Better boss battles in games

recently played resident evil 6 with over the top bosses throughout the game. I get frustrated throughout these battles as they are dry, ridiculous and often require an annoying method to kill the boss. what I am proposing as that video games have a more cinematic and hopeless boss battle.

instead of a gigantic Mothra type boss or an incredible strong man that can shrug off shotgun shells to the face, have a cinematic endurance boss, lots and lots of enemies. its a simple idea but not many games have picked up on it what seems harder, hopeless and more cinematic and horde of enemies coming at you or a big stupid boss that you can run under.

i know that some games bosses have the main big boss as an arch nemesis but i feel that a horde is better than a one giant idiot creature. maybe i have played to many japanese made games recently but i really feel that a boss battle with seemingly endless waves is more preferable to the standard.

Thoughts?

There're plenty of boss hordes... the Battle of the 1000 Heartless in Kingdom Hearts 2... the finale of Halo: Reach... most GTA games involving a "boss mission", like the San Andreas turf wars... the Pyramid level in God Hand... the Devil Gate Trials in Okami... every Metal Slug game ever made... whenever a new enemy type is introduced in God of War... the list goes on. It can be either fun or repetitive, I don't think it's a win-win formula.

I prefer bosses of Dishonored's like. Where they're just as squishy and vulnerable as any other mook.

The best boss battles are the ones that get your adrenaline pumping, like in Dark Souls, and when you finally defeat them it's like a massive release of stress.

The worst boss battles are ones that you defeat with quick time events. Laziest design ever.

Horde bosses? Play Batman Arkham Asylum.
Nothing but goddamn horde bosses there, fair enough considering all the "super villains" are just regular chums that seem to be really good at convincing idiots to join their cause.

Dale wheeler:
recently played resident evil 6 with over the top bosses throughout the game. I get frustrated throughout these battles as they are dry, ridiculous and often require an annoying method to kill the boss. what I am proposing as that video games have a more cinematic and hopeless boss battle.

instead of a gigantic Mothra type boss or an incredible strong man that can shrug off shotgun shells to the face, have a cinematic endurance boss, lots and lots of enemies. its a simple idea but not many games have picked up on it what seems harder, hopeless and more cinematic and horde of enemies coming at you or a big stupid boss that you can run under.

i know that some games bosses have the main big boss as an arch nemesis but i feel that a horde is better than a one giant idiot creature. maybe i have played to many japanese made games recently but i really feel that a boss battle with seemingly endless waves is more preferable to the standard.

Thoughts?

I'm ok with hordes, so long as it isn't repetitive. Each wave should feature something new, new bad guys, new tricks on how to beat them. Endless waves is a big no-no.

Hordes that make you use crowd control are the best, like funneling enemies into a hallway filled with traps, or knocking them off cliffs. "Just keep killing dudes" is boring.

Not many games do a "horde boss fight" well. Lady Vashj from World of Warcraft is the best horde fight I can think of at the moment. That fight was tough, massive coordination needed by the whole raid. Making sure the ranged DPS were kiting/killing striders, needed two melee DPS and a good tank who could position properly to keep the coilfang elites from cleaving people, needed people on the edges killing elementals, tossing the ball around the raid, hunters misdirecting stuff, etc etc. And then in phase 3 you got to avoid all the sporebat goo, so you run out of floor space very quickly. One hectic fight.

I love puzzle bosses, or bosses that require you to utilize a skill you learned not too long ago to defeat them. Legend of Zelda bosses are usually the best example of these, and I love them for that.

Basically, I like any boss who's strategy to defeat is more complex than it just being like any other regular mook but with more health.

Also, UNIQUE bosses! I actually HATE it when a boss you fight turns into a regular common mook later in the game.

I think BioWare especially should take note of this. The combat in their games is generally superb, but damn are their boss battles ever lackluster.

I generally like my boss fights to be flashy and turn everything up to 11 like Bayonetta and MGRs, Child of Eden and hard as nails like any oldschool arcade game boss Mushihimisama Futari.

