Top 20 Hardest Modern Video Game Bosses
VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci
WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
The past 15 years of gaming has given us some of the hardest bosses of all time! For this list, we're only looking at bosses from the 7th console generation onwards; roughly 2005 to the present day. Our countdown includes Icon of Sin “Doom Eternal” (2020), Morgan Freeman “South Park: The Fractured But Whole” (2017), Sephiroth “Kingdom Hearts II” (2005), Vergil “Devil May Cry 5” (2019), Sigrun, the Valkyrie Queen “God of War” (2018) and more!
Script written by Caitlin Johnson
Top 20 Hardest Modern Bosses
Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 20 hardest modern bosses.
For this list, we’re only looking at bosses from the 7th console generation onwards; roughly 2005 to the present day.
Let us know in the comments which boss you found the most challenging
#20: Terramorphous the Invincible
“Borderlands 2” (2012)
You definitely don’t want to face Terramorphous solo; in fact, anything less than a full party of four is likely a death sentence. The quest is called “ You. Will. Die. (Seriously.)” and it lives up to the name. Only opening up when you’ve finished “Borderlands 2’s” story, this boss is designed to be taken on at the very end of the game when you’re at the max level possible. Going in any earlier makes you either very brave or very stupid – or maybe both. Before facing Terramorphous you’ll want to invest in a lot of upgrades to increase your ammo capacity, get the best equipment you can find, and perhaps even lower the difficulty. But above all, do not go it alone.
#19: Icon of Sin
“Doom Eternal” (2020)
By the end of the game, only one thing stands between the Doom Slayer and his mission to save Earth from total annihilation. That “thing” is the Icon of Sin, a being summoned to consume humanity in the finale. The Icon has a wide range of damaging attacks it can utilize to smite you; you need to be fast on your feet to avoid both this fearsome creature and the seemingly endless enemies that it spawns. Between killing low-level enemies for health and ammo drops, and trying to knock off the Icon’s armo, there’s a lot going on. It will probably take you quite a few attempts to get a handle on what the hell is happening in this chaotic conclusion—let alone conquer the Icon.
“Cave Story” (2004)
Sealed away underground, Ballos reveals himself to be the true antagonist of “Cave Story” and the final boss for Quote and his friends to defeat. You’ll only encounter Ballos if you’re on track for the game’s “best” ending, traveling to hell itself. Ballos is an ominous figure even when you first meet him, but he’s got a variety of forms for you to go through—and each form is freakier than the last one. Beating him is an art; you’ll have had to master the game’s controls and perfected your attacks to avoid getting caught by his flying eyeballs and land hits of your own. But first, you’ll want to have found all the best weapons.
#17: Senator Armstrong
“Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance” (2013)
The Senator from Texas has the floor. And he’s going to use that floor to absolutely destroy Raiden and anyone else naïve enough to take him on without a solid strategy. Armstrong is a politician on a mission to seize control of America, but not satisfied with working behind a desk, he’s also used advanced nanotechnology to make himself a physical powerhouse.This fight isn’t made any easier by the tricky battle arena; your fight begins in a small area surrounded by invisible walls. Armstrong is just as difficult for Raiden to beat narratively as it is for you; combined with the total lack of checkpoints, he’s sure to stop you in your tracks.
#16: Morgan Freeman
“South Park: The Fractured But Whole” (2017)
Morgan Freeman is without a doubt the hardest boss in the game, but luckily he’s also an optional one. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to win that illustrious Farts Over Freckles trophy you’re going to have to brave this boss fight at some point or another. But, we REALLY don’t recommend trying to fight Mr. Freeman until you’ve beaten the game and your character is upgraded to the max, because he starts off with 9999 hit points and has a powerful fart attack that can kill any of your party members instantly. Also, in the second phase of the fight he has twice the amount of turns as the first. You’re going to need a whole lot of healing potions (and double the amount of patience) to survive this battle.
#15: Mr. X (Super Tyrant)
“Resident Evil 2” (2019)
There are a few things that make this battle frustratingly hard but none more so than Mr. X’s instant-kill charge attack. If you’re low on ammo at this point, the fight is basically impossible, as you have to stagger Mr. X with a shot to the heart while he’s charging up to lunge at you. And it’s likely that you will be low on ammo at this point because much of the fight has you unloading bullets into the monster’s heart, which is pretty small and easily missed. Then there’s the issue of the platform itself and how small it is compared to the enormity of the boss – not to mention his decent speed, long reach and powerful regular attacks. Aim. Shoot. Don’t miss!
