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  • 08/13/18--11:51: State of Mind Review
  • Daedalic Entertainment’s future-set thriller dials up the Blade Runner look and tone, but can it live up to its influences?

    Review Aaron Potter
    Aug 13, 2018

    Release Date: August 15, 2018
    Platform: PS4, XBO, Switch, PC
    Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
    Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
    Genre: Adventure

    Just behind superheroes, it can sometimes seem like cyberpunk has been pushed to its absolute limit lately. State of Mind is a new graphic adventure game looking to challenge this notion, however, letting players loose within a futuristic setting in need of saving. Its emphasis on exploration and character makes this a story worth experiencing, even if its new ideas don’t quite live up to the tall order sci-fi veterans have come to expect.

    While the fantasy of leading a double life in which one can experience the world as their perfect self might only be a dream for many, technophobic future journalist Richard Nolan finds himself in the unique position wherein that temptation is a likely reality – virtual or otherwise. This is just one of many profound conundrums the ill-fated protagonist of State of Mind is forced to ponder throughout this 10-12-hour adventure. But to be fair to the man, he has his reasons.

    Taking place in an alternative Berlin approximately 30 years into the future, this narrative-driven thriller opens at a time when Richard’s life is in disarray. He’s a recent victim of a car accident, his marriage is on the brink of collapse, and the techno-capitalist world surrounding him is quite literally falling apart. State of Mindmight owe a lot to the lofty themes explored in other celebrated works of sci-fi fiction - ideas like AI rights, transhumanism, and cloud-based utopias are all touched upon – but where it shines is in the very human story developer Daedalic Entertainment keeps in clear sight.

    This large emphasis on narrative means that a lot of your time in State of Mind is spent exploring various neon-laced spaces and environments, talking to characters in a bid to learn more about a global conspiracy concerning the idealized virtual world of “City5.” It’d be easy to compare what’s here to your standard Telltale release. Yet, what could have easily boiled down to just rifling through drawers and opening emails to give players the mere impression of investigating is thankfully replaced with a fair mix of suitable objectives and activities that aren’t ever as rudimentary as other games of this ilk.

    An early section in a nightclub, for instance, sees Richard disable a series of drones via hacking before he can meet up with a confidant. Other instances will see players needing to line up photo tiles in order to relive another character’s memory that is key to advancing the story. All the tasks in State of Mind outside of the usual bout of exploration never outstay their welcome. The existence of most of the elements in State of Mindmakes logical sense in such a futuristic setting. Hologram phone calls? Sure. Robot butlers? Of course. You get the idea!

    Much will be said about State of Mind’s unique choice of art style, but in general, the low-poly character models and pastel environments work well, hearkening back to the retro-futuristic aesthetic of the materials it's paying homage to. The overall stiffness doesn't help the game's cinematic moments or action set pieces, but considering this is from a small, independent team of developers whose background is largely in 2D point-and-click adventure games, it’s quite beautiful and you’ll never confuse State of Mind with anything else currently out there.

    Towering megastructures overhang and are appropriately intimidating, the scantily-lit rainy streets of downtown Berlin are a cyberpunk aficionado’s dream, and the fittingly picturesque virtual world of City5 hits all the right notes of what a utopia -- with a hint of seediness -- should look like. Despite being small and contained, there’s a good variety to the environments State of Mind lets you dig around in. You’ll do so not only as Richard, but a variety of characters who each offer up multiple perspectives toState of Mind’s central question of “Who or what am I?”

    Saying too much about who those characters are or the scenarios they are placed in would be giving too much away, a sin considering the importance of story here. However, just know that, as the game continues to unfold, you’ll be experiencing it from the viewpoint of many, rather than just a world-weary, grizzled journalist on a quest for the truth.

    For all of State of Mind’s willingness to venture into complex ideas, though, anyone who grew up on a healthy diet of Philip K. Dick and William Gibson novels will likely see the plot’s twists and turns coming a mile off. The game is often guilty of rallying themes and concepts as more earth-shaking than they actually are for anyone with a passing interest in this stuff. This means that when the final story revelations do eventually come, they can be a little underwhelming.

    Ultimately, the tale State of Mind sets you on is a classic case of "it’s about the journey, not the destination." This may come as a disappointment to some, but when it takes place within a world that’s as full of intrigue, as well-realized, and unique-looking as this one, it’s hard to take issue with the narrative’s shortcomings. State of Mind might fail in its ultimate ambition to explore the deeper themes of humanity in any meaningful depth, but it’s one fulfilling journey of cyberpunk mystery.

    3/5

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine here!


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    Leaks suggest Forza Horizon 4 will pay tribute to Halo's Silent Cartographer mission.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 13, 2018

    A Forza Horizon 4 leak suggests that the game will feature content related to the infamous Silent Cartographer level from Halo: Combat Evolved

    Reddit user DusenberryPie uploaded a series of images to Imgur that they claim comes from an early version of the upcoming racing game. The vast majority of the images showcase various vehicles that will be included in the game. Said vehicles include commercial trucks, vintage racing cars, and even "cult cars" that seemingly include a car that resembles the family truckster from National Lampoon's Vacation

    However, the one image that's captured everyone's attention is a picture of the Halo Warthog cruising along what appears to be the beach from Halo: CE's infamous Silent Cartographer level. Based on leaked reports and general speculation, it seems that Forza Horizon 4 will feature a special event dedicated to turning that section of Halo into a race. Whether this race will be against other Warthogs or will require you do to something more elaborate like outrun the Covenant remains to be seen. 

    While such speculation would normally not be worth reporting until it's confirmed, there are plenty of reasons to believe that this information is genuine. As Eurogamer points out, Forza fans spotted an icon on Forza Horizon 4's upcoming map that certainly seems to resemble the UNSC dropship from Halo. You can see exactly what they are talking about in this video

    That's not all. Earlier this year, some fans data mined the Forza Horizon 4 files and found that there appears to be some content in the game related to Halo in some way. Given that these files came from an almost full version of the game that was accidentally made available to pre-order users, it seems very likely that this information is legitimate. Of course, Forza Horizon 3also featured a cameo from Halo's Warthog. 

    Still, we'll bring you more on this story if Horizon 4's Halo content is confirmed. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is out this week! Here's how this new expansion changes the game...

    Feature Jason M. Gallagher
    Aug 13, 2018

    The 8.0 pre-patch for World of Warcraft's next expansion, Battle for Azeroth, is now live. Battle for Azeroth, which arrives on Aug. 14, is set to rekindle the classic hatred between the game's two factions, the Alliance and the Horde.

    The expansion will also bring a set of new raids and dungeons as to be expected with any new WoW expansion, but the game will also see a variety of new features introduced, some of which are already live with the pre-patch.

    Here are the 10 upcoming features for Battle for Azeroth that we're looking forward to most:

    The Stat Squish

    A central problem of long-running MMOs like WoW is that the player's numbers have to continuously get bigger and bigger in order for the player to feel more powerful. When the original game released back in 2004, player health pools topped out in the thousands of hit points. Today, everyone is running around with absolutely massive numbers on their stat sheets, many of which have climbed into the millions. Players can deal out an equally massive amount of damage and it's gotten to the point where there are so many large numbers flashing across the screen during combat that it can be hard to keep track of exactly how well you are performing.

    Blizzard first fixed this problem back with the Warlords of Draenor expansion when the first "stat squish" reduced item levels throughout the game. But that old problem of players accumulating ever-higher numbers over time never really went away and players are once again putting up some over-the-top numbers in the twilight of Legion.

    With the 8.0 patch, the game's second "stat squish" is now live, once again restoring player power to a reasonable level. We can report that combat just feels better and it's much easier to track how much damage you're pumping out, thanks to the stat squish.

    Simultaneous Worldwide Launch

    Blizzard is trying something it's never done before. Battle for Azeroth will release worldwide at the same exact time around the world. That means that while the street date is technically Aug. 14, the game will be going live at 3 pm PT on Aug. 13 if you live on the west coast. This will be the first time The Americas will launch an expansion at the same time as the European servers. We won't have to watch Twitch streams of people who are in time zones ahead of us as we wait for our own launch time to arrive. Everyone can log in and start playing together simultaneously.

    If you're worried about the servers crashing under the load, Blizzard developers have said repeatedly that the game's phasing technology that they've been working on over the last several years will allow the expansion to launch worldwide without a hiccup. Fingers crossed.

    War Mode

    Blizzard has tried multiple times to bring back classic-era world PvP and nothing has really stuck in a way that fans of the old Southshore vs. Tarren Mill battles would like. Battle for Azeroth will introduce the developer's latest attempt, and we're pretty optimistic about this one.

    War mode is essentially a toggle that will allow players to switch PvP mode on or off at will, regardless of what kind of server they are located on. Players who complete quests with War Mode turned on will reap additional rewards. Players will also have additional PvP talents that are only active during War Mode. With no flying in Battle for Azeroth until next year most likely, this could make running into a player of the opposite faction exciting and nerve-wracking again.

    Warfronts

    Warfronts are 20-player cooperative battles inspired by Warcraft 3. Players will work together to build a base, research upgrades, and work together to attack the opposing side, controlled by an AI. It's like Blizzard sat down and figured out a way to bring a RTS mode to World of Warcraft.

    One of the first Warfronts will be fought in Arathi Highlands, a classic zone that's gotten some nice visual upgrades for the expansion. Anyone who loved queuing up for Arathi Basin back in the day will probably appreciate the feel Blizzard is going for throughout the zone.

    Island Expeditions

    Players who were around during Mists of Pandaria might recall a dungeon mode called Scenarios, which involved teams of three players instead of the traditional five. Island Expeditions will bring a similar feel, with groups being tasked with plundering treasure off various islands. Your team will face off against other players or AI-controlled characters from the opposing faction and whoever can collect the most treasure, or "Azerite," will win.

    Blizzard has promised a wide variety of different islands to explore and it's nice to see the return of another kind of group content to complement traditional dungeons. The idea seems to be that the islands are randomly generated to a certain degree just like Rifts are in Diablo III, so there should be no shortage of content to play through.

    But our absolute favorite part? The AI Blizzard designed for the opposing faction is pretty good at mimicking real players. They'll even jump in the air repeatedly as they move forward, just like players who repeatedly spam their space bar while moving in dungeons or raids.

    More Allied Races

    The tail end of Legion saw the introduction of Allied Races, which introduced two new races for each side to play as. Battle for Azerothwill continue to introduce more, with Dark Iron Dwarves and brown-skinned Orcs included in the upcoming choices. Blizzard hasn't confirmed much about what other kinds of races might show up, but there's plenty of datamined info out there for those who want to take a look. Allied Races start at level 20 after a short scenario and players can earn a special set of cosmetic armor if they level the character all the way to 1110 without buying a level boost.

    Weapon Drops

    If you've been away from WoW for some time, you may not know that the game's Legion expansion focused on powering up an impressive "Artifact Weapon" throughout the duration of the expansion. In short, players have been using the same weapon for about two years now. Artifact weapons were pretty cool and bosses did drop Relics which were used to upgrade them. But after two years of using the same weapon, many players are looking forward to the thrill of having an actual weapon drop off of a raid boss again.

    The weapon slot is arguably the most powerful character slot in the game and we've missed the excitement that comes from finally getting that massive two-hander to drop after farming a boss for six weeks. That feeling will be restored by the end of the summer.

    Darnassus and Undercity Drama

    Blizzard has gotten better at storytelling as time has gone on, and there are a number of interesting plot lines that players will be exploring throughout the expansion. One of the first will include a Horde invasion of Teldrassil during the 8.0 pre-patch. We know the Horde will be burning that big tree to the ground, but we don't know who is lighting the match yet.

    The Alliance is supposed to respond by attacking the Undercity, but the exact details are also a bit hazy. Long story short, we could be looking at each faction losing a major city right at the start of the expansion. What will happen from there is anyone's guess. Blizzard is good at keeping surprises under wraps and the fact that no one is exactly sure what is going to happen over the next few weeks makes this expansion all the more exciting.