While Boss Rushs are fun I generally prefer standard bossfights. A good bossfight should test the player on any skills he has learned in the level, but must also apply those skills with abit of strategy or pattern memorization.

The biggest taboo for a boss fight to break is to outstay their welcome and last for too long. Gears of War 1's last boss is an offender of this if you play it in hard mode, it's made even worse by the fact there is no boss healthbar so you are at a loss how much damage you are doing and how far you are off killing him.

The Euro indie dev Konjak, he knows the Treasure style of boss battles. Both Noitu Love 1 & 2 are great fun.

Metal Gear Solid series has the best boss battles in my opinion, because they are actual people who seem as if they would actually go on and do other stuff if they managed to defeat you. You, the protagonist, are not their world. They have their own stuff going on and are only dealing with you because the situation demands it.

Best boss fights are... how do I phrase this? Ones that are very emotionally investing I guess. I will use the final boss of the new Devil May Cry because that has got to be the best boss fight I have seen for awhile.

It's not that hard once you get his patterns down but there was the awesome build up to the fight beforehand and (i'll just give it away because I believe people will have made their mind up about the game by now) the fact that it's both Dontay and Vergul, essentially coming to an impasse and realising there is no other way to resolve it other than having an awesome sword fight. I find that particularly interesting, maybe because them fighting at the end never even crossed my mind before... Even though that's precisely the original relationship between Dante and Vergil in DMC3.

I suppose I mean to say the best bosses are the ones where you have an above average motivation to defeat them, or the relationship between the two fighting is interesting in and of itself so the subtle meaning behind the fight is better than just defeat a generic boss trying to END THE WORLD.

I'll also mention the final boss of Dust: An Elysian Tail because that's the same kind of thing. You have a final confrontation with the main villian which was what the entire game was building up to.

Oh and Persona 4 because they have great designs, pretty balanced difficulty, a good build up and the entire point of fighting them is because of amazing characterisation.

People will say Dark Souls but I find the bosses to be difficult with very cool designs but that's about where it ends. This thing is randomly in my way, therefore I must kill it. End of story. Not very interesting huh?

Ok spoilering this because I ramble on when I explain why the Dark Souls story is wank (at least in presentation)

Fighting vergil on DMD mode on the later fights in DMC3. That shit was nuts.

Dale wheeler:
recently played resident evil 6 with over the top bosses throughout the game. I get frustrated throughout these battles as they are dry, ridiculous and often require an annoying method to kill the boss. what I am proposing as that video games have a more cinematic and hopeless boss battle.

instead of a gigantic Mothra type boss or an incredible strong man that can shrug off shotgun shells to the face, have a cinematic endurance boss, lots and lots of enemies. its a simple idea but not many games have picked up on it what seems harder, hopeless and more cinematic and horde of enemies coming at you or a big stupid boss that you can run under.

i know that some games bosses have the main big boss as an arch nemesis but i feel that a horde is better than a one giant idiot creature. maybe i have played to many japanese made games recently but i really feel that a boss battle with seemingly endless waves is more preferable to the standard.

Thoughts?

Depends on the game.

But a classic boss has been, will and should be that "one giant idiot creature" as you said so. Its more personal on a player level (And probably on a character level if the story is about said 2 characters), I like that more.

But horders of enemies are also good, but in a not so personal level, its more like "lets have a blast!" and not like "Oh SHIT is this guy again" than the ONE boss does give.

So basically, to reflect this using other posterīs opinions:

Exius Xavarus:
I prefer bosses of Dishonored's like. Where they're just as squishy and vulnerable as any other mook.

This is the very polar oppositive of my opinion. Not that theres anything bad about it, but that kind of defeats the whole purpose of a boss battle. Unless its more of a story matter, but since story is a clear secondary IMO... I just prefer classic boss battles.

ShinyCharizard:
The best boss battles are the ones that get your adrenaline pumping, like in Dark Souls, and when you finally defeat them it's like a massive release of stress.

