16 Hardest Boss Fights of 2023

Last year was difficult to top in terms of boss fights, especially after the launch of Elden Ring, but 2023 still offers plenty of challenging encounters that will test your skills. Whether it’s post-launch enemies in monster-hunting games, a classic boss remastered or the final boss in a niche hack-and-slash title, these are the toughest boss fights of the year.

Primordial Malzeno – Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak

The final post-launch monster added to Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, Primordial Malzeno is an enhanced version of Malzeno with way more health and damage. He’ll pummel you with smashes and swipes and unleashes Qurio projectiles, tail strikes and lasers in his frenzied state. Did we mention he can teleport around? All of this is before his insane supernova attack, which unleashes even more projectiles and energy waves before culminating in a big explosion. If that weren’t enough, he enters a Risen state near the end and goes insane with big attacks.

Dragon – Ark: Survival Ascended

The Dragon has remained a threat since Ark: Survival Evolved launched, and with Survival Ascended only having the island, it’s now the toughest boss in the remake. Regardless of which version is faced, its fire breath will deal damage equivalent to 20 percent of max health, regardless of armor or resistance (though dinosaurs immune to fire are safe). Other attacks, like its fireballs, are also dangerous, and it has Dimorphs and Pteranodons to help as well. Those playing solo should prepare for a long grueling fight.

Richter – Wanted: Dead

Wanted Dead - Richter

As the final boss of Wanted: Dead, Richter is fought one-on-one, which means no revives. He’ll dodge all bullets and can only be damaged with a katana. Which is fine, except you must parry almost every attack, and counter to stun and damage him. It’s all easier said than done when dealing with his fast strikes, and he becomes much more dangerous in the second phase, adding an insta-kill move to his arsenal. He also gains the option to heal because, of course, he does.

Horus Titan – Horizon Forbidden West Burning Shores

horizon forbidden west burning shores

Even with the new Specter Gauntlet, the battle against the Horus Titan can be a doozy. It’s massive and constantly moving, with Aloy needing to expose its heat vents and deal damage. The second part of the fight involves avoiding its tendrils while facing it head-on, which is also challenging. Once it finally falls, you still need to venture inside and take out Walter Londra, which isn’t as difficult but still somewhat tricky.

Metroid Prime – Metroid Prime Remastered

Sure, Metroid Prime originally launched in 2002, but its final boss remains one of the toughest in the entire series to this day. It adapts to your weapons in the first phase, so switching it up is necessary, and things become even more unhinged when its core is exposed. Not only is it more aggressive and dangerous, but you need to use different visors to find it while using Phazon pools to charge up Samus and deal damage.

King of Puppets – Lies of P

Lies of P_02

You feel bad for the King of Puppets, especially when he’s trying to rescue P from a dark fate. Unfortunately, a puppet king spurned is a puppet king mad, and his first phase consists of slow but heavy attacks with extensive range. They become more complex and tougher to parry, and when you think he’s down for the count, Romeo, the actual King, emerges from the oversized suit. The battle becomes fast-paced, as you must keep track of his movements and slices, presumably with very little healing after the first phase.

The Unbroken Promise – Lords of the Fallen

What’s scarier? Having to face Harrower Dervla with her wide-range attacks or a version of her that’s stronger and wields Umbral Magic? The Unbroken Promise proved to be the latter, unleashing powerful attacks and magic with little downtime after taking over Dervla’s body. It can manifest an Umbral set of nails to follow and strike you or circle it at a moment’s notice with surprising speed.

Kale – Hi-Fi Rush

Hi-Fi Rush - Kale

As the leader of Vandelay Technologies, Kale proves to be more than just a snobby executive. On top of devastating slashes and lightning strikes, he reveals four mechanical tentacles, which can slam the ground, create barriers, Z-shielding and more. His final phase is even wilder, as he starts summoning pillars of fire on top of wide-arcing slashes.

Annihilation – Remnant 2

This is easily the most challenging boss in the game and especially brutal at launch before the nerfs. It has three faces, from homing projectiles and massive sword swings to a giant energy ball, while flying around the place. The second phase takes place in a different dimension with a new form and brand new attacks, with Annihilation switching back and forth between both phases mid-attack. It’s disorienting, and attacks are brutal, but even after surviving, you need to deal with hordes of enemies in the third phase before it finally dies.

Mitra – Ghostrunner 2

Ghostrunner 2 - Mitra

How difficult you find Mitra will depend on how challenging a bullet hell fight with excessive platforming can be. From that perspective, he’s especially punishing as the fight wears on, with the Cybervoid presenting all kinds of traversal challenges as you avoid his projectiles. Due to the nature of the game, a single hit is fatal, which means you need to execute everything without any flaws.

Tsukuyomi – WILD HEARTS

WILD HEARTS - Tsukuyomi

For all the things WILD HEARTS suffered from throughout its lifespan, the Kemono continue to pose a challenge. Tsukuyomi is the toughest yet, with excessive health, immense damage and a predisposition to attack off-camera when you can barely set it coming. The fact that you must rely on specific elements to defeat it isn’t a new concept (see Alatreon from Monster Hunter World: Iceborne), but this is still a slog of a fight.

Lu Bu – Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

Wo Long Fallen Dynasty

Good ol’ Lu Bu remains a tough boss, even after all these months. Maybe it’s the fact that he deals absurd damage from range with arrows or up close with his spear. Maybe it’s the horse running around the arena, disrupting you even after Lu Bu is knocked off (which he can also get back on whenever). Regardless, he’s still rough, especially at this point in the game.

Ranrok Dragon – Hogwarts Legacy

As a final boss, Ranrok Dragon has a fair amount of attacks in his arsenal, unleashing projectiles and sweeping beams, the latter doing excessive damage. There’s also a massive explosive field in the second phase that must be avoided. You must destroy the floating orbs to deal any real damage, which becomes more challenging in the third phase when he lands and assails you with physical attacks.

Behemoth King – Final Fantasy 16

As one of five S-Rank Notorious Marks, Behemoth King is an optional boss fight and not required to finish the game. Nevertheless, it’s a worthy challenge for those who want to push their combat skills. If the name wasn’t a clue, it’s akin to regular Behemoth in some ways, but with more health and damage. It throws out tornados and meteors casually, with Reign of Fire triggering a storm of meteors when it’s at half health. Perhaps the only comfort is that Behemoth King dies when its health is depleted, unlike the regular version.

Bode Akuna (2nd Fight) – Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Unlike the first fight, you’re taking on Bode proper, with Merrin assisting. The first phase isn’t too rough despite several fast attacks and his unorthodox fighting style. However, when he starts dealing with wide-ranging attacks and chucking grenades, it becomes tougher. The second phase sees Bode throwing his lightsaber, which follows you, and throws stun grenades while firing at range. He also throws some unblockable attacks, and having to complete another phase after this while not being able to recharge health or Stims makes this the most challenging encounter in the game.

IB-01: CEL 240 – Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon

Armored Core 6 Fires of Rubicon - IB-01 CEL 240

As one of the C-weapons powered by Coral, the IB-01: CEL 240 is fast, unleashes waves with its energy swords and even relies on remote satellites to hit you with lasers, often all at once. Getting a bead on it can be difficult, but with enough perseverance, it’ll fall. That is until it suddenly reactivates and adds new moves, like unleashing even more satellites to rain down lasers, more aggressive melee attacks, and even transforming into a firebird to ram into you.