    Easier Professions

    Just like player item levels, the game's professions have become pretty bloated over time. Blizzard has made some updates to the leveling process before but Battle for Azeroth will feature a skill squish that should smooth things out considerably. Instead of having to level hundreds of points before you can start crafting Battle for Azeroth items, each expansion will have its own separate skill tier. In other words, you can start crafting Battle for Azerothcontent right away, while the gear and items from other expansions will each feature their own separate counters. Your first Battle for Azeroth item will put you at 1/150 on the counter for the new expansion, no more grinding needed.

    Legacy Loot

    If you love running old content for transmog items, you'll love the new legacy loot system. Whenever a player enters a dungeon or raid where they are 10 or more levels above the content, the dungeon or raid bosses will drop an amount of loot equivalent to what would have dropped for a full group when the content was current. That means players could earn loot for five people in dungeons and loot for 20 people after soloing a raid. The legacy loot system will also drop other gear types, like cloth dropping for a plate wearer. It will be much easier now to get the transmog gear you want and you'll also be able to collect gear for your alts on the same run.

    Read the latest Den of GeekSpecial Edition Magazine here!


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    This fan-made Metal Gear Solid anime trailer leaves us wanting more.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 13, 2018

    The best kind of internet folk are the internet folk that create anime intros for non-anime pieces of entertainment. Just take a look at this gorgeous anime intro for the classic PlayStation game, Metal Gear Solid

    This video from YouTuber José Mellinas uses some of Metal Gear Solid's most memorable cinematic moments as the basis for a clean one minute trailer that looks like the opening for an especially cinematic '70s/'80s anime show. Sure, it's an intro that ultimately reveals a bit too much of the final product, but this trailer is obviously going for style, and it ultimately has style to spare. 

    Of course, one could argue that this trailer cheats the idea of the anime intro tribute just a bit. After all, Metal Gear Solid was clearly inspired by animes in many ways. Otacon even directly references anime during one of the game's memorable dialogue sequences.

    Still, the relationship between animes and Metal Gear Solid is never more clear than it is in this fan video. Cybernetic ninjas, lots of explosions, over-the-top foes designed around identifiable character traits...you know, we're really starting to wonder if Kojima wasn't secretly creating an anime and disguising it as a revolutionary cinematic gaming experience. 

    If you want to see a more overt Kojima anime experience, though, you'll need to dig up a copy of Policenauts. That cult classic graphic adventure game allowed Kojima to explore his weirder side and was certainly the spiritual predecessor to MGS in terms of Kojima's storytelling and greater design ambitions. 

    In any case, we're still patiently waiting for an official Metal Gear Solid anime series. You know...just in case anyone out there with the power to make that happen is listening. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    From Software's Dark Souls and Bloodborne series are known for, among their things, their monstrous bosses. We rank them from worst to best!

    Feature Matthew Byrd
    Aug 13, 2018

    Although no one element defines Dark Souls or Bloodborne, there are few elements of these games as beloved as their boss fights. The bosses of this franchise are a culmination of everything that makes these games great and they tend to attract a lot of passion from an already passionate fan base.

    Which is why ranking them is so tough. There are a lot of bosses in these games—as you’ll soon discover—and given that just about all of them offer something that no other game can, the task of ranking them feels like ranking your children. If you had 128 children.

    Nevertheless, it's always a good time to look back on the bosses of Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Dark Souls II, and Bloodborne and determine where they all fall in the great, brutal hierarchy.

    First, a couple of notes on this list:

    - This list includes DLC bosses as well as optional bosses, but does not include mini-bosses that do not meet the standard boss fight formula. That means there is no Havel the Rock on this list. It also does not include some Chalice bosses from Bloodborne due to the nature of the mode and the fact that many of them would rank quite low. 

    - While a number of factors went into determining these rankings, ultimately, the decision came down to personal opinion.

    Here we go...

    128. Bed of Chaos (Dark Souls)

    You know, it’s almost kind of an honor to be named the worst Dark Soulsboss of all time. I mean at least it would be if Bed of Chaos wasn’t such a blight on the series.

    Bed of Chaos is a uninspiring boss that still manages to frustrate even the most hardcore of Dark Souls players, thanks to its series of frustrating and unenjoyable combat elements. It’s the part of the game you’ll dread coming back to the most and contributes nothing to what is otherwise one of the greatest games of all-time.

    127. Royal Rat Vanguard (Dark Souls II)

    You know what’s a good idea for a Dark Souls boss? Anything but a bunch of rats.

    That may sound obvious, but apparently it wasn’t, as that’s exactly what Royal Rat Vanguard is. Among a series of regular rat enemies is the one rat you have to kill in order to beat this “boss.” There is nothing special about these rats besides the fact that there’s a lot of them. Even then, there’s not really a lot of them in the grand scheme of things. It’s all pretty sad, actually.

    126. Leechmonger (Demon’s Souls)

    It should be noted that nothing from this point on is quite so bad as the previous two bosses who almost received a separate tier of their own. That being said, Leechmonger is essentially the Soulsseries’ Great Mighty Poo without the singing or humor. This largely immobile blob of waste doesn’t put up much of a fight regardless of your character build and the entire time fighting it is spent in a dingy brown environment that perfectly clashes with the rest of the series design philosophy of bleak, but beautiful.

    125. Pinwheel (Dark Souls)

    To be honest, I’m not sure I would have included Pinwheel as a boss if he wasn’t classified as such by the game’s official materials.

    But so long as we’re here, I’d just like to say the major failing of Pinwheel is how painfully easy and generally unimposing he is. This sorcerer looks like any regular enemy, but puts up less of a fight than most them. Lazily floating around the room and occasionally making a copy of himself, Pinwheel is the only Dark Souls boss that seems like he can’t wait to die. Most are happy to oblige him.

    124. Fool’s Idol (Demon’s Souls)

    You know, Fool’s Idol isn’t really that much different from Pinwheel. Both are fairly lazy magic wielders that really don’t inspire many Souls players to praise the brilliance of their fights.

    The chapel setting for the Fool’s Idol fight is much more enjoyable than Pinwheel’s domain, however, and at least Fool's Idol does put up something resembling a fight. Still, there’s just nothing much more here than some magic missile dodging and quick beatdowns.

    123. Dragon God (Demon’s Souls)

    I do have to give From Software credit for naming a boss something as imposing as Dragon God and actually making the boss look like he could indeed be the God of all dragons.

    However, that just makes it all the more of a shame that the fight is such a disappointment. The entire fight boils down to running between protective pillars en route to firing pre-staged ballista arrows at the Dragon God until he is dead. It’s the kind of fight that might work in a game like God of War, but takes very little advantage of the things that truly make great Dark Souls boss fights tick.

    122. Centipede Demon (Dark Souls)

    The fact that the Centipede Demon is one of the few Dark Souls bosses I needed to Google to remind myself which one it is should tell you a lot about this fight.

    Though I’m actually a fan of the way From Software incorporated physical centipede elements into the design of this boss, the actual fight is nothing that memorable. This is your basic towering beast with a large weapon that so happens to be aided by the presence of pools of lava. Considering the lava is more of an annoyance than an actual threat, that one distinction does not save this encounter from becoming a low-tier fight.

    121. Covetous Demon (Dark Souls II)

    Let it be known now that if you see a lot of Dark Souls IIbosses on this list, that’s because the game had a significantly higher amount of bosses than any other game in the series.

    In the case of Covetous Demon, it certainly could have done with one less. Covetous Demon is a huge slug-like creature that bears more than a passing resemblance to Jabba the Hutt. Beating him requires little more than circling around his attacks and hitting his tail when available. Overall, the encounter contributes nothing substantial to the game or franchise.

    120. Belfry Gargoyles (Dark Souls II)

    You know, callbacks to previous bosses are not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, you’re going to see a few of them higher on this list.

    The biggest problem with the Belfry Gargoyles boss in Dark Souls 2 is that it’s essentially a Michael Bay sequel to the first encounter with these beasts in Dark Souls. There’s more of them and they’re more dangerous, but the stakes and emotion that made the original encounter so memorable are just not there. It certainly feels good to beat this tough boss, but the whole encounter feels surprisingly close to nostalgia exploitation.

    119. Deacons Of The Deep (Dark Souls III)

    This boss fight earns some extra points for the theme. The room the fight takes place in is well-designed and the idea of a congregation of deacons protecting the archdeacon amongst them is neat enough. 

    However, this is one of those unfortunate boss fights that is really just a mob of mostly standard enemies that you have to wade through. It’s quite possibly the easiest boss fight in Dark Souls III, and it’s definitely the one that you’ll have the hardest time remembering when you’ve beaten the game. 

    118. The Duke’s Dear Freja (Dark Souls II)

    First off, can we give some love to the From Software employees responsible for the naming of bosses? The Duke’s Dear Freja is just a great name that makes you go, “What the hell is that?” when you hear it.

    Unfortunately, the answer to that question is “A giant spider.” This is pretty much your typical giant spider encounter made slightly more disheartening by how easy it is to avoid most of Freja’s larger attacks. The smaller spiders Freja attracts can make this fight more difficult, but considering this was a significant boss fight progression-wise, it does feel tremendously underwhelming.

    117. High Lord Wolnir (Dark Souls III)

    Every now and then, the Dark Souls development team forget that they’re working on something special and dip into the deep pool of dark fantasy cliches. High Lord Wolnir is one of those times. 

    Wolnir is a giant skeleton. He’s a pretty well-designed giant skeleton, but he’s a giant skeleton nonetheless. What’s worse is that he’s beaten by employing the “attack the glowing weak spot on the limbs” strategy. The set-up to this fight is okay, and Wolnir is visually interesting, but this is Dark Souls on autopilot. 

    116. Dirty Colossus (Demon’s Souls)

    Although many franchise bosses are ultimately just lumbering beasts with various attacks, most of the fights do a fairly admirable job of disguising this in some way.

    Dirty Colossus, however, feels like it could be the template that the team uses to build every other boss fight off of. Aside from the lingering darkness that surrounds the Colossus (imagine the Balrog in Fellowship of the Ring), this is a perfectly average fight in a game filled with otherwise pretty creative bosses.

    115. Scorpioness Najka (Dark Souls II)

    Remember earlier when I mentioned boss fight callbacks that would actually be featured much more prominently on the list? This is not that fight.

    Scorpioness Najka is essentially a re-imagining of the Dark Souls fight with Chaos Witch Quelaag, but offers substantially less than that encounter did. The balance of the fight’s difficulty is pretty good, and the way she is revealed from underneath the sand is neat, but the design of the two bosses is far too similar to not compare them. In that respect, Scorpioness Najka falls short.

    114. The One Reborn (Bloodborne)

    The first Bloodborne boss fight on this list is one I’ve heard described by some fans as the absolute worst fight in any of these games. However, I feel that assessment is a bit too harsh given the fight’s blood moon setting and the intimidating design of The One.

    Still, it’s easy to understand that sentiment given how formulaic and simple this boss is. You just need to take out the casters that surround The One and then go to work on the boss itself. Not every boss fight needs to be an epic, but the setup for this one suggests something greater than you ultimately get.

    113. Demon Firesage (Dark Souls)

    You know, the Dark Soulswiki does such a good job of describing this particular encounter, that I feel the need to quote it here:

    “This boss is very similar to the Asylum Demon and practically identical to the Stray Demon, the strategy is much the same.”

    They also go on to mention that his skin is on fire, which is indeed his trademark characteristic. Otherwise, this is a boss you actually see multiple times in Dark Souls, with this being the least memorable of the encounters.

    112. Crystal Sage (Dark Souls III)

    I’m a big fan of Crystal Sage’s character design. He looks like a boss/enemy that you would have caught roaming the badlands in an old-school NES RPG. What I don’t like is just about everything else about this boss fight. 

    Crystal Sage relies on some of the worst Dark Souls boss fight tropes. Mirror copy enemies? Check. Summoning damage-dealing items from the ground? Check. Cheap magical spam? Check, check, check. There’s just nothing especially noteworthy about this fight. 

    111. Giant Lord (Dark Souls II)

    The premise of how you encounter the Giant Lord is actually fairly interesting as it requires you to essentially take a trip through time and encounter a beast that actually plays well off an earlier boss lore-wise.

    The fight itself is a disappointment, though. It’s a slightly more difficult version of that earlier fight, but the general strategy here remains the same, as you’ll still be circling around this lumbering giant sword wielder and patiently waiting for opportunities to strike. Given the scenario behind this boss, it’s hard to not view it as a letdown.

