Gameplay Mechanics and Analysis
I’ve beaten Bloodborne twice now, both times with Chalice Dungeons and The Old Hunters DLC.
On my 1st playthrough, I had to learn the game mechanics from scratch. For example, I spent 5 minutes just figuring out how to equip my weapons! I was always lost, couldn’t comprehend the story and characters, died all the time from dogs and ambushes, etc. I did my best to bash through everything with broad sweeping weapons. Painful and frustrating experience.
And it was exhausting. Everything was a grind, I had no idea where to go or what to do, and I questioned my mental state the whole experience on why I was wasting my time on Bloodborne.
Weapons of choice: Hunter Axe/Ludwig’s Holy Blade and Evelyn
Class: Military Veteran
80 hours of gameplay
End Level 130
My 2nd playthrough was much more fun and enjoyable! I blazed through levels and just danced around enemies. I used cooler and more unconventional weapons just because I could. Turns out thrust + serrated damage is the way to go!
Weapons of choice: Threaded Cane/Rifle Spear and Hunter Blunderbuss
Class: Noble Scion
50 hours of gameplay
End Level 100
Favourite Weapons — Evolution
Saw Cleaver, Hunter Axe, Ludwig’s Holy Blade, Reiterpallasch, Threaded Cane, Rifle Spear, CHURCH PICK
Fun Novelty Weapons
Amygdalan Arm, Beast Cutter, Boom Hammer, Kirk Hammer, Logarius Wheel, STAKE DRIVER, Whirligig Saw
Parrying, riposting, visceral attacks, back stabs, circle strafing, fighting at range, crowd control, bait and punish.
Juggling items, using tools, RPG elements, blood gems, character builds, upgrade paths, farming items, reading items descriptions beyond the loading screen, controlling the camera when locked on with big or fast bosses, AoE attacks, switching camera lock modes.
Obviously I reached that zen moment where you understand the game — when you start playing the game, instead of the game playing you. That hit around 40 hours into the experience. I get that, so you gamers with elitism can back off. This isn’t a Git Gud point I’m trying to make.
That’s because there are still plenty of legitimately bullshit criticisms of the game:
1. You can’t jump straight back into a boss fight after you lose. In a tough fight you’ll use up all your health potions and bullets, but you have to farm for them again first on your long walk back before the next fight. This is most noticeable with Blood Starved Beast and Shadow of Yarnham.
2. Camera and controls in relation to the camera when locked on are retarded — it would freak out over fights with big and quick enemies, and you will lose the lock on but by the time you figure it out you’re already dead.
3. Why are so many of the fun weapons in the end game or locked away in the DLC? Why are many of these weapons only reserved for New Game Plus?
4. The iframes mechanic is insane. I get the ducking and weaving aspect of fast action packed fights, but being invulnerable for a split second as an actual game mechanic is incredibly unintuitive.
5. All the hidden locations are impossible to find without you interacting with the Bloodborne community or a game wiki. Places like Abandoned Old Workshop, Iosefka’s Clinic, Nightmare Frontier, Forsaken Cainhurst Castle, Upper Cathedral Ward, and the DLC all require esoteric knowledge to access. For example, how does it make sense that in order to find Ebriatas, Daughter of the Cosmos, you have to break a window in another boss arena when none of the other windows in the game break?
6. To elaborate, that’s a criticism in itself — why is the knowledge to play the game so esoteric? For example, there’s a door you can interact with but you can’t open it — what the hell is up with that? Why is that still there after all the bug patches?
7. My final unpopular opinion is this — it’s not genius to tell the game story through item descriptions. This is a terrible story telling technique, especially for an action game. Tell the story through the world sure, just not randomly on the loading screen.
Bloodborne is a fun game, but you have to be nuts to play through to the end.
Which I did. To 100% completion.
However I think I’ll pass on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Elden Ring.