- Father Gascoigne is the Wake-Up Call Boss to end all Wake-Up Call Bosses. Potentially the first or second (depending on whether you fight the Cleric Beast first) boss you encounter, he is entirely designed to teach players to adapt to Bloodborne's aggressive combat style and Nintendo Hard difficulty. He fights the player like an NPC or PVP player would - he dodges your attacks, he tries to parry you with his gun, and he never lets up. He also transforms his Hunter Axe into the two-hand version, giving his attacks serious reach. His third phase is where most players perish within a matter of seconds; he fully transforms into a beast, gaining extremely quick, aggressive attacks which often combo into each other, leaving you stunned on the ground while he quickly destroys your health bar. Unless you've spent most of the game so far practicing dodging and stunning, good luck. If you found it, the Tiny Music Box will stun him for a few seconds, which can be a blessing during his beast form (or human forms, if you need the help), but it has its drawbacks. It doesn't immediately stun him, leaving you a sitting duck for a critical moment, and it will only work a few times. Even worse, if you're unwise enough to overuse it before the transformation, he'll actually turn into a beast early, leaving you to fend off a Lightning Bruiser with extra HP and no music box to counter him. It's very telling when Gascoigne, the first mandatory boss in the game, only has a clear rate of less than half (45.8% to be precise).
- Vicar Amelia. Father Gascoigne was the first boss to show you how punishing the game can be, but Vicar Amelia is made to cause rage. She has a large health pool compared to previous bosses and her attacks cover wide and long areas, so keeping your distance without being sliced to pieces is difficult. In her second phase she will become much more aggressive and can even heal if you make the mistake of keeping your distance, forcing you to throw Numbing Mist at her to stop it. As an extra "screw you", her Rapunzel Hair tends to completely fill the screen when you're behind her, making it impossible to see what you're doing. Be ready with Fire Paper and a good Serrated weapon, especially if you're courageous/skilled enough to decide to take her on early.
- The Shadows of Yharnam take precise positioning and decision making to beat, requiring the player to keep tabs on three different enemies, each with their own movement and attack speed. The first phase is relatively easy, as the magic user only occasionally shoots straight-forward fireballs, the candle-wielder is slow and the katana wielder is aggressive and fast, though predictable. All three are relatively simple to stagger and the environment can be used to your advantage. The issues start from the second phase onwards. Once one of the Shadows reaches a third of their health, they will grow snakes, much like the snake parasites in Forbidden Forest preceding the battle. Each Shadow gains extra abilities, with the katana and candle Shadow gaining a rather generous boost to the range of their weapons. It can be difficult to get close to the melee users as they spam their long-ranged melee attacks. Then once only one Shadow remains standing, it will attempt a lengthy spell you must interrupt, as failing to do so has the Shadow summon massive snakes that deal an incredible amount of damage.
- Rom, the Vacuous Spider requires a great deal of patience to beat. Unlike the game's other Flunky Bosses, her minions are a huge threat—one attack will reduce most players to one-third their HP—requiring you to split your attention between the boss and the minions. Even worse, with each stage she'll summon more. If you want to play it safe, you can try to thin out the spider swarm before engaging Rom herself, but doing so is very time-consuming and open you up to a quick death by Rom's meteor showers while your back is turned.
- And to top it off, the rematch with her in the Chalice Dungeons is much tougher still. It's the same setup as before, except the arena you fight her in is now a lot smaller. On the up side, this means she doesn't have a lot of space to run away to, but conversely, neither do you, so enjoy being swarmed by the baby spiders while Rom jovially spams meteor showers at you. And god help you if you happen to run into her in one of the Defiled Chalice Dungeons.
- The DLC, The Old Hunters introduces its difficulty with its first boss, Ludwig the Accursed, a gigantic beast with over a dozen unique attacks, incredible speed and strength, a difficult to predict moveset and tells, and savage combos. Ludwig is known as a skill check for the DLC, with several attacks fully capable of one-shotting a careless, or even careful player. Halfway through the fight, Ludwig enters his Holy Blade phase where he eschews his unpredictable attacks in his first-phase in favor of frenetic and fast-paced strikes and AOE attacks that while much more readable, still deal massive damage. Unsurprisingly, he's considered one of the greatest bosses in the game for his incredible, but fair, difficulty.
- The penultimate boss of the DLC, Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower is known for her difficulty. With swift and graceful strikes, Maria combines the pure skill of a veteran hunter and is capable of dodging most anything you dish out. While her first phrase can be strafed about, her second and third phases bring the pain whe using her Blood Blades enhances her reach and damage enormously, coupled with increasing aggression. Like Ludwig, she's also considered a high quality and difficult boss, but one of the game's highest challenge.
- The final boss of the DLC, the Orphan of Kos is considered one of, if not the hardest bosses in all of FromSoft's history and is the page image for a really good reason. He is almost mindlessly aggressive and hard-hitting and while his first phase is comparatively simple to master, his second is the player killer. His attacks are nigh-impossible to parry, with painful and relentlessly combos, chaining AOE attacks and powerful lightning blasts that are exceptionally difficult to dodge if you stand in the wrong place. Finding windows to attack is hard enough, compounded by his insane health pool. Not for nothing is he known for his psychotic levels of difficulty to cap off the very difficult Fishing Hamlet.
- Most of the NPC hunter fights are pretty challenging, as while they ostensibly use the same tools as you, they have unlimited stamina and ammo, and will happily spam range attacks at you all day long. And then, there's the Bloody Crow of Cainhurst, who only appears in the Grand Cathedral if you complete Eileen's quest line, after you find her wounded outside the door, and could potentially be the hardest hunter NPC fight in the entire game. He has a gigantic health pool standing at exactly 3510, which is the equivalent if not more than some of the bosses you face. Not to mention he also has maxed out stats and deals extreme amounts of damage, his Repeater Pistol can take half your health and he likes to use this constantly after dodging one of your attacks. Oh, and he likes to regularly use Old Hunter's bone which turns his strafing/dodging into outright Teleport Spam. You know a fight is especially difficult and brutal even by Soulsborne standards when the most common "recommended" strategy to beat it is by using a Good Bad Bug to exploit the Hunter AI with Blue Elixirs...
- If you're exploring the Chalice Dungeons and following the natural progression of dungeons you unlock in the course of unlocking the dungeon to the Pthumerian Queen, you are very likely to find yourself fighting the Watchdog of the Old Lords, which is a dog the way Cerberus is a chihuahua. While this beast is not much different from the giant monsters most players have been slaughtering by this point, what makes it an infuriating boss fight is the dungeon type in which it's fought in: a (Cursed and) Defiled Chalice Dungeon. In this dungeon, your HP is halved, as is the amount of HP you get from healing items. Fortunately, the physical damage you take is also halved. Unfortunately, elemental damage is not halved, and all of the Watchdog's attacks do fire damage. This means that even at high Vitality, the Watchdog can and will oneshot you with several of its attacks, and because it's so massive, it can obliterate you just by clipping you.turned.
That One Boss / Bloodborne