    110. Ruin Sentinels (Dark Souls II)

    This is a fight that I always want to love more than I do, as I happen to be a fan of multiple character boss fights, and the Ruin Sentinels have this Egyptian protectors design philosophy to them that’s hard not to love.

    Unfortunately, this fight is undone by the way these guys are cheesed into an easy battle, removing much of the drama from the encounter. It’s almost impossible to really make this a 3-on-1 fight unless you wish to, and as a 2-on-1 it doesn’t measure up to similar multiple boss encounters elsewhere in the series.

    109. Taurus Demon (Dark Souls)

    As one of the first bosses that players encounter in Dark Souls, this showdown with the Taurus Demon will always hold a fond spot in the hearts of many Dark Soulsplayers as an early reminder of just how screwed they truly are.

    Nostalgia aside, though, this fight suffers from a similar problem that the Ruin Sentinels battle does in that it is too easily exploited. By making your way up a convenient ladder and dropping strong diving attack after strong diving attack onto the Taurus Demon, it becomes quite easy to beat this lovable monster even at lower levels.

    108. Ancient Wyvern

    This is one of those boss fights that sounds pretty great on paper. The gimmick here is that the Wyvern can’t really be beaten just by attacking it. Instead, you have to work your way up a series of steps in a derelict tower in order to get into position to jump on this boss and land the killing blow. 

    It’s a cool idea, but it doesn’t offer the one thing that a Dark Souls boss fight should offer; a sense of satisfaction. Most will beat this boss on the first try which is kind of a shame. 

    107. Blood-Starved Beast (Bloodborne)

    While the Blood-Starved Beast follows the old “fast-moving beast that you’ve got to roll in and out of for precious hits” school of boss design pretty faithfully, the Beast’s particular set of quick attacks is actually fairly vicious and his “Skinned Hound of Hell” character design is pretty great as well.

    Still, this is ultimately a pretty standard fight that loses some points for feeling like a step down from the game’s previous early boss encounters. Blood-Starved Beast just doesn’t ask anything of its challengers.

    106. Phalanx (Demon’s Souls)

    In many ways, Phalanx is a precursor to Royal Rat Vanguard. The difference is that, while Royal Rat Vanguard completely sucked, Phalanx’s premise of surrounding a giant blob with hoplite soldiers is actually kind of cool.

    What hurts this fight in comparison to others is that it’s far too simple. While you can kind of forgive the ease of Phalanx, considering that it’s an early game boss, the encounter itself doesn’t really amount to more than taking on a series of slightly tougher normal enemies and then wailing on the gooey center of them so you can move on.

    105. Flexile Sentry (Dark Souls II)

    There’s actually a lot to love about Flexile Sentry. As the world’s most dangerous siamese twins, these back-to-back swordsmen certainly look intimidating, and the fact they reside on a pirate ship does imply they may be pirates. The great thing about that, of course, is that pirates are cool.

    The biggest problem with Flexile Sentry is that the boss rarely takes advantage of its unique design to really come up with creative attacks. Aside from limiting the player’s ability to properly circle the boss, this is a surprisingly standard encounter against such a cool foe.

    104. Cursed Rotted Greatwood

    Cursed Rotted Greatwood is one of the first bosses that From Software showed when they were first promoting Dark Souls 3, and we can certainly understand why that was the case. The set-up to this fight - an ancient tree slowly comes to life - is almost as good as the pay-off that sees you drop down to battle his roots. 

    Mechanically, though, this fight is a bore. The challenge here has more to do with tedium than any mechanical mastery. That’s a shame considering how impressive the Greatwood’s entrance is. 

    103. Moon Presence (Bloodborne)

    Life isn’t fair if you’re Bloodborne’s secret final boss, Moon Presence. While you are supposed to be the badass, tough as nails secret boss to a badass, tough as nails awesome game, your presence is greatly diminished by the fact that you have to follow one of the greatest fights in franchise history.

    Moon Presence is certainly tough enough to be worthy of being a secret final boss, but in comparison to the regular final boss in the game, this creature just does not measure up on a creative or emotional level. Even taken on its own, there really isn’t much to this particular fight beyond its cool setting and punishing difficulty.

    102. Skeleton Lords (Dark Souls II)

    Well first off, props to these fine gentlemen for becoming lords of the skeletons, as that cannot be an easy title to come across. Skeleton bros are a universally tough lot and climbing to the top of their hierarchy is a real accomplishment.

    In this case, it’s a fairly good bet that they achieved such a lofty title by hurling wave after wave of annoying enemies and attacks at their foes just as they do to the player. This fight isn’t bad so much as it is frustrating. It accomplishes the ultimate Dark Souls boss goal of making you feel better for having beat it, but only because you’ll be relieved to not have to do this again until the next time around.

    101. Throne Defender & Watcher (Dark Souls II)

    While I can’t blame Dark Souls II for trying to capitalize on what made the Ornstein and Smough fight so memorable (more on that much later), the game’s fascination with multiple bosses began to get tiring and made them all seem to run together.

    That’s certainly the case here with Throne Defender & Watcher, who try to emulate the power and speed combination of the famous duo, but come across more as cosplayers than genuine threats. This fight isn’t awful by any means, but it's little more than an appetizer to the final battle.

    100. Prowling Magus (Dark Souls II)

    The Souls series occasionally toys with the concept of a boss fight that’s basically a mob of enemies and it rarely works. It’s a tricky concept in the first place, and the fact that they are usually far easier than the typical boss fight certainly doesn’t help.

    At least that’s what holds this particular fight. Being forced to take down both Magus and his zombie congregation should be an incredibly tall task, but the minions prove to be easily removed with a few wide attacks, and Magus himself is a fairly weak sorcerer that doesn’t require much more.

    99. Halflight, Spear Of The Church (Dark Souls III)

    Halflight repeats an old Souls trick by allowing other players to participate in this boss fight and create a kind of PvP situation. It’s always been a great idea, and there’s a strong argument to be made that this is the most technically successful attempt at this style of fight in series history. 

    Unfortunately, the technical execution is ruined by some pretty bad design choices. Offline, this fight is nothing special at all, and online, there’s a chance that you can run into a player-controlled minion that often proves to be more frustrating than the boss itself. 

    98. Celestial Emissary (Bloodborne)

    Well, I have to give Celestial Emissary credit for playing with expectations. What initially appears to be a sequel of sorts to the Royal Rat Vanguard quickly turns on you, as one of your prey grows tremendously in size and begins to wail on you for your hubris.

    Aside from that amusement, this fight certainly isn’t in the same league as the true heavy hitters of these games. It deserves some credit for being entertaining and fairly balanced, but aside from its humorous callback, Celestial Emissary just doesn’t measure up.

    97. Baneful Queen Mytha (Dark Souls II)

    Far be it from me to call a snake lady who carries her own head and wields a spear a Medusa rip-off, but I do believe that Mytha may just have taken inspiration from Medusa during the design phase.

    Despite the familiar visual cues, this is actually an interesting fight given the area where it's set. While most of the time Mytha is surrounded by a pool of poison that harms you and heals her, if you manage to burn an otherwise perfectly innocent windmill prior to this fight, then you can remove much of the poison and make the battle easier. Of course, a similar idea would actually lend itself to a much more interesting fight elsewhere in the game.

    96. Dragonslayer Armour (Dark Souls III)

    The low rank of this boss fight will undoubtedly be controversial to some. After all, this boss fight demands that players abandon the comfort of the circle-strafe strategy and employ some expert combat rolls in order to win the day. It’s a battle that makes you feel like you’re participating in a true duel of skills. 

    Unfortunately, this fight lacks flair. Perhaps that’s an odd complaint, but given how special the best Souls fights feel, thematically uncreative duels such as this tend to stand out in the wrong ways. 

    95. Sanctuary Guardian (Dark Souls)

    Generally speaking, the bosses in Dark Soul’s Prepare to Die expansion were excellent. While Sanctuary Guardian is perhaps the weakest of the four new bosses in the bunch, this is still a good encounter.

    A part of what makes Sanctuary Guardian special is certainly its perfect use of the “tough, but fair” Dark Souls difficulty, but there’s also something to be said for the design of the beast and the way that it looks like the perfect boss for the job of protecting the rare piece of sanctuary that you fight it in.

    94. Gravetender Champion & Gravetender Wolf (Dark Souls III)

    To be honest, those who believe that the best Souls boss fight must also be its toughest will likely balk at this fight being ranked among others in the franchise. The battle against Champion's Gravetender & Gravetender Greatwolf is fairly easy, especially when you measure it against other DLC boss fights in the series. 

    However, this fight nails the feel of an epic encounter. The white/blue flowers, the visual of a champion ambling towards you as his guardian wolves pounce without hesitation, and the final summon of a great wolf all help this boss fight tell a contained - yet fascinating - narrative.

    93. Moonlight Butterfly (Dark Souls)

    I really want to like Moonlight Butterfly more than I do. It’s an oddly tranquil battle that features some great music, and the design of the Butterfly itself is pretty great.

    The problem is the fight itself. If you’re using magic or projectiles, this fight is simply laughable. Even as a melee character, you’ll probably find yourself growing bored at some point, as you dodge projectiles with ease and get in a few cheap hits now and then until the boss falls. There was potential here for a really interesting fight, but the presentation of the battle is excellent regardless.

    92. Yhorm The Giant (Dark Souls III)

    Fights against Souls giants are traditionally kind of unmemorable due to the mechanical pattern they fall victim to. Avoid the power attacks, roll between the legs, and repeat. While the battle against Yhorm the Giant certainly utilizes a similar pattern, it benefits greatly from the emotional weight it carries. 

    See, the battle against Yhorm can actually be fought with the Onion Knight at your side. That may seem insignificant, but the presence of the Onion Knight in this battle is one of the few moments of clear “fan service” in a Souls game. It’s a welcome use of the tactic. 

    91. Stray Demon (Dark Souls)

    I love when Dark Souls punishes players for their confidence, and that is certainly what Stray Demon accomplishes. As a surprise return of the game’s first boss that is accessible when you attempt to re-enter the game’s tutorial level, this optional encounter has caught many a first-time player off guard.

    As for the boss itself, this isn’t much more than an amped up version of the battle that opens the game. While that’s certainly a little disappointing, the staging of this battle is simply excellent.

    90. Dragonrider (Dark Souls II)

    Dragonrider is a classic example of a BGBSBW boss. What is BGBSBW? It’s an abbreviation I just now established for “Big guy, big shield, big weapon.” It’s a classic boss archetype that’s actually one of the more reliable sources of boss fight entertainment in the series.

    Dragonrider is a fairly standard example of this type, though he does have one interesting twist in the form of a collapsing arena that falls away as you deal more damage. It’s not much, but it does add a nice level of difficulty to this fight, considering that you typically beat these guys by circling around them. By making that process more difficult, this boss fight is made more memorable.

    89. Royal Rat Authority (Dark Souls II)

    While I’m not entirely sure what the obsession with rats was while designing the Dark Souls II bosses, I will say that Royal Rat Authority is a significant improvement over the Royal Rat Vanguard.

    That said, damn this is one annoying fight. Royal Rat Authority has a variety of frustrating attacks at his disposal and their pattern tends to be somewhat erratic. Complicating matters is the presence of his minions, whom the game never seems to want to let you lock onto properly when absolutely necessary. It’s the kind of annoying fight that’s actually fairly memorable because of it, but I wouldn’t put the encounter in the Souls hall of fame by any means.

    88. Vordt Of The Boreal Valley (Dark Souls III)

    Every Dark Souls game has at least one boss designed to serve as a kind of ramping up point for the game’s difficulty curve. They’re the fights that force you to abandon whatever comfortable strategies you may have been using until this point and truly learn to adapt to what the game is handing you. 

    Vordt of the Boreal Valley isn’t the best of those fights, but it is a perfect example of the concept. This fight has a decent set-up and that perfect level of difficulty that forces you to be at your best without making you feel like you’ve been cheated. 

    87. Laurence, the First Vicar (Bloodborne)

    You know, if you’re going to be a flaming hell-beast in this universe, you need something that immediately identifies you from everyone else. In this regard, I will say that the image of Laurence chilling without a worry in a cathedral throne as you approach him certainly goes a long way towards making him memorable.

