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Toughest Bosses

5: Emil Level 99 ('Nier: Automata')

Most people know Emil as the traveling shopkeeper in the City Ruins level. However, he’s also one of the toughest bosses in the game, as indicated by his level. You’ll need to spend some time increasing your own character level if you want to stand a chance against him. Once you do fight him, you’ll need to focus on multiple aspects of the  fight to stay alive. Make sure that the many floating heads don’t hit, because they deal heavy damage. In addition, you’ll also need to time the attacks by Emil’s cart so you can deflect them with a parry or dodge them altogether. You’ll also have to watch out for his giant beam attack, which is almost a guaranteed one-shot kill.


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4: Diablo ('Diablo III')

The final fight against the Prime Evil is difficult because it consists of three phases. In the first section, he uses a small set of attacks that each inflict a high amount of damage. In phase two, you’ll head into the Realm of Terror where you’ll fight a spectral version of Diablo and his clones, but you’ll also have to deal with his curse attacks. If you somehow managed to make it to the final part of the fight, you’ll still have to deal with a stronger and faster version of the boss. Throughout the fight you’ll need to time the use of your abilities and monitor your health just so you can survive for the next few seconds. If you’re careless, you’ll easily die after a few swipes from the Dark Lord.


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3: Nameless King ('Dark Souls III')

The fight against this optional boss is actually made up of two difficult combat encounters. In the first section, you’ll fight his drake, the King of the Storm. In addition to biting and flame attacks from the creature, the Nameless King will also hurl bolts of lightning from his spear at you. If you manage to kill the drake, you’ll face the real boss of the battle. The Nameless King is an agile warrior, as evidenced by his swift swipes and lunges with the spear. He also has a special stabbing attack that leaves you impaled on his weapon. Depending on your stats, it might be better to continuously dodge his attacks by rolling around or by keeping your shield up and hoping that you have enough stamina to withstand the onslaught.


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2: Senator Armstrong ('Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance')

Who better to represent the United States of America than a warmongering, corrupt senator with nanomachine implants that make him a nearly-unstoppable force? The evil Steven Armstrong employs bare-knuckled punches and foot stomps that summon a massive wall of fire from beneath the ground. Throughout the fight, he’ll also hurl massive piles of metal in your direction. To stay alive, you’ll need to time your attacks, parries, and button-mashing (during quick-time events) to survive Armstrong’s flurry of blows.


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1: Ornstein and Smough ('Dark Souls')

It’s only fitting that one of the most iconic bosses in FromSoftware’s Souls series is at the top of the list. Fighting one tough foe is hard enough in Dark Souls, but fighting two at once is another challenge. The spear-wielding Dragon Slayer Ornstein is the faster of the two bosses, and Executioner Smough carries a massive hammer. As you move throughout the fighting area, you’ll have to keep track of both opponents’ moves so you’re not accidentally hit by Smough while whittling down Ornstein’s health (or vice versa). When one falls, the remaining boss will absorb their fallen comrade’s power to gain health and deal additional damage. At that point the fight should be a piece of cake, right?


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Cast Your Vote!

We have new categories available in our ongoing Tom's Hardware Definitive List of PC Games threads in our forums. Be sure to head over to our voting page and contribute to the conversation.


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  • coolitic
    Honestly. every time Toms does a top-ten-anything for video games, the lists are always garbage and feel more like attempts at fan service.
    Reply
  • exroofer
    Sorry but if you put any from WoW in, Vaelestrazz ( the guildbreaker! ) from Vanilla has to be there.
    And C'thun pre-nerf.

    Dark Souls just straight up hated you....
    Reply
  • delaro
    Diablo of ('Diablo III') hard? He is one of the easiest bosses in the game.
    Reply
  • delaro
    Honestly Path of Exile bosses make Diablo III look like childsplay. Whoever wrote this should have given that game a go, D3 boss mechanics don't matter all that much but in POE one slip and your dead on quite a few fights.
    Reply
  • deepblue08
    In fact, I would bet to say that Diablo in Diablo2 is tougher than Diablo3 version.
    Reply
  • escapextacy
    Ghost of Lady Comstock was easy. Diablo in D3 was really pathetic on every difficulty level and Ebony warrior is only the second hardest enemy in skyrim (and that's only you if you don't use certain shout) ,
    Reply
  • LORD_ORION
    The problem with saying RPG bosses are tough is that they become super easy when out leveled.

    eg: Smough and Ornstein are super easy with a giant dad build because the Zweihander can knock them out of their move sets, and also because of the armor/health you have.
    Reply
  • J_E_D_70
    Coirnav was just hellish. We beat that one exactly once with a full 72-person raid for the boss/adds and a separate 24-person raid to crowd control the three minis.
    Reply
  • Twoboxer
    Without speaking to where this fight should rank, Kil'jaeden in Tomb of Sargeras is much tougher than Archimonde. Regardless of whether the fights are Normal, Heroic, or Mythic.
    Reply
  • Dugimodo
    People have short memories, many boss fights are incredibly difficult the first few attempts but become pretty easy as gear and experience improves and everyone learns the fight.

    Any time someone dares to suggest a boss might be hard you get flooded by comments by how easy it is and how you must be a noob. That's just noise to me and I ignore it.

    A couple I remember from Wow, we were a pretty casual guild and not serious raiders so we often struggled with things others had long since cleared. Deathwing and the Lich King come to mind, both easy fights with an experienced, geared, coordinated raid group but absolute nightmares for a bunch of amateurs learning for the first time.

    The safety dance in Naxx was all but impossible for us as well - but not becasue of it's difficulty. Try timing things like that when everybodys latency is in the 200-300ms range, we are an Aussie/ Kiwi guild and that was normal back then. Certainly added an extra level of difficulty.
    Reply