The worst boss battles are ones that you defeat with quick time events. Laziest design ever.

This one is definitivly what I agree on 100%. Althougt I havent played DS nor I plan to, but I get what the post is trying to say.

Mmm...I never believed in the idea that any boss battle stands on its own. You have some amount of buildup, no matter what, and other experiences of the other bosses also have an impact on how good the bosses are.

Of course, naturally one might say the best bosses are always those in narrative-driven games, or at least the final bosses, because of the amount of build up, the emotional investment in that we want to see them dead coupled with us identifying with the character...it's very powerful. It's not just a gameplay element, but something that combines two different elements, fusing them to provide an experience. But if the gameplay sucks, so does the boss battle. It's a TOTAL letdown.

The interesting thing about that is that you can have a sucky story or no story at all and still have an amazing boss, because the battles themselves are really engaging. I found that going through that first level of Dark Souls an ungodly amount of times (then figuring out how to dodge every foe to get to the boss), then figuring out how to knock it down was so much more rewarding than most of the piss poor story based boss battles that I've encountered at the end of most recent games I've played.

What's so intriguing about that is it does this not by making things over the top and complicated, but by getting down to the basics. It's all about recognizing simple patterns, dodging, and having good timing. It tests the player. It engages them. No matter how much story you have, it can't fill that bad gameplay hole. In fact, that bad gameplay can sour even the greatest gaming stories! The best boss battles have tight gameplay.

Regarding final bosses: I prefer a face-off with a rival character. A one-on-one duel to the end, each character with equal skill and determination, a perfect battle with a clear mind on both sides. As such, DMC3 is the absolute perfect battle. Even the new DmC has this. Another good example is MGS4's final fist fight...In fact, all MGS final bosses have been sublime.

As for penultimate boss battles: That's where I enjoy fighting the horde. One climactic moment that ends most of the issues in the game, aside the MC's personal demons. See DMC again with it's boss rushes (I love those. A chance to kick all the bosses ass in one mission. Brilliant.) Kingdom Hearts II had this as well, with you facing off each surviving Organisation member before tackling Xemnas.

I also enjoy bosses that break usual gameplay: Something different to what you're used to, but not done in such a way it breaks the core gameplay too much. See Psycho Mantis for a perfect example of this. Kingdom Hearts II again had you fight Luxord in an unorthodox manner, yet retaining most of the core gameplay.

If anyone remembers the Sands of Time series, those games had amazing boss fights, the first game (sands of time) aside. Other amazing boss fights were; Ganondorf in Ocarina of time and then again in Twilight Princess, the Tower Knight in Demon's Souls, Virgil in DMC3 and as Nelo Angelo in DMC, Dark Link in Ocarina of TIme, Ghirahim from Skyward Sword.

I personally enjoy bosses that were a joke at the start of the game. Particularly if they only fight you after you reject their offer of being a sidekick or something. Maybe they have boss music and everything but you always one hit them. Then, with subtle hints throughout the game that you are likely to miss on your first playthrough, he comes back for revenge. Just as you save the world or whatever you were trying to do, this guy shows up. Suddenly this 'joke' isn't so funny anymore when he is infinitely tougher to beat then the guy you thought was the final boss.
That flower he tried to kill you with in the first five minutes of the game? Yeah, its a giant floral hydra now. You thought his bubble gun was cute? Yeah, now the bubbles block your every attack.
Maybe turning him down wasn't such a good idea.

seems like its not too poplar, I suppose the the main factor to my creation of this post was influenced by resident evil 6 annoying bosses like simmons that keep coming back. i guess a face off with the antagonist is the best.

MrDelicious:
Metal Gear Solid series has the best boss battles in my opinion, because they are actual people who seem as if they would actually go on and do other stuff if they managed to defeat you. You, the protagonist, are not their world. They have their own stuff going on and are only dealing with you because the situation demands it.

very true mgs boss battles are well done, liquid ocelot at the end of 4 was very good.