    Aside from that, the fight itself is a fairly standard affair. Laurence puts up a good fight, and his giant arm can easily take down unsuspecting adventurers, but otherwise is a good fit for this “good, not great” tier you are currently enjoying.

    86. The Rotten (Dark Souls II)

    So far as this fight goes, I will admit that it is similar to the other “massive blobs” encounters. I will say that The Rotten is the most mobile of the immobile mass enemies mentioned to this point.

    What is great about The Rotten, though, is his design. Made up of a mass of human bodies, the rotten is carried along by the arms of his damned and apparently stores his giant cleaver within himself. He looks like the final form a horror movie demon might take and is capable of taking you down quite easily if you’re caught staring at his design too long.

    85. Aldrich, Devourer Of Gods (Dark Souls III)

    This is a tough fight to rank. On the one hand, the fight itself is merely ok. Aldrich loves to use spam magic attacks and cheap, quick attacks which are usually big no-nos in terms of truly great Souls boss fights. However, the Aldrich fight benefits greatly from the lore behind the battle. 

    Given that the Souls games never demand you care about their lore, there’s a good chance that many players won’t get much out of this fight. Those that dig deeper, though, will surely appreciate how Aldrich’s story ties into the stories of Gwyndolin, Smough, Anor Lando, and Prince Lothric. 

    84. Armor Spider (Demon’s Souls)

    The Armor Spider fight is an interesting one from a combat standpoint. Taking place in a narrow mineshaft, you must pursue the armor spider down a corridor while trying to avoid its attacks as best as you are able. It’s a fascinating study of the effect of claustrophobia in a Souls fight.

    Unfortunately, the fight itself doesn’t quite measure up to the concept, as the battle only proves to really take advantage of your surroundings through very specific attacks. Generally speaking, this is a fairly simple boss design-wise. Still, it's certainly a memorable encounter.

    83. Elana, the Squalid Queen (Dark Souls II)

    When you first approach Elana, she is standing quietly at an altar with her back to you. Slowly, she turns your way and becomes one of the few Dark Souls bosses to actually speak directly to you by informing you that “You are not worthy of the mire.” In typical Dark Soulsfashion, these words will mean nothing to most players, but the intro does an effective job in conveying the presence of the Squalid Queen.

    Sadly, the fight itself is a fairly standard affair. Elana can shoot magic and summon skeletons with the best of them, but this is a fairly generic boss fight that again speaks to Dark Souls II’s overreliance on boss encounters.

    82. Ancient Dragon (Dark Souls II)

    Like any good dark fantasy series, Dark Souls has a bit of a love affair with dragons. Some of these dragon encounters are great (we’ll get to those soon enough) and some are less than spectacular, but by and large, they tend to represent at least some good qualities of a Dark Souls boss fight.

    Ancient Dragon represents the value of character in a Dark Souls fight. As a particularly old dragon, this boss doesn’t exactly make the greatest effort to see you killed, but what its fighting style lacks in challenge it makes up for in personality.

    81. Vanguard (Demon’s Souls)

    As the tutorial boss in Demon’s Souls, Vanguard is there to teach players a very valuable lesson that they will carry with them throughout the rest of the franchise. These games hate you and care more about seeing how your face expresses confused misery than they do entertaining you.

    While Vanguard can technically be killed, most first time players will die fairly quickly and find that the game doesn’t truly start until they do. While later Souls bosses would do a better job in the valuable first boss role, Vanguard was a tremendous introduction to the nature of Demon’s Souls and eventually the franchise at large.

    80. Oceiros, The Consumed King (Dark Souls III)

    Much like Aldrich, the Oceiros fight benefits greatly from the lore behind it. Oceiros was once the king of Loric, but he went mad researching the uses of royal blood (which is a fascinating allusion to Bloodborne). He also seems to believe that he is clutching/protecting a child, even though there is none to be seen.

    The fight itself is actually pretty good to boot. Oceiros is a surprisingly aggressive boss whose odd design makes it somewhat difficult to read his fights. He falls well short of the “great” tier of Souls fights, but he’s a very good boss in a game that’s full of good bosses. 

    79. Blue Dragon (Demons’ Souls)

    Blue Dragon is a perfect example of style over substance in a boss fight. This battle is an incredibly simple - some would argue tedious - affair that doesn’t come close to testing the considerable skills the player will have acquired by the time that they encounter this dragon in Demon’s Souls.

    But damn is this a cool fight. Taking place upon the ruins of an ancient castle, this is the picture perfect atmosphere you always imagined when fighting a dragon. The Blue Dragon itself does an excellent job of fighting like you’d want a dragon to fight. It’s a little disappointing that the combat isn’t more epic, but this scratches that dragon fight itch in a big way.

    78. Adjudicator (Demon’s Souls)

    Of all the hulking masses in the Soulsborne series, I have a particular fondness for Adjudicator. Maybe that’s because he was one of the first of his kind, but the bosses’ broken weapon and ghoulish design do a fair job of announcing him as a threat. The fight itself does a good job of validating those claims, as the small space you have to work, combined with his sweeping style of attacks, can easily turn him into a nightmare worthy of his frightful appearance.

    77. Dark Sun Gwyndolin (Dark Souls)

    Dark Sun Gwyndolin is one of those bosses that becomes even more interesting when you really dive into the lore of the series. As the last god of Anor Londo, Gwyndolin has learned to become a master illusionist in order to preserve certain mystiques of the famed city.

    She uses these tricks in her battle against you and also harkens back to the Armor Spider fight, as you must pursue Gwyndolin down a hall in order to finish her. Again, the unique nature of the pursuit isn’t fully taken advantage of and the fight itself is largely - though appropriately - window dressing, but it is a visually stunning encounter dripping in story.

    76. Gaping Dragon (Dark Souls)

    If personality goes a long way in making a Souls boss fight great, then the visual design can run the whole race. A cool-looking boss can overcome a lot of weaknesses in the fight.

    The Gaping Dragon fight is actually a pretty solid one, but even if it weren’t, this imposing monstrosity and its constantly agape jaw filled with sword-like teeth that encompass nearly its entire being would still find itself a few spots higher on the list than most. Gaping Dragon will stick to your memories long after you’ve beaten it.

    75. Ceaseless Discharge (Dark Souls)

    Despite being named after the worst sounding STD ever - or perhaps because of it - Ceaseless Discharge proves to be a fairly memorable encounter. This giant beast bathed in flame and smoke accomplishes the first job of a Souls boss: making you say “Holy shit” with relative ease. This monstrosity uses its many arms and deadly fires to make quick work of even the best Dark Souls players. Well...ideally, anyway, as there is a fairly simple trick to beating him that most are quick to discover. It’s still a great design, though.

    74. Iudex Gundyr (Dark Souls III)

    It’s not easy being the first boss in a Souls game. They’ve got to welcome the player to the game in typical Souls fashion without being so tough that they’re discouraging. At the same time, they can’t overshadow what is to come. 

    Gundyr isn’t the best first boss in series history, but he’s not far off. The set-up to this fight - a statue picks up its spear and prepares for war - is fantastic and the battle is a great way for veterans and new players to get into a rhythm before the really tough stuff begin. 

    73. Lud and Zallen, the King's Pets (Dark Souls II)

    Amid a blinding snowstorm, the beast of darkness known as Lud descends upon you. From his first burst of magic missiles and quick strikes, he makes it clear that you are not in for an easy fight. It’s a statement that becomes all the more imposing when his twin brother, Zallen, joins the fray after you do a little too much damage to Lud.

    This is certainly a case of a multiple boss fight done right. Not only is the atmosphere and combat incredible, but the relationship between the two bosses, as well as with a boss that you’ll fight later in the game, adds a sense of scope to this fight that you should get from the best Dark Souls bosses.

    72. Cleric Beast (Bloodborne)

    First boss duties in these games is a tough gig to draw. You’ve got to somehow manage to present a formidable challenge to the player that will properly introduce them to what is coming without completely crushing their spirits.

    In that regard, Cleric Beast does a fantastic job. While he’s not nearly as tough as the later Bloodborne bosses, he is a noticeable step up in challenge from everything that has come before in the game. Cleric Beast does a great job of forcing you to the top of your game early on and serves as a great challenge that doesn’t frustrate.

    71. Velstadt, The Royal Aegis (Dark Souls II)

    Draped in the golden armor of a Spartan king and wielding a gilded mace that’s as big as he is, Velstadt is an absolutely imposing figure that is somehow even tougher than he looks. This boss’s range of attack is frightening and the speed at which he arrives there is even worse. Try to hide behind the pillars in the room and you’ll find them quickly turned to dust with you shortly joining them.

    A great boss fight tests your skills without feeling cheap. While Velstadt’s incredible athleticism and dominating power leave him very few weaknesses, there is a pattern here for the player to discover and exploit in such a way as to best him. Doing so is a great feeling, though it carries with it a ping of regret for seeing a great boss go.

    70. Guardian Dragon (Dark Souls II)

    Trapped like a rat in his cage, you encounter Guardian Dragon trapped in his...ummm...cage. This giant canary cage will soon become your prison, as you face a dragon that seems especially pissed off at his predicament.

    The confines of this dragon fight certainly help to add to its grandeur, but the boss itself proves to be one of the more lovably traditional dragons in the series. He’s spry, he flies, he breathes fire, and he does it all while forcing you to make the most of your slightly limited space to beat him. This isn’t the greatest of the Souls dragon fights, but it’s a fairly good standard for them.

    69. Iron Golem (Dark Souls)

    After dodging the many traps, tricks, and general troll antics that plague Sen’s Fortress, you would think that finally making it to the top of that twisted domain and going face to face with a lumbering iron guardian would be a welcome change of pace.

    Instead, the Iron Golem proves to be the last trap of the fortress, as his absurdly high health pool and fondness for taking half of your life in a single hit become immediately apparent. There are summon and elemental options that can make this fight a bit easier, but if you’re going in solo, then you will find a tough - but doable - fight ahead of you.

    68. Martyr Logarius (Bloodborne)

    The only word that can describe Martyr Logarius from a physical standpoint is haunting. It’s appropriate that a crown rests upon his ghoulish head, as this fading sorcerer looks like he may very well be the king of nightmares.

    Sometimes, this series can struggle with magic-based bosses, but that is not the case here. The magical scythe that Logarius wields is capable of not only a variety of punishing spells but can absolutely destroy those that wander too close to it for a melee fight. Martyr Logarius proves to be one incredibly difficult boss that still manages to occupy the nightmares of Bloodborne players long after he has been knocked off his rooftop perch.

    67. Dancer Of The Boreal Valley (Dark Souls III)

    The next few bosses from Dark Souls 3 are difficult to rank given the degrees of excellence that separate them. The Dancer of the Boreal Valley fight is odd in that the boss itself doesn’t move particularly fast. However, if you happen to get caught by one of his attacks, he launches into a swift flurry of follow-up swings that will likely kill you an instant. 

    That system makes defensive strategies more important than ever, which will either drive you crazy or make you appreciate the simplistic beauty of this battle. Regardless, it’s a clever boss battle. 

    66. Manus, Father of the Abyss (Dark Souls)

    Although the text specifically refers to his elemental standings, I’m always fond of pointing to the section of the Dark Souls guide on Manus that simply states: “Weaknesses: None”

    As the final boss of the Dark Souls expansion, Manus most certainly holds his own against the difficulty of any fight that has come before by giving players a fight that will ask absolutely everything of them. Unless you have built specific character skills to insane degrees, you can be guaranteed that you will be pounding your fists in frustration at least once before the Father of the Abyss finally goes down.

    65. Old Dragonslayer (Dark Souls II)

    Ah, now here is a callback that I can certainly get behind. Old Dragonslayer is little more than a gussied up version of Dragonslayer Ornstein from Dark Souls, but do not be so quick to believe your fight against him will tread the same ground. Even without the help of his best good friend, Executioner Smough, Old Dragonslayer proves to be a more than worthy opponent on his own, thanks to his blinding speed and incredible attack range via his spear.