“Kingdom Hearts II” (2005)
One of the most iconic “Final Fantasy” villains of all time, Sephiroth was inevitably going to show up in “Kingdom Hearts” eventually. But rather than introduce him as a big bad, he’s instead an optional boss that Sora can avoid fighting—though he is part of the story. Considering Sephiroth is easily the most difficult boss in the entire game, boasting an insane amount of HP, only the worthiest of players will be able to face him and win. He hasn’t been made any easier to fight in his reappearances since the original “Final Fantasy VII”, either. He’s still a deadly match for Cloud in the 2020 remake.
#13: The Nameless King
“Dark Souls III” (2016)
You can’t say you’ve truly beaten “Dark Souls II” until you take down the Nameless King and his deadly stormdrake, King of the Storm. It’s a fight that has made even the best and most popular players rage-quit time and time again. Once you’ve killed the King’s steed, it’s time to go head-to-head with the Nameless King himself – who’s just as powerful as his pet monster. Another dual fight that can be a chore is the Ornstein and Smough boss in the original game. Just like the Nameless King will absorb the electrical damage of the dragon, Ornstein and Smough will take on one another’s powers depending on who you kill first.
#12: Extreme Behemoth
“Monster Hunter: World” (2018)
When a boss makes their entrance by coming crashing down from the heavens inside a meteorite, you know it’s going to be difficult to kill. Taking the Extreme Behemoth down alone is possible but certainly not advised; unless you’re an absolute pro, you’ll want a group of friends with some very specific and balanced builds. It’s no use focusing entirely on damage, you need a tank to keep its attention, a healer to make sure you’re all alright, and a lot of DPS behind you to help with one of the fight’s phases. To make matters worse, unlike the regular Behemoth, the Extreme variety will eventually become immune to the flash pods typically usually used to interrupt certain attacks.
#11: Father Rodin
Like a lot of other hidden, optional bosses, Rodin’s difficulty level is unlike anything else experienced in the main campaign. While the first “Bayonetta” game is quite challenging on its own, there’s literally no room for error with Rodin, what with his blindingly fast speed and punishing attacks. One wrong move and you’ll lose most of your health bar or even be instantly killed. Also, halfway through the battle, Rodin starts using his most powerful attacks more regularly, making this fight seem almost unfair. Dodge, dodge, and dodge again; be confident and precise in your attacks; and, most importantly, may the videogame Gods smile upon you because you’re going to need all the help you can get!
“Persona 5” (2017)
Finally, once you’ve practically beaten the game and have cleared out the furthest depths of Mementos, you’ll come face-to-face with “Persona 5’s” actual villain, Yaldabaoth. This fight is all about speed and trying to kill the boss before it can deal too much damage, but it’s made even harder by the fact this is the second of two boss fights you’re going to fight back-to-back – the first being against the Holy Grail before it reveals its true form. As with any turn-based RPG, you need to have a robust strategy going in with plenty of items for replenishing SP and HP. If you watch all the cutscenes, this fight can take even a skilled player a while to complete.
“Devil May Cry 5” (2019)
Even if you’re playing on “Human” difficulty to enjoy the game’s absurd story and button-mashy combat, the stage bosses can still be quite tough, and Vergil is definitely the hardest. In Dante’s final battle versus his brother, the first half of the fight is manageable if you keep moving and only attack when there’s an opening; but, when Vergil uses his Devil Trigger halfway through you’ll need to either memorize his blazing fast attack patterns in order to parry or just run away like a coward. This fight calls for lots of patience when the majority of the game is spent on the offensive, and if you’re overeager when facing Vergil, he’s going to carve you up like a Thanksgiving turkey.
#8: Shibata Katsuie
“Nioh 2” (2020)
Both a human and a Yokai, Shibata Katsuie has plenty of frustrating attacks in his repertoire that you’ll need to learn before you can defeat him. Most important is remembering to dodge when he charges at you, and then going in close for a combo as soon as he stops bouncing off the walls. Your best bet is to deal lots of poison damage to him because that’s his weakness. Be wary, however, of the guardian spirit he can summon; this is an aggressive boar that deals fire damage. Make sure you know what you’re doing and load up on powerful equipment. With enough preparation, you might manage to beat Shibata Katsuie without breaking any controllers.