Hoardes don't make a good boss fight per say. Every option has a chance to mess up somewhere or another. For my personal favorite kinds of boss fight I have to go with the one on one duel to the death with your rival style. Of course when you bring this up people say DMC3 but also God Hand is an amazing example of this as you and the boss are evenly matched.

Or another good kind of fight is when you have to take down something much bigger than you with no directions as to how. Again DMC has done this amazingly. Of course this runs the risk of turning into a hit the glowing weak spot/quick time event but when done right it is an amazing experience.

I was playing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess a while back, and there were three particular bosses that stood out to me. (Don't worry; no spoilers!)

The first boss (in the Forest Temple) was some sort of plant monster that seemed like something out of Metroid Prime. Nothing too flashy outside the presentation. There was a monkey (who was the dungeon's miniboss with the mind-control bug gone; don't ask) who was swinging across the battlefield with stuff (it was bombs, I think) to use your wind-powered boomerang to hurl into the monster's mouth. Pretty cool stuff.

Another boss (in the Arbiter Grounds) was this skeletal beast. And it was huge. Also, the monster looked like something out of Doom, somehow. It's in a giant round room, and you've got to ride this large spinning top to the center so you can attack chunks of his spine away piece-by-piece. Also, you've got to do this while dodging undead soldiers that pop out of the sand. After that, his skull is all that's left, and you ride the spinner up a pillar, bouncing back and forth between the large round pillar and the well as you dodge his fireballs. This fight was a blast.

Finally, there was a rather nostalgic boss (in the Temple of Time) in the form of a giant spider, reminiscent of the first boss from Ocarina of Time. What made this fight so interesting is after you've beaten the spider, and the "boss defeated" jingle plays as Link strikes a pose, the jingle is suddenly cut short, accompanied with a surprised look on Link's face, as he sees that the spider is still alive. However, it's now down to the size of a cat, as opposed to... say... the Tyrannosaurus size it was earlier. All the while, it's just trying to run away. This phase is considerably less challenging and intense and more funny and weird.

Also, I was playing Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg the other day, and there's a boss that makes puddles on the stage and is then able to splash into and underneath the puddles as if they were several yards deep. That's really cool.

I dont think there is any set formula on what a boss fight should be a horde is no better or worse than a single entity it all depends on how its handled.

Is the boss interesting and engaging? does it have good design does it provide a challenge and is it fair that being the single most important thing in my book there is nothing worse than facing some ridiculously overpowered cheating piece of shit boss that even if you beat you feel it was more down to luck than skill because lets say he/her/it didnt do its instant death move on you or something this time or decided not to dodge all of your moves.

This is gameplay wise anyway a boss could be awesome story wise and rubbish gameplay wise if you equate boss with a harder enemy, lots of JRPGs do good boss fights imo and it breaks up the otherwise tedium of whaling on ordinary enemies the boss fights in The Last Story were fantastic one of the final bosses you could even trip up with a bannana skin and steal his weapon and even better if you killed him with it you got to keep it.

Some joke bosses are also fun such as the goldfish in Earthworm Jim for instance and the boss fights in Naruto Shippuden ultimate Ninja storm 2 were epic they even used QTE well so they were a joy to do and I hate QTE especially in God of War bloody hell they pissed me off there press x to finish boss now square now square again now triangle oh sorry not fast enough now watch as the boss punishes you with a devastating attack and regains half its life...yeah this is fun.

I think my favourite boss battles were with Seymour in FFX. They were tricky enough that you would need to work your arse off to beat him unless you had powerlevelled, and my god it felt satisfying to beat him. There's a point where he pops up and summons anima, and the first time I tried to beat that I got my shit pushed in royally. And then later you have to fight the dark aeons. And wow are they tough. I think they were bossfights done right, and is a incidence where a horde would have been poor.

I do think alot of games miss the mark with boss fights though. Of course the obvious example being Deus Ex HR.

No More Heroes, guys.

Foul mouthed superheroes, sadistic magicians, heavily armed amputees, British Jedi and more await the cool heat of your beam katana.

 

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