    64. Champion Gundyr (Dark Souls III)

    Champion Gundyr is one of the few instances of a repeated boss in a Souls game done well. As the more “advanced’ version of the first boss in Dark Souls 3, Champion Gundyr brilliantly expands upon everything the game’s excellent first boss fight does well while standing on his own as an excellent encounter. 

    The one possible knock against this boss is that it skirts that line between “cheap” and “tough.” His attacks are insanely fast and perhaps a touch too powerful. Still, every Souls game needs a fight or two like that, and Champion Gundyr is a great example of the style. 

    63. Demon Prince (Dark Souls III)

    Considering how high the bar is for multiple enemy boss fights in the Souls universe, there’s no room for a multi-foe fight that feels anything less than special. Fortunately, Demon Prince clears that bar. 

    What makes this boss fight work is how fair it is. That’s an odd compliment to pay to a Souls boss, but this is one of the few multi-opponent fights that doesn't feel like it was designed just to make you angry. Instead, it’s a brilliant use of foes with complimenting styles that will challenge you without making you wish the fight was just over with.

    62. Abyss Watchers (Dark Souls III)

    It’s tempting to rank this boss fight much higher than this. The problem with this boss fight is that it ultimately plays out like a standard battle against a “dude with a sword.” My god, the man even utilizes flaming sword attacks. 

    The really, really cool thing about this fight, though, is the lore behind it. The Abyss Watchers are bound by some kind of curse that forces them to battle forever. In lieu of an actual opponent, they will just fight each other. The sight of these foes alternating between attacking you and each other is a wonderfully chaotic - and memorable - piece of boss design. 

    61. Ludwig the Accursed/Holy Blade (Bloodborne)

    Had Ludwig just been the boss he is in the first stage of this fight, he honestly wouldn’t be that memorable. Ludwig the Accursed is just another beast hungry for your death and feels no shame in using a variety of quick attacks in order to taste it.

    Ludwig the Holy Blade, however, is a phenomenal encounter. The use of Ludwig’s famed glowing sword lends a level of epicness to this fight that few others enjoy. The reveal of the sword itself is incredible and the accompanying changes in the music and fight dynamics make the second phase of this encounter simply amazing.

    60. The Witch of Hemwick (Bloodborne)

    In any other game, a hunchback old-woman is more likely to be a victim than a boss. Of course, as you’re probably well aware by now, these are not any other games.

    This fight is based around the Witch of Hemwick’s ability to disappear and remain invisible. She only provides brief glimpses of herself that you must be on the lookout for if you wish to deal direct damage. The mechanic makes the boss more notable than your standard battle.

    59. Orphan of Kos (Bloodborne)

    The entrance of the final boss in Bloodborne’s Old Hunters DLC certainly does not fail to make a statement, as he slithers from a dead womb and immediately sets upon you with a ferociousness that few other enemies come close to possessing.

    While the mechanics of this fight are nothing too incredible, the skill of the Orphan of Kos, combined with its twisted and cruel design, makes this creature a suitable conclusion to Bloodborne’s truly exceptional DLC release.

    58. Soul Of Cinder (Dark Souls III)

    Outside, of Bloodborne’s memorable final battle, there’s arguably no better final boss in the Souls universe than Soul of Cinder. That’s kind of a backhanded compliment, but it should take nothing away from the quality of this encounter. 

    Actually, Soul of Cinder is one of the best one-on-one battles against a single weapon-wielding boss in series history. Soul of Cinder’s ability to change his attack patterns based on what weapon he’s wielding means that players must be able to read and react in a way that even the most challenging of Souls fights don’t demand from you. It’s also kind of awesome to see Soul of Cinder adopt Gwyn’s moveset and music during the final phase. 

    57. Mergo's Wet Nurse (Bloodborne)

    When you first meet Mergo’s Wet Nurse and watch in awe as she descends upon you with her four arms wielding four scythes, all moving at blazing speeds, you’re probably thinking that you’re pretty screwed. You are right.

    Mergo is not an impossible boss by any means, but her ability to punish players for any mistake with her quick, sweeping attacks makes this one of those fights that demand absolute perfection. It’s an incredibly rewarding battle against a pretty cool boss.

    56. Aava, the King's Pet (Dark Souls II)

    Aava is a white tiger in a snowstorm, and that alone makes this fight automatically pretty impressive. Aava fights in the way you would expect a tiger to fight, meaning a lot of incredibly deadly lunge attacks complemented by devastating AOE abilities and ice magic spells. You know, just like you expect a tiger to fight...in Dark Souls.

    55. Vicar Amelia (Bloodborne)

    Ever game in this franchise has that first hurdle boss. They’re the bosses that deliberately halt your progress and force you to up your game if you’re going to clear them. Vicar Amelia is Bloodborne’s hurdle boss.

    Vicar isn’t especially difficult, but she does require a level of patience that the rest of the bosses in the usually very fast-paced Bloodborne do not. Her “back off now” attack style and high health pool means that beating her requires a far greater time investment than most enemies ask for.

    54. Living Failures (Bloodborne)

    I’m not saying that the Living Failures are aliens, but I’m also not going to say they aren’t aliens. What I’m saying is that they are most certainly aliens, but probably not aliens.

    If you think that’s confusing, try beating these monsters. This is an example of a mob boss battle done right, as the Living Failures use their numbers and magic advantage to overwhelm unprepared players fairly quickly. This fight doesn’t hold back on making you feel truly outnumbered, and I’ve always loved it for that.

    53. Rom, the Vacuous Spider (Bloodborne)

    Should some horrible fate befall me in the near future, I would just like to take this opportunity to let everyone know how much I hate Rom the Vacuous Spider. Rom is a particularly annoying boss that’s also kind of great. The setup to this fight is amazing, as it requires you to take a leap of faith in the realm of Rom. The battle itself is a doozy, as Rom’s spider minions constantly frustrate you in your attempts to hit their master between area attacks. It’s a pretty great fight.

    52. Darkeater Midir (Dark Souls III)

    Dragons in Dark SoulsDLC release have traditionally been humorously difficult. Darkeater Midir is arguably the most absurdly difficult of all the Dark SoulsDLC dragons. 

    After spending quite a large portion of a level dodging Midir’s attacks, you finally get to do battle with him. At this point, you’ll likely discover that Midir can kill you in just a few hits while you don't’ seem to be able to do much damage to him at all. However, across the multiple encounters that make up this fight, you’ll find that Midir is just as tough as he needs to be to make this boss feel as epic as he is. 

    51. The Last Giant (Dark Souls II)

    Dark Souls II may have had a few too many boss fights, but they certainly started things off right with this encounter. The Last Giant is not particularly difficult in comparison to other first Souls bosses, but there is an emotional element to this encounter that elevates it above many others. The Last Giant’s painful wails tell a story of its tortured past and painful obligation to fight on once more. It’s a memorable showdown.

    50. Darklurker (Dark Souls II)

    Darklurker is a demonic angel that’s only accessible if certain conditions within the Pilgrims of Dark covenant are met. Like many bosses that Dark Souls hides deep within its adventure, he’s quite the challenge.

    Darklurker is one of the best magic-based bosses in the franchise due in part to its incredible variety of attacks that follow a pretty erratic pattern. Taking down this foe can be done easily if you build your pyromancer attack to its highest level, but everyone else will soon discover why Dark Souls II was not eager to present Darklurker so openly.

    49. Afflicted Graverobber, Ancient Soldier Varg, Cerah the Old Explorer (Dark Souls II)

    There’s just something about bosses with great names, and I’ll be damned if this isn’t a memorable series of names.

    Each of these bosses perfectly encapsulates the three kinds of deadly in Dark Souls. One is a highly skilled archer, one is a powerhouse bruiser, and the other is a speed-based assassin that will most likely kill you when you’re focusing on the other two. It’s a fantastic example of how to take full advantage of a multi-character fight setup.

    48. King Vendrick (Dark Souls II)

    Much like The Last Giant, a big part of what makes King Vendrick great is the implied story of the battle. This decrepit old king attacks you slowly with a great sword that was perhaps once as mighty as he was. Beating him isn’t a challenge from a combat standpoint, but getting past the emotion of having to topple a former great, as he enters one more fight for survival that he probably no longer wishes for, is a challenge in and of itself.

    47. Demon of Song (Dark Souls II)

    Although I’m not sure how a giant toad creature earned the title of Demon of Song, this is still one fascinating boss. The gimmick with this fight is that the Demon of Song is able to shield its skull-like face from the player by tucking into its armor skin. The only time it’s really vulnerable is when it is attacking you, which means that your dodging game has to be on point. It’s not that different from most fights in theory, but the fantastic visual design boss does the job of selling this fight as something special.

    46. Nashandra (Dark Souls II)

    This franchise has something of a reputation for the final boss in the game not being the best boss in the game (although we will get to a notable exception to that rule soon), and while that holds true for Nashandra, this is still a good fight.

    After beating Throne Watcher and Throne Defender, you are immediately thrust into a battle with Nashandra. As if her giant scythe wasn’t a big enough issue, she also possesses some truly wicked dark magic that can kill you in an instant. The threat is real during this fight, which keeps you on your toes until the very end.

    45. Micolash, Host of the Nightmare (Bloodborne)

    Why does Micolash wear a birdcage on his head? Why don’t you wear one on your head? Because you’re not the Host of Nightmares, that’s why.

    Much of this fight actually consists of pursuing Micolash down a series of corridors and stairs where enemies await. Only by cornering him are you allowed to do damage directly. This element of chase lends real scope to the battle and helps to immediately set this fight apart as something great.

    44. Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos (Bloodborne)

    I think the easiest way to describe the look of Ebrietas is as a cosmic, mermaid, demon worm. I also think that’s the most difficult way to describe her.

    This unique boss manages to frustrate players with her bizarre limb structure that can dole out attacks from nearly any position. Nearly everything that makes Ebrieta unique visually speaking is used as an attack in some way, making her one of the more notable cases of an enemy’s design being maximized to benefit the fight itself.

    43. Maneater (Demon’s Souls)

    Uh oh, here they come. It’s the Maneaters. 

    Couldn’t resist. As the first real Soulsfight to force players to face multiple bosses at once, this encounter managed to frustrate the very best of players. Many players resort to fairly cheap measures to defeat them to this day. True joy comes from beating these painful reminders of just how much Demon’s Souls hates you.

    42. Darkbeast Paarl (Bloodborne)

    Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, it is quite easy for players to encounter Darkbeast Paarl early on in the game. Attempting to fight this beast at that point will inform players fairly quickly that they’ve made a terrible mistake.

    Darkbeast Paarl is one of the more difficult and capable bosses in the game, due largely to its incredible strong area attacks and a fondness for backing away whenever you are close to getting a hit. The “easiest” method of defeating this boss requires serious melee skills, and even at later levels, it puts up one hell of a fight.

    41. Penetrator (Demon’s Souls)

    Somewhat dubious naming aside, I have a soft spot in my heart for Penetrator because I have a soft spot in my heart for more traditional one-on-one boss fights,  and this one is one of the very first - and best - in the series.

    The penetrator is one of those bosses that just make you say, “What a badass,” the moment you see him. His massive blade is capable of covering an almost absurd amount of real estate, and he has the speed needed to punish those that think of running. Penetrator may not have many tricks up his sleeve, but he doesn’t need them to serve as one of the greatest bosses in the franchise.

    40. Yharnam, Pthumerian Queen (Bloodborne)

    Given how difficult the Chalice Dungeons can be, it should be no surprise that the boss is also something of a challenge. Still, FromSoftware could not have designed a more appropriate Chalice boss. From the crying baby sounds in the background to the demonic bride look of the boss, this is an inherently unsettling fight that gets under your skin well before Yharnam uses various blood magic to frustrate even the most capable of players.

    39. Old King Allant (Demon’s Souls)

    With his white and gold military outfit and angelic wings made of light, your first impression of the old king may be that he is a gentle soul fighting for good. In reality, he’s a real hard ass that’s fighting to kill you as soon as possible. Old King Allant’s attack pattern is a fairly simple one, but every move he uses is simply devastating. The range he is able to cover with his blade strikes and area attacks is simply absurd. Regardless, the set-up to this fight makes it feel so very suitable for a final encounter.

    38. Fume Knight (Dark Souls II)

    Fun fact about the Fume Knight: according to statistics released by From Software, he was responsible for more player deaths than any other boss in Dark Souls II and defeated 93% of challengers.