#7: Grim Matchstick
As if this fight wouldn’t have been hard enough just learning Grim’s attack patterns over three forms, but dealing with the randomly occurring cloud platforms just seems cruel… Sometimes in order not to fall to your death, you have to eat a projectile from Grim just to land safely on a cloud, making for a frustrating “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. The first two stages of this fight, while still frustrating, are manageable with well-timed jumps. But, it’s the last phase that had us wanting to rage quit! You’ll need to have some amazing concentration skills to keep track of the clouds, orange balls and flamethrower all at once.
#6: Theseus & Asterius
The nature of the Underworld is that everybody’s either immortal or already dead – so every time Zagreus dies and returns to the House of Hades, so do all of his foes. Though not the final boss, the combo fight against Theseus and Asterius will have you pulling your hair out in frustration. And this is only made worse by the fact that Theseus is a sore loser. When one of them dies the other gets a power-up in the form of a godly boon for Theseus and a debilitating attack boost for Asterius. They’re such a notorious pair that this might actually be the hardest fight in the entire game—even if you’ve already completed it and are just going for additional runs.
#5: Sigrun, the Valkyrie Queen
“God of War” (2018)
For all the work that goes into even reaching this boss, you’d think that she’d be slightly more forgiving, but… nope! That’s wishful thinking! All the previous Valkyrie fights have basically just been training for the Queen, and she uses all the move sets from the previous Valkryies as well, making her attack arsenal almost overwhelming. It’s not just that she has a lot of moves either, but she has a few that are incredibly powerful – like her flying mace slam – and are likely to end your game really quick if you’re not paying attention. You’ll need to be constantly blocking and looking for an opportunity to parry in order to get the upper hand in this tense battle.
If you’re brave enough to take the genocide route and challenge Sans in “Undertale” you’re likely the kind of gamer who is looking for punishing difficulty. Well, congrats! You found it! You’ll need to memorize these grueling mini-games patterns within an inch of perfection while continuously dying over and over again due to their frustrating difficulty. Seriously, just watching some of these patterns makes us feel dizzy… There’s no other way to progress this battle but to fight Sans, so make sure you bring as many recovery items with you as possible. He’s not impossible, but he can sure feel like it at times.
“Demon’s Souls” (2020)
In another case where the arena itself adds to a lot of a fight’s difficulty, you’ll face Maneater while stuck on an incredibly narrow bridge. Not only do you need to worry about fighting the boss, you also need to watch your footing to ensure you don’t fall to your doom. But then just when you think you’ve got the upper hand, the Maneater will summon a friend so that you’re up against two of these fearsome creatures. After all that, you’ve still got to watch out for poison damage if you don’t get rid of that tail fast enough. Everything is working against you in this battle.
#2: Orphan of Kos
“Bloodborne: The Old Hunters” (2015)
As if the bosses in “Bloodborne” weren’t tough enough, the “Old Hunters” DLC went ahead and upped the difficulty and gave us some of the toughest baddies in the entire Souls series. And, Kos is definitely up there as one of the hardest. If his loud shrieking doesn’t wreck your nerves, the second phase of this battle sure will, as Kos grows wings and just becomes a pure, unpredictable maniac! Parrying is key to the first stage of the fight, but staying still for long enough to even think of parrying in the second stage feels like a death sentence thanks to Kos’ insane leaping attacks and powerful lighting charges. Practice makes perfect, yeah… but you’ll need a bit of luck upending ole Kos.
#1: Isshin, The Sword Saint
“Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” (2019)
In previous FromSoftware games, you could always summon another gamer to help you with tough bosses. Not so in “Sekiro,” however, as there’s no multiplayer available. So… you’re on your own! Sure, the first stage of this battle isn’t that hard, as a well-timed deflect leaves Isshin open to damage; but, the second stage of this fight is insane and is really all about survival. Isshin’s giant spear is much harder to deflect and has way more range than his sword, so it’s best to just stay clear of him unless you’re a deflecting master. Get the occasional shot in when you can, but DO NOT linger, as Issin’s combo attacks are brutal.