Video game bosses typically exist to get beaten by the player. They stand as obstacles between the player and a goal, namely, completion of the game. Ideally, there should be an emotional connection between a player and a boss, rather than them serving as a mere obstacle to work past. A solid boss will offer emotional stakes, making a gameplay trek more compelling and ultimately more rewarding.
As such, a common trick for developers is to make some bosses truly contemptible, making the audience truly want to beat them. Whether it be with their villainous actions in the story or the difficulties of facing them in gameplay, there are some bosses players will truly despise and relish taking down.
7 The Chosen Are Arrogant And Make The Fight Personal
The base game of XCOM 2 lacks any explicit boss fights other than the Avatars piloted by the Ethereals, only fought towards the end of the game. Its expansion, War of the Chosen, adds three recurring, game-long menaces in the form of the titular Chosen, three powerful alien leaders competing to capture the Commander.
Unlike most foes in XCOM 2, the Chosen are not passively waiting for the Commander to attack a target. They go on missions of their own around the map, interfering in the player’s strategies and even appearing in missions for increasingly difficult boss fights. To truly earn the audience’s contempt, they taunt the player as they fight, and attempt to capture and torture the player’s beloved soldiers.
6 Nemesis Never Stays Down
The concept of a boss enemy who stalks the player around the map as they attempt to solve puzzles is an iconic feature of the Resident Evil series, and none is more famous than Nemesis from either version of Resident Evil 3. A mutated Tyrant designed to hunt down STARS members, it proves a recurring bane to Jill Valentine as she attempts to escape Raccoon City.
It’s unclear exactly how evil Nemesis is, due to its free will seeming curtailed, but it is nonetheless a vicious and hateful foe who kills several well-liked NPCs, and who refuses to simply stay dead despite being defeated several times, simply mutating into a worse form each time. By the end of the game, many players may share Jill Valentine’s desire for it to take the hint and give up.
5 Hartman Has Never Been Likablem, Even Before His Transformation
After the action-horror gameplay of Control, its AWE DLC takes a leaf from survival horror by having the player pursued by the Third Thing, a creature formed from both the Hiss and Alan Wake‘s Dark Presence possessing a single person: Dr. Emil Hartman.
Hartman interrupts the player several times, hoping to add Jesse Faden to the list of people it has killed, making its final death undeniably satisfying. Furthermore, any sympathy for it being possessed is lost for players of Alan Wake, who know Hartman to be an intensely-dislikable character who is ultimately almost wholly responsible for his own predicament.
4 Micolash, Host Of The Nightmare Refuses To Stand And Fight
Most of the boss encounters in Bloodborne are acclaimed, being respected by the players who have emerged victorious. One that tends to elicit contempt instead is Micolash, Host of the Nightmare, one of the bosses of the climactic Nightmare of Mensis. Micolash is an unpleasant figure in the story, leading the twisted kidnappers of the School of Mensis, torturing hundreds.
However, it is in gameplay that he truly distinguishes himself as loathsome. Rather than a straightforward fight, Micolash makes the player chase after him, doing chip damage and trying to corner him, while he spouts quotes that go from funny to tedious the more a player hears them. When cornered, he even resorts to doing one-hit kill moves like ‘A Call Beyond’, ensuring players hate him.
3 Harbinger Becomes Exceptionally Tedious
Unlike the Geth of the first Mass Effect, the Collectors in the second have a visible leader in the form of ‘Harbinger’, a recurring boss fought almost any time the player encounters a group of Collectors. Rather than being a singular creature, Harbinger joins fights by possessing a random combatant.
The problem many players have with Harbinger comes from fighting him too many times with almost no variation. He always uses the same attacks, fights in the same way, and uses the same handful of voice lines that many players grow tired of. There isn’t even a satisfying final battle, with Harbinger revealed to be a powerful Reaper leader at the end of the game and denying players any vengeance until the next game.
2 David Is The Worst Of Post-Apocalyptic Humanity
In The Last of Us, David initially seems to be a friendly face, a kindly survivor who offers Ellie some medicine for Joel in return for food. As the player learns more, however, his true colors reveal themselves as the leader of a cannibal group responsible for several dangerous encounters for Joel and Ellie throughout the game.
David tries to manipulate Ellie and kill Joel, and even develops an uncomfortable fixation on her that hints at even less savory intentions. Coupled with a nerve-wracking, stealth-based boss fight against him, many players are glad to see him dead – even if killing him traumatizes Ellie herself.
1 Sephiroth Is A Character-Killing Monster
Sephiroth of Final Fantasy VII has become one of the most iconic video game villains ever, one referenced widely across the entire medium, and one that players tend to be very fond of. However fondly he’s seen, however, that doesn’t change that he is a simply loathsome person in his original game.
Although he receives plenty of development and even some sympathy, Sephiroth is a cruel, arrogant misanthrope who wants to destroy the world to absorb its power and become a god. His most widely-reviled act is his butchery of Aerith, cementing the desire many players have to kill him once and for all.
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