    Beyond that astounding difficulty, a big part of what makes Fume Knight stand out is his giant smoke and flame sword, as well as his dark knight armor. This is one of those great fights where you really do have to die a few times before you stand a chance of beating this intimidating foe. As punishing as he may be, he never feels all that frustrating to fight, which is a tremendous accomplishment.

    37. Black Dragon Kalameet (Dark Souls)

    Though a part of me is glad that someone at From Software finally decided to make a dragon a contender for the toughest boss in the game, a larger part of me just hates Black Dragon Kalameet.

    Kalameet is the kind of boss that would invite you out to dinner and then ask you to pick up the check. He’s just plain mean, and if his high health pool doesn’t get you down, the fact he can easily trap you into a number of killing moves will. Beating this boss makes you feel like you should feel after beating a legendary dragon.

    36. Capra Demon (Dark Souls)

    I love Soulsfights that make you feel like you’re solving a little puzzle, and that’s exactly what we have here. As soon as you enter the Capra Demon’s tiny domain, you are attacked by both the Capra and his hell hounds. The challenge here is to discover how to defeat these fast moving enemies in such a tiny space while they are attacking you with uncommon ferocity. It’s a subtle concept, but it adds a lot to this fight, as most remember being caught off guard and instantly killed by this boss at least once.

    35. Shadow of Yharnam (Bloodborne)

    Shadow of Yharnam is a fantastic take on how to do a multiple character boss fight. Rather than having the foes merely complement each other with different abilities - though there is some of that going on here - this fight ups the difficulty of the individual bosses the more damage you do to the collective group. It forces the player to not only play at their best, but discover the best way to avoid the nasty later stages of this fight.

    34. Amygdala (Bloodborne)

    Isn’t it great to have a Bloodborne boss that’s a throwback to the days when a boss could take up half of the screen? While this is actually a fairly straightforward fight, the sheer size of the boss relative to the player, as well as its spider-like build, gives it a throwback quality that complements the already challenging nature of the encounter. Also, the fact those many limbs can come from seemingly anywhere to ruin your day tends to haunt players.

    33. Old Iron King (Dark Souls II)

    Ah, now this is how you do a giant flaming demon in a pit of lava right. Old Iron King certainly isn’t the most difficult fight in the franchise, but the moment this hulking demon rises from the depths of a lava pool and stares you down, a sort of Zelda-like vibe washes over you. Like Amygdala, Old Iron King is a throwback boss in many ways that provides a welcome break from the series' tendency to rely on more agile enemies.

    32. Burnt Ivory King (Dark Souls II)

    To borrow a comment I've heard elsewhere, what makes the fight against Burnt Ivory King so special is that it’s not really a fight at all. It’s a battle. It’s a war.

    You start this battle by having to take down a legion of knights devoted to the king. Now unlike some other fights of this nature, what makes this one different is that the mob and the boss are not entirely separate. You must be able to manage both the mob and the Ivory King at the same time at some point even though they are arguably equally formidable. This slight twist to the formula results in a memorable battle with one of the game's very best.

    31. Father Gascoigne (Bloodborne)

    Father Gascoigne has a great name, he has a great look, he fights in a cool environment, he has interesting attacks, he requires skill but isn’t cheap, and he has a unique mechanic that only the most discerning of players will be able to exploit. His story is fascinating, and in his second phase, he turns into a wolf creature with a method of attack that is completely different from what came before.

    Father Gascoigne is just about everything you want in a boss fight.

    30. Pontiff Sulyvahn (Dark Souls III)

    Another personal favorite of the Souls bosses, it’s hard to figure out exactly where to place Pontiff Sulyvahn. While it’s difficult to identify the individual elements that make him so special, it’s the way that everything comes together that makes this battle one of the best. 

    Not only is Pontiff Sulyvahn an incredibly important part of Dark Souls lore, but he’s one of the absolute toughest bosses in series history. Pontiff Sulyvahn’s elegant dual-sword attacks are a quick as they are deadly. His combos follow no easy-to-learn pattern and there’s almost no way to “cheese” him. In other words, he’s everything a Souls boss should be. 

    29. Executioner’s Chariot (Dark Souls II)

    Sometimes Dark Soulscan try too hard or get too cute with its more creative boss fights. While ambition is always admirable, the worst of these outside the box fights will just have you wishing for simpler times.

    Executioner’s Chariot is a great creative boss fight, however. This giant Roman chariot piloted by a demon traverses a circular room and can instantly kill you if you get in its way. Defeating it is a matter of working your way up the room slowly until you are able to flip a switch that will derail the chariot and allow you to fight the tough demonic horses that pilot it.

    28. Old Hero (Demon’s Souls)

    Your mileage regarding the actual fight with Old Hero is going to depend on your use of an item known as the Thief’s Ring. With this ring, the fight is a rather easy one and without it the encounter is arguably one of the more difficult in the game.

    Regardless of your decision, Old Hero manages to impress through his character. This blind behemoth glows radiantly from infused power and walks slowly just listening for you to approach so he can smite you. The Thief’s Ring can help you mask your steps, but even with it, this fight proves to be memorable simply because of how the character’s attacks are derived from his personality.

    27. Gravelord Nito (Dark Souls)

    Not only does Gravelord Nito have arguably the greatest nickname of all Dark Souls bosses (Ravelord Nito knows how to party ya’ll), he also serves well as essentially the series’ grim reaper.

    The master of death looks the part of a Dark Souls boss with his giant hair coat covered with bones, and he lives up to the expectations we have for the battle itself by infuriating players with his ability to summon an army of skeletons at will. Brimming with personality and backstory, Nito is an incredible addition to the Souls universe.

    26. Crossbreed Priscilla (Dark Souls)

    Residing over the secret painted world in Dark Souls is Crossbreed Priscilla. Priscilla was exiled due to her crossbreed origins and distinguishes herself from other bosses both through an almost pleasant personal demeanor and an ability to stay invisible through much of the fight, forcing you to watch her footsteps in the snow.

    Priscilla may technically be an optional boss, but both her and the world she calls her domain are so fascinating that she must be pursued despite the lack of obligation to do so.

    25. Chaos Witch Quelaag (Dark Souls)

    As Dark Souls players make their way through Blighttown cursing all the while, they are also thinking that the area’s boss had better end up being something pretty special. Luckily, Chaos Witch Quelaag is special. This beautiful woman that so happens to have the body of a spider is one of the more visually striking bosses in the game and backs her memorable looks up with a rather tricky fight that often requires assistance or a particularly strong weapon to beat. The fact that losing to her makes you trek through a portion of Blighttown again makes her especially cruel.

    24. Gwyn, Lord of Cinder (Dark Souls)

    Oh, Gwyn. Opinions will always be divided as it concerns Gwyn.

    While Gwyn can be beaten fairly easily using your parry ability, it’s important to consider that the parry maneuver itself isn’t that easy to pull off and that the fight is set-up incredibly well. The atmosphere of this fight is an oddly peaceful one that only adds to the classic sword fight nature of this encounter. Gwyn can certainly destroy the unprepared player, but even if you manage to defeat him with relative ease, this is one final fight that nails the feel of an epic encounter.

    23. Seath the Scaleless (Dark Souls)

    Few bosses in Dark Souls have as interesting a story as Seath does. Born an albino dragon without scales, Seath betrayed his fellow dragons and was granted immortality that he would have otherwise never enjoyed without his scales.

    The first time you meet Seath, he cannot be killed. The next time you meet him, you must destroy his source of health regeneration before engaging with this dragon in a tight area that makes his already powerful area attacks all the more devastating. Seath was the facilitator of a great many events in Dark Souls lore and toppling him feels significant because of that.

    22. Sinh, the Slumbering Dragon (Dark Souls II)

    At the risk of spoilers for those who have not already figured it out, Sinh is the final dragon on this boss list and therefore my favorite dragon in the franchise.

    The reasons why are numerous, but ultimately boil down to the way that Sinh encapsulates the best parts of other dragons throughout these games. He fights like a dragon, he’s tough like a dragon should be tough (seriously, Sinh will straight up destroy you with ease), and his background and position as an end-boss are both worthy of the mystique these creatures carry. He’s everything you want a dragon boss to be.

    21. Asylum Demon (Dark Souls)

    I mentioned earlier that being the first boss in one of these games is one of the toughest jobs in the Souls universe. It’s a position made all the more difficult by the fact that all first bosses will have to be compared to Asylum Demon.

    Asylum Demon asks a lot out of Dark Souls players early on. You’ve barely had time to discover how the game works by the time you face him. Yet, the difficulty of this boss is so perfectly balanced as to force the player to engage in a trial by fire without completely burning them to the point of never wanting to play again. He is the perfect introduction to one of the greatest games ever.

    20. Smelter Demon (Dark Souls II)

    There is a legitimate argument to be made that Smelter Demon is the most difficult Souls boss ever designed. His attacks are capable of covering nearly the entirety of the arena you fight him in, leaving you with very little options in terms of escape. Twice during the encounter he is able to increase his already notable defense and strength skills to the point where you begin to wonder if he is actually broken. A single mistake can cost you everything. Perfection is the only way past this optional monster.

    19. Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower (Bloodborne)

    Within the peak of a clock tower sits Lady Maria upon a simple chair that may be her sad throne. Behind her is the face of the clock and all around are the soft ringing of the bells. As your character approaches her motionless body and reaches out, Maria grabs your arm and informs you that “A corpse...should be left well alone.”

    Incredible music, a chilling atmosphere, a fantastic set-up, and a great moveset that can only be beaten if you are operating at your very best makes Lady Maria impossible to forget much less leave alone This is simply one of the most beautiful fights in the entirety of the game.

    18. Sir Alonne (Dark Souls II)

    I love the idea of a samurai in the Dark Souls universe, and that’s exactly what this boss is. Decked out in samurai armor and wielding a samurai sword, you encounter Sir Allone in a cathedral-like setting at dawn (or perhaps dusk) atop a mirrored tile floor.

    Everything about this fight just feels so right from a presentation perspective. Of course, it should be noted that Sir Alonne is incredibly difficult. Though not cheap by any means, you could easily go into this fight with two companions and have a tough time beating this warrior.

    17. Slave Knight Gael (Dark Souls III)

    Considering that Slave Knight Gael is a fan favorite boss, and arguably the final boss of the Dark Souls series, his ranking might be questioned by a great many Souls fans. However, there are just a couple of bosses that improve upon what makes the Slave Knight fight so great. 

    Still, in terms of what is asked of the player, this is as good as final bosses get. Slave Knight is a relentless foe whose multiple phases somehow only expand the boss's already imposing power level. He’s theoretically interesting, his arena is fantastically designed, and Slave Knight’s animation is some of the best of any Souls boss. 

    16. The Pursuer (Dark Souls II)

    The easiest way to describe The Pursuer is that he’s the Nemesis of the Dark Souls universe. Much like Resident Evil 3’s resident stalker, The Pursuer can be encountered several times during Dark Souls II. Although his glowing red eyes, floaty movements, and intimidating stature may never fail to impress, you’ll begin to dread these encounters as this boss is no joke to fight. The fear of when you might encounter The Pursuer next elevates him above more prominent foes.

    15. Maiden Astraea (Demon’s Souls)

    There is no boss like Maiden Astraea in the entirety of this franchise or in all of gaming. Maiden Astraea isn’t a boss in the traditional sense. She doesn’t attack you and in fact admonishes you for trying to kill her. The only real challenge in this fight is a fairly tough, lone guardian knight. The maiden herself can be killed in a few hits. But the way that this fight makes you question the nature of your actions as well as the position of this potentially innocent character also makes it a lone voice of morality in the Dark Souls universe.

    14. Looking Glass Knight (Dark Souls II)

    Not every Souls fight has to present itself as epic in order to be epic. Yet, there is something to be said for fights that feel like something special before the battle even begins.

    Such is the case with Looking Glass Knight. Atop a crumbling stone summit in the midst of a lightning storm, you fight this giant, metal knight and his mirrored shield. The reflection of the lightning off of the knight’s armor as well as his ability to make dark minions emerge from his shield make this one of the more visually pleasing fights in the series and goes to show that not every great Souls fight needs to make you want to tear your hair out.

