It’s a great year for games thus far, whether you’re looking for titles that set new visual standards, expansive worlds, or incredible stories. It’s also been a year of memorable boss fights, with larger-than-life conflicts and clashes that must be seen. Here are the 15 best boss fights of the year so far. Spoilers follow for titles like Final Fantasy 16, Hogwarts Legacy, Dead Space Remake, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores and more, so beware.
Bahamut – Final Fantasy 16
This fight is impressive in many ways, not just because it’s coming after the battles with Titan but because of how much more epic the scale feels. You’re fighting on the ground as Ifrit and get an awesome beam attack. Then you transition to a Panzeer Dragoon-style shoot ’em up as Phoenix, which is way cooler than the first time you played him in the Prologue. Ifrit and Phoenix then team up before combining and battling Bahamut in the planet’s orbit. It’s flashy but substantial and becomes even more exciting with each new sequence.
Golden Tempest – WILD HEARTS
The Golden Tempest is first spotted grooming its paws like a cat would. How cute. It then proceeds to obliterate you with sand projectiles that expand on impact, sometimes covering the immediate area. Of course, its physical attacks are arguably worse since they chunk a significant amount of health on hit. Perhaps the coolest part is when it creates a sand orb in the air and slam-dunks it for a massive explosion. Difficult? Yes, but Golden Tempest also feels fair and is still one of the best bosses in the game, despite so many new additions post-launch.
Metroid Prime – Metroid Prime Remastered
Metroid Prime isn’t just one of the greatest bosses ever made – it’s also one of the toughest out there. That still holds in Metroid Prime Remastered as it adapts to your attacks and even changes forms as the battle progresses, requiring different weapons, scanning modes, and more to succeed. It’s an exceptional final boss that tests your mastery of every mechanic and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Lu Bu – Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty has its share of tough fights, and for many, Lu Bu is one of the toughest, despite being in the middle of the game. He starts on horseback, riding around, firing arrows and leaping into the air to slam back down. While things seem like they’ll be easier when he’s knocked off, Lu Bu doesn’t miss a beat, firing off rapid shots and unleashing flaming spear strikes that deal massive damage. His horse is also running around during all this and can hurt you if you get in its path. Even with Cao Cao and Guan Yu fighting alongside you, Lu Bu takes on anyone and everyone without missing a beat.
Leviathan Remnant – Dead Space Remake
If you ever felt like the Leviathan was too much of a pushover, then good news: The remake adds the Leviathan Remnant, which requires activating cannons and targeting it to destroy. More than combat, it’s a showcase and test of your Zero-G traversal skills as you float from one objective to the next to deal damage while avoiding the Remnant’s projectiles and even traverse a minefield before taking it.
Roquefort – Hi-Fi Rush
Hi-Fi Rush is full of incredible boss battles, but there’s something about Roquefort. Maybe it’s the high-powered, sleek-looking mecha wolf suit or him moving around quickly, using hit-and-run tactics. The fight eventually progresses to other areas, as you call in Korsica, to help during a rhythm mini-game, dodge laser nets, and avoid attacks from below in a giant vault with gold coins. Best of all is the ending, where Roquefort gets his just deserts.
Titan Lost – Final Fantasy 16
If any battle could emulate the feel of the old-school God of War games, it’s Titan Lost in Final Fantasy 16. Fresh off of a knock-down, drag-out brawl with Titan, Hugo Kupka absorbs the surrounding Aether and becomes absolutely massive, towering over Clive and Ifrit. What follows are auto-running sequences firing boulders out of the sky and cinematic moments as Ifrit jumps from one stone tentacle to another and turns them against Titan Lost, culminating in a crazy final attack. The crazy part is that the battle continues beyond this and still manages exceptional heights in epicness.
Primordial Malzeno – Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
As the last free monster added to Sunbreak, Primordial Malzeno is a force to reckon with. It has similar attacks as the original while mixing in new combos with its wing swipes and tail lashes. When powered up, it begins unleashing beams, flames, rupturing the ground, and much more in an over-the-top display. It’s overwhelming and almost a force of nature, which fits well with its almost uncontrollable destructive power.
Ultima – Final Fantasy 16
Breaking down every part that makes this fight great would take a while. Long story short, it’s everything that a final boss should be. Challenging, but also testing your knowledge of all the Dominants fought thus far. Epic, as seen in the Eikon battle, when it unleashes swathes of beams and attacks. Above all, however, it’s fun, and that final single punch for 999,999 damage, the highest in the game, is just satisfying.
Bode Akuna (2nd Fight) – Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
After Bode’s betrayal, you finally exact some revenge and take him on. The fight is exceptional because Bode is a competent Jedi and very good at mixing in Blaster attacks. Having Merrin’s help also leads to some cool moments, and eventually, Bode will become serious enough to two-hand his Lightsaber, changing up his move set entirely. Of course, the conclusion is also top-tier, calling back to a classic Star Wars moment, but with a twist.
Ranrok Dragon – Hogwarts Legacy
Ranrok Dragon is the final encounter in Hogwarts Legacy, and it moves from one part of the stage to the next, attacking and encouraging you to give chase, adding to the big fight feel. When there’s nowhere left to run, it starts unleashing a massive damaging field alongside its breath attacks and projectiles. It’ll even land on the ground and attack up close, necessitating staying on the move and attacking.
Horus Titan – Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores
Guerrilla Games was touting the power of the PS5 and how essential it was for one particular sequence in Burning Shores. That sequence is the battle with the Horus Titan, a powerful Machine responsible for the old world’s collapse. Aloy has to move to keep up with it, firing at vents and exposing its weak points before climbing up its tendrils and dealing more damage. It then transitions into a straight-up brawl as the Horus Titan slams its legs down while firing projectiles. The sheer spectacle of the fight is undeniable and feels like a step up over the base game’s final boss.
Ganondorf – The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
This fight is so great because it starts one-on-one, and Ganondorf shows off his exceptional swordplay and uses Link’s tactics, like Flurry Rush, against him. Of course, he calls in some clones in phase 2, but then the Sages show up to even the odds. It’s all just the precursor to the real epic final battle with the Light Dragon showing up to save Link, and the two work together to take out Ganon’s dragon form and end him for good. In terms of mechanics and sheer awesomeness, this fight had it all.
Astaroth – Diablo 4
While the Uber boss may be most people’s pick due to its difficulty and patterns, Astaroth is still an enjoyable fight. It’s set in Cerrigar, as innocents are burned to death, emphasizing the situation’s urgency. Astaroth is also constantly on the move, with his Cerberus-style mount emitting fire while meteors file from the sky. It can be a pushover when geared properly, but it’s still fun, especially given the emotional stakes involved.
JP – Street Fighter 6
JP isn’t an end-boss in the traditional sense – he’s playable from the start, unlike M. Bison or Akuma were in their first appearances. However, he’ll often show up at the end of several routes in Arcade Mode as the final challenge. Given his skills as a zoning fighter, setting up portals and attacking from range, keeping you guessing all the time, he can be an exceptional threat. Bump up the CPU Level to the max and experience true terror as you get hit from every angle without much chance to fight back. His victory animation, where he casually steps over you without a care in the world, is just salt in the wound.