    13. Sister Friede & Father Ariandel (Dark Souls III)

    It’s honestly a coin flip between this boss and the final Dark Souls 3 boss on this list. While there is one Dark Souls 3 boss I like slightly better, this is still one of the best-designed boss fights in Souls history. 

    Sister Friede and her incredibly scary companion Father Ariandel will test the best Dark Souls 3 players in a way that few other bosses in the game do. Each phase of this three-phase fight is vastly different, thematically amazing, and build off each other in ways both subtle and grand. Defeating Friede’s final form is a true badge of honor. 

    12. Bell Gargoyles (Dark Souls)

    Given that many fans of this series got their first taste of these games courtesy of Dark Souls, the Bell Gargoyles have a special place in many gamers hearts as the first time they felt they had accomplished something impossible.

    The first Bell Gargoyle you must fight is tough enough, but by the time that the second joins the battle, you will swear that you have been given an impossible fight to win. Slowly, though, you begin to get closer and closer to victory and realize that you can do this. When that victory blow finally occurs and you get to ring that bell that you know will echo into other worlds, the feeling is indescribable.

    11. Flamelurker (Demon’s Souls)

    Given that I’d like to elaborate on these final ten picks a little more, I almost moved Flamelurker out of the top 10 considering that the words I have to say about it may not be fit to print.

    Nevertheless, you can’t talk about the greatest bosses in these games without including the Demon’s Souls boss that made nearly every single player regret their purchase at least somewhat. Flamelurker is as close as From Software can come to designing a simply unfair boss fight without making it actually impossible. He can close the gap on you in half of a second and the few hits he allows do little to impact his overall health.

    This is a brutal, punishing fight that just so happens to make you feel like you can beat anything these games can throw at you. You’re not wrong.

    10. Nameless King (Dark Souls III)

    There’s a strong argument to be made for Nameless King’s title as the best boss battle in Dark Soulshistory. That argument won’t be made here, even if the research that went into this list left me wondering if he is perhaps worthy of that honor. 

    Here’s what I will say about Nameless King. In a series that doesn’t often dip its toes into the waters of traditional grandeur, the idea of an ancient dragon slayer riding his tamed dragon companion amongst his kingdom in the clouds is about as beautiful as a Souls fight gets. 

    While Nameless King is also a very challenging boss fight, it’s the ways that this fight challenges you that make it so special. Nameless King’s ability to swiftly strike with devastating AOE attacks will leave you wondering if you’ve somehow stumbled into a truly impossible situation. You haven’t, but beating this boss does make you feel as great as any victory in any Souls game. 

    9. Storm King (Demon’s Souls)

    Storm King is not a difficult fight. It always feels necessary to get that out of the way before praising a Soulsboss, given that the easier boss fights tend to hold a less than favorable position among many.

    The thing about the Storm King, though, is that it is anything but forgettable. The Storm King itself is a giant flying manta ray surrounded by a small army of manta rays. Though they may seem largely invulnerable to attack - or even impossible to attack at first, you’ll find that what you need to do is grab a special sword in this area that allows you to successfully damage your enemies with powerful ranged strikes.

    The concept of a boss specific weapon is a fascinating one, and combined with the aerial army you must take down, helps to ensure that this fight is one that you will never forget long after that frustrating generic beast has left your mind.

    8. Four Kings (Dark Souls)

    The Four Kings were the rulers of New Londo before they succumbed to an evil power. Now they rule over the ruins of a formerly great kingdom and have taken a ghostly form that barely resembles their former selves.

    The mechanics of this fight are interesting. Taking place in the almost total darkness of the abyss, you really don’t have a sense of location or scale to work with. Furthermore, the Four Kings share a health bar and - based on how you deal damage - can appear all at once or not at all. All of this makes for a confusing fight that easily overwhelms players who are trying to adjust to a battle that none other has quite prepared them for.

    What really makes this fight special, though, is how it scales. No other fight in the game scales in difficulty on subsequent playthroughs quite like this one, giving it a special place in the hearts of many hardcore Dark Souls players.

    7. Lost Sinner (Dark Souls II)

    Had the Lost Sinner not had a special mechanic, I believe she would still be ranked high. She’s not only pretty awesome looking, but so happens to be one of the most accomplished swordsmen in a series with no shortage of them.

    But again, the Lost Sinner’s mechanic does certainly elevate it. See, if you fight Lost Sinner before fighting the Belfry Gargoyles, you will have to do so in the dark. This not only makes tracking the boss difficult, it makes locking on impossible. If, however, you beat the Belfry Gargoyles first, then you will receive an item that lets you light the room and make the fight a little more manageable.

    This is a fascinating twist on the on the Metroidvania style of gameplay. Here your progress isn’t directly impeded by choosing one path before another, but rather indirectly so as to encourage you to explore the game further for a better option.

    6. Old Monk (Demon’s Souls)

    Did your friend’s ever play that trick on you when you were younger where they used the second NES controller to move the ducks in Duck Hunt just out of your reach? The Old Monk is a modern take on that concept.

    See, Old Monk is just a vessel. When you enter the arena, another player is summoned to take over as the old boss and attempt to kill you. Your fight against him, then, is actually a PvP fight. Depending on the player that inhabits the vessel, this fight can be quite challenging. At the same time, getting to play as The Old Monk yourself can be a particularly rewarding experience if you get to take out the frustrations you endured against the next player in line.

    The unique nature of this fight means that it doesn’t always work as intended, but it’s such an incredible innovative concept that to not remember it as a truly great moment in game design would be a crime.

    5. Sif, the Great Grey Wolf (Dark Souls)

    Sif is the loyal companion of Artorias the Abysswalker who died long ago. This great wolf guards the grave of its former master and even holds Artorias’ greatsword in its mouth during this battle.

    Even if you don’t know this going into the fight, there is a tragedy to this encounter that cannot be ignored. Sif may be a truly challenging boss, but due to the beauty of the wolf’s design and the excellent aesthetic qualities of the battleground, you do feel that striking down this great wolf is somehow wrong. It doesn’t help that Sif starts to visibly limp and suffer when it gets low on health

    Elements of character and lore have turned otherwise decent fights into memorable ones, and this is a truly great fight that becomes special when you consider those aspects. It’s impossible to forget.

    4. Knight Artorias The Abysswalker (Dark Souls)

    Sif may be an excellent guardian, but it is nothing compared to its master. This is one of the greatest characters in the entirety of franchise mythology. This is Knight Artorias the Abysswalker.

    Knight Artorias was either an incredible hero or a tremendous villain depending on your time and perspective. What was never denied was his prowess as a warrior, which will be made abundantly clear as you try to tangle with this expert of sword and shield. Implemented as part of the Dark Souls additional content, Knight Artorias was designed to tax even the most capable of players and does so with seeming ease.

    Given the incredible amount of lore surrounding this character, you would think that it would be impossible for this fight to lie up to expectations. It doesn’t. It exceeds them triumphantly.

    3. Tower Knight (Demon’s Souls)

    Tower Knight is special to the franchise if you played these games in order of release. He was the boss that invoked the greatest feeling a boss in these games can invoke. The feeling of helplessness. The feeling of “What now?”

    This incredible giant wields a spear and shield that is nearly as large as he is. Even better, he is flanked by archers that are able to take you down before the Knight ever gets a chance. Beating him is a multi-step process, but there is no real gimmick or trick to this fight. For sure you will need to accomplish certain goals before the boss can be toppled, but the brilliance here is that the game manages to present you with a series of seemingly insurmountable obstacles and forces you to deal with them one by one.

    Yet, the really special aspect of this fight is the daunting scale of the Knight itself. This design has been copied many times, but no other hulking giant has ever inspired as much well-deserved fear as this Souls standout.

    2. Gehrman, the First Hunter (Bloodborne)

    You don’t engage in sword duels or one-on-one duels in these games traditionally speaking. Every boss is ultimately a pre-programmed series of attacks designed to attack you in a pattern until one of you are dead. The best bosses, though, have a way of making you forget this by conveying a feeling that you are engaging in a classic showdown just like the finale of a great samurai film.

    Gehrman is perhaps the best at conveying that feeling. This fast and aggressive boss is your equal in style and your better in skill. Among a field of white flowers, you shed each other's blood - mostly yours - in an ongoing duel that will push you to your limits, by forcing you to face what is essentially a better version of yourself.

    Gehrman doesn’t technically have to be the final boss in the game, but it’s impossible to think of a more appropriate climatic encounter than this one.

    1. Dragon Slayer Ornstein & Executioner Smough (Dark Souls)

    In a way, it feels unimaginative to name Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough the greatest boss fight. Doing so is tired, a little boring, and even a cliche. It’s like saying that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all-time.

    But do you know why people say that? Because it’s true. Ornstein and Smough are two bosses designed to perfectly complement each other while being individually intimidating. The fight against them comes after you’ve made it through one of the game’s toughest areas and the battle takes place in a majestic cathedral setting. These bosses are designed to be able to kill you from a million different angles and will have done so many times over before you finally beat them.

    At the start of this list, I said that ultimately these decisions come down to a feeling. While I was speaking abstractly - as I’m fond of doing - here I mean a very literal, very specific feeling. The feeling of finally toppling Ornstein & Smough is unmatched in the entirety of the franchise. Their greatness is a universal acknowledgment that may never be topped or equaled.


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    What you need to know about Shenmue 3, including latest news, release date, trailers, and more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Aug 13, 2018

    The Shenmue III announcement was one of the big surprises of E3 2015, leading to an initial clamor of support which saw its Kickstarter campaign well over $2m within hours of launch.

    Shenmue III's $6.3m total eclipsed the previous record holder, Blood Stained: Ritual of the Night, which raised $5.5m. It's undoubtedly good news for fans of the earlier Shenmue games, and a sign of how much demand there is for a sequel among the sandbox series' cult following. But it's also some distance from the (perhaps over-ambitious) target Suzuki once set. He recently said he needed to raise $10m to make Shenmue III "a much larger, completely open world" video game.

    You may recall that the first Shenmue, first released in Japan in 1999, cost a reported $70m - a staggering sum for the time, and still a significant budget for a piece of entertainment even in 2015. Shenmue III will, barring some hefty private investment added at a later date, have less than 10 percent of that budget to play with - though its designers at Ys Net will at least be able to save money by using an off-the-peg engine (Unreal Engine 4) and recycled assets from earlier entries in the series.

    At any rate, the success of the Kickstarter campaign means that the once-dormant Shenmue franchise has a new lease on life. We'll just have to wait and see how Suzuki can reintroduce the series to a new generation of consoles and potential fans.

    Here's everything else we know about the game:

    Shenmue 3 Trailer

    A new trailer for Shenmue 3 has arrived and it's all about the heroes and villains of this ongoing saga! Check it out below if you want a refresher course on the characters:

    Here are the other trailers released thus far:

    Shenmue 3 Release Date

    Shenmue III has been delayed to 2019. Publisher Deep Silver explained in a blog post that developer Ys Net is taking more time "to polish the quality of the game even further, to the high standards it deserves and release the product in the best possible time frame."

    The game is coming to PS4 and PC.

    Shenmue 3 Screenshots

    Check out the screenshots released so far:


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    Marvel's Spider-Man is on the way with a whole new adventure! Here's the latest trailer...

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Aug 13, 2018

    Insomniac's take on Spider-Man isn't just one of the PS4's biggest upcoming exclusive, it's one of the biggest titles in Marvel's new approach to game releases. Spider-Man will not be directly associated with the MCU or a particular film, but will instead tell a unique story of the studio's design. 

    Spider-Man will focus on young Peter Parker's battles against a still unconfirmed roster of classic comic book villains. As this game seems to take place relatively early into his superhero career, Parker will need to learn how to balance being the hero that NYC needs with the daily pressures of young adult life. 

    From what we've seen of Spider-Man thus far, we're expecting a high-octane superhero experience that doesn't skimp on the cinematic but also gives us the freedom we need to truly feel like we are Spider-Man. Call it a fantasy, but Insomniac looks to deliver on the seemingly impossible by gifting the world with a Spider-Man game that captures every aspect of this incredible character. 

    Here's everything we know about Spider-Man:

    Spider-Man PS4 News

    Marvel's Spider-Man is only a few weeks away! Sony has given us a new look at the game in the trailer below:

    Spider-Man PS4 Release Date

    Spider-Man will be out on September 7, 2018. The game is coming exclusively to the PlayStation 4.

    Read the Den of Geek SDCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Spider-Man PS4 Trailer

    This story trailer from SDCC 2018 gives us a much better idea of what Spider-Man's arching narrative will cover. While it stops short of spoiling the adventure, it does confirm that Spider-Man is dealing with a city under siege by supervillains and citizens of the city who believe he is doing more harm than good. 

    Spider-Man's E3 2018 gameplay trailer sheds a little light on the game's full roster of villains. It ends with a tease of one Spider-Man foe that Insomniac isn't ready to show yet. 

    Here are all the other trailers released thus far:


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    Echoes lets you experience the original Half-Life through the eyes of another Black Mesa employee.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 13, 2018

    Despite being about 20 years old, Half-Life is no less popular in the modding community. The latest major Half-Life mod, Half-Life: Echoes, explores the events of the first game from the viewpoint of just another Black Mesa employee. 

    Yes, Echoes casts you in the role of a low-level employee at the Black Mesa complex whose day job world is rocked by the events of the first game. That employee is only referred to by the mod's creator, James Cockburn, as "Candidate 12," so it's not entirely clear from the outset what his job at Black Mesa is or how, exactly, he fits into the experiment gone wrong that triggers the events of the original Half-Life

    This actually isn't the first time that we've been treated to viewing the events of the original Half-Life through a fresh set of eyes. Official expansion Half-Life: Blue Shiftallowed us to play as security guard Barney Calhoun as he tried to make sense of what is happening. Half-Life: Opposing Force saw you play as one of the soldiers sent to take care of the alien invasion that has consumed the research facility (as well as anyone else who gets in their way). 

    However, this mod's story could be special simply because it gives us a more rounded look at what happened at Black Mesa as well as allows us to re-experience the events of the original Half-Life through the eyes of an average employee who is just as confused as first-time players were. 

    Reviews are slowly coming in for the mod, but early impressions suggest that it does a great job of capturing the spirit of the original Half-Life while telling a story that is able to stand tall on its own. There aren't many detailed reviews for the mod available at the moment, but it seems like this first-time mod creator may have delivered something that Half-Life fans should consider playing. 

    If you are interested in playing Echoes, you can download this free mod here. Just be aware that you'll need the Steam version of Half-Life (not Half-Life Source) in order for the mod to run properly. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth could be the best expansion yet, thanks to the new Island Expeditions.

    Feature Matthew Byrd
    Aug 13, 2018

    Editor's Note: This preview covers a hands-on demo from PAX East 2018. It does not reflect the final product. 

    I haven't played much World of Warcraft since George W. Bush was president, so I went into a hands-on demo at PAX East curious to see how much had changed in Blizzard's MMORPG. What I discovered is that the game's new expansion, Battle for Azeroth, is a great re-entry point for those players who left the game long ago. 

    The first thing I was asked to do when jumping into Battle for Azeroth was to join the Horde or Alliance and prepare for an Island Expedition, the expansion's new three-player cooperative mission mode, which can be played in PvE and 3v3. I, along with two other players, sided with the Horde to face off against three Alliance opponents.

    After quickly customizing our high-ranked characters, we picked a quest and were sent off to one of the game’s new island areas. The exact place we spawned in on that island was randomly determined when we activated the quest. More on that later.

    For now, what you need to know is that Battle for Azeroth’s Island Expeditions require you and two others to mine an island for the new resource, Azerite. This resource is vital to the war effort and can be acquired in a few different ways. The most obvious method is to utilize the on-map “hot spots” and target areas of highly concentrated Azerite supplies, but the resource can be acquired by combating enemies across the map as well.

    Our goal was to acquire 6000 Azerite before the Alliance players we were competing against did the same. How we went about defeating our opponents and the island's monsters was very much up to us.

    That’s where Island Expeditions get very interesting. Expeditions are designed in a way that allows teams to get very creative with how they approach their tasks. You can go after some of the Azerite hot spots, but you might not be prepared for the surprisingly challenging monsters that often guard them. You can hang in the perimeter and challenge lesser beings, but it's a race against the clock, so you might not be able to collectively acquire 6000 Azerite before your potentially bolder opponents manage to do so.

    The WoW team has explained that the build of your party doesn’t have to be perfect - just your strategy and teamwork. In other words, you can approach each island with a balanced party of character types, but it’s entirely possible that three tanks or three healers will devise a way to approach the island’s challenges in a way that takes advantage of their skills. Actually, one of the major themes of Battle for Azeroth is the idea that your hero is more than just another adventurer, both in a gameplay sense and in terms of the game's narrative. 

    "You're a representative in many ways," said World of Warcraft producer Daniel Stahl during our interview. "You are the hero that is being sent to these new continents to deal with the problems that exist for those people in a sense to represent your faction and to represent here's what the Alliance can do for you. Here's what the Horde can do for you. You are that Ambassador in many ways that's going to help the local people in these continents, but you're also gonna strike out and create a foothold on the other continent, and you get to play that role."

    I learned the value of appreciating everyone's role in this world the hard way during my demo. Since I was a little...err...rusty at WoW, and since I was trying to learn a freshly built high-level character, my play was not exactly up to par. That’s a problem because Island Expeditions may accommodate various strategies, but they offer little tolerance for mistakes. Happen upon some elite targets or other high-level monsters without a plan of attack in mind, and you will be wiped before you're able to even glimpse the precious Azerite resources the most powerful creatures guard.

    On top of this, you have the aspects of the expeditions you can't entirely prepare for. I mentioned earlier that your spawn point on whatever island you choose is randomized. I learned that from some members of the Battle for Azeroth design team, who also explained that each Expedition could potentially feature special events or enemy spawns that we might not have seen on our particular playthrough. 

    "The dynamic nature of these islands is that we've created sort of this enemy, these advanced NPC groups," said Stahl. "These are all different places with different creatures, different pitfalls, different traps, there are all kinds of different things there. But the consistency is that you'll understand what you need to do."

    What that means is that it’s going to be quite difficult for even seasoned World of Warcraft players (such as my two demo companions) to form the perfect strategy for every Expedition. There are many variables in play that will require you to think on your feet and, at times, make the best of a bad situation. As Stahl explained, the presence of another team on each island leads to a lot of circumstances where you must react dynamically in order to win. 

    In that sense, Island Expeditions really do feel like the best possible pieces of endgame content that World of Warcraft has to offer. While it's true that WoW has never been short on compelling endgame content, the dynamic nature of these challenges - combined with the various available difficulty levels and PvP specific options - suggests that these islands are going to be very popular among players whose greatest thrill in the game comes from besting the world’s toughest challenges through immaculate teamwork and personal performance.

    Most importantly, Island Expeditions don’t feel quite like any other piece of content in the game. This mode borrows ideas from dungeons, raids, and other quests, but the combination of mechanics, challenges, and rewards offered makes it feel like a refreshing take on the things that make WoWso great in the first place. There's some worry that the basic act of gathering Azerite could become repetitive, but these new adventures are really about finding ways to persevere in difficult and unpredictable situations. The Azerite component feels more like the tie that binds (though collecting the resource could help you in the greater war at play) all of these ideas together.

    "Think of Island Expeditions as that personal scouting method into the conflict," said Stahl "You're going to have skirmishes with the other side and start to get an idea of this conflict is worldwide, right? Every island you go to is representing a different place in that Southsea, so you're showing that this conflict exists everywhere."

    Blizzard has also previously stated that Battle for Azeroth is meant to tap into the Horde vs. Alliance battle that is the heart of the Warcraft series. The expansion will accomplish that through large-scale assaults, a more involved narrative that takes a look at both sides of the battle, and events that will have serious repercussions on the never-ending war. Yet, when we’re talking about returning to the heart of WoW, it is the Island Expeditions that just might remind long-time and returning players of the kind of content that drew them into the game’s persistent online world in the first place.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine here!


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    This Dark Souls 3 project wants to redefine "like a boss."

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 13, 2018

    If you're looking for a unique way to re-experience Dark Souls 3 (or even play the game for the first time), you might want to check out this new mod that lets you play as one of the game's bosses. 

    Actually, that brief description doesn't come close to capturing what this mod offers. When we say that you can play as one of the game's bosses, we don't mean that you get to control them in the boss fight or in a very limited scenario. We mean that this mod lets you pick a boss and explore the entirety of Dark Souls 3's world as that character. Needless to say, that's an ambitious concept. 

    However, it must be said that ambition in this instance also equals some technical trouble. Needless to say, Dark Souls 3 wasn't designed to be played as a fire-breathing dragon or a 20-feet tall giant with a flaming sword. As such, there's a fair deal of clipping, some camera issues, and more than a few balance issues caused by the fact that some of Dark Souls 3's bosses are essentially overpowered. 

    All things considered, though, this mod's technical issues are fairly easy to overlook when you weight them against the ambition of this concept and the way that the mod's creator has managed to translate the abilities and looks of these different bosses into the game. 

    That creator, who shared some information about the game over on Reddit, is also responsible for the development of Dark Souls'Age of Fire mod which promised to let you play as bosses/enemies in that game. However, it seems that he has transitioned to the development of this new project due to the fact that Dark Souls 3 has a more active community. 

    Unfortunately, there's no release date available for the full version of this Dark Souls 3 mod at this time. With some luck, though, a playable version of the concept should be available soon. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    Gris is a platformer game with style to spare. Feast your eyes on its reveal trailer.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 14, 2018

    Judging a game by its graphics triggers the urge to utilize that old "book by its cover" saying, but we have to say that Gris may just be one of the rare games that are beautiful enough to justify playing regardless of the finer details. 

    Gris is one of the few games that utilizes frame-by-frame hand-drawn animation. Even if there were more developers willing to put that absurd amount of effort into creating the visuals of a title, we'd doubt that there would be many out there that are quite as beautiful as Gris. It features a kind of washed out watercolor style that is complemented by fluid character movements and environmental elements that adjust to your actions. 

    The result is something that combines the innocent dreamlike creativity of a child's watercolor work with the refinement you only get from professional animators (the artist in this instance being Conrad Roset). It's an incredible visual style that draws the eye and inspires your imagination. 

    Oh, and the game itself is apparently pretty good too. 

    A report by Eurogamer states that Gris was heavily inspired by the atmospheric platforming of Journey. To that end, it sounds like the goal of the game isn't to offer an overwhelmingly challenging platforming experience but rather the kind of game that uses the comfortable conventions of the platformer as a vehicle for a marvelous visual experience. The gameplay that is there seems to emphasize flying and floating as much as running and jumping. 

    That said, it's clear that developer Nomada isn't exactly eager to start sharing every detail about the game ahead of its official release. As such, we're going to have to wait until the game is released for PC and Switch this December to see if the full experience lives up to the beauty of the visuals. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    Director Shawn Levy says the Uncharted movie is almost ready to kick off.

    News Paul Bradshaw
    Aug 14, 2018

    In sad news for Nathan Fillion, it seems like the Uncharted movie is getting closer to going ahead without him. 

    Last month’s live action fan film got everyone excited about seeing Nathan Drake on the big screen again and we all started talking about how great Fillion would be in the role, how director Allan Ungar would probably do a really good job, and how it’s completely unacceptable that it’s taken this long to make an Uncharted film. 

    Talking to The Playlist, officially attached director Shawn Levy (Night At The MuseumReal Steel) confirmed that the film is getting “close to the starting line," with Tom Holland still down to play Drake. 

    “We now have a very good script and we have our star in Tom Holland. That is now subject to schedule and additional casting. But I would say as of right now, that seems to be the most near the horizon. And it’s a movie I’m very excited about.”

    It’s safe to say that it’s a movie we’re all very excited about – as Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series probably represents the best chance a videogame adaptation has ever had of not being lousy. But what is Levy going to do with it? And is casting a (presumably) younger version of Drake the right choice? 

    After this many years, we’ll believe it when we see it…

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    What other farming sim lets you steal underpants and encourage a fist fight between two middle aged men?

    FeatureJenny Morrill
    Aug 14, 2018

    This Stardew Valley article contains major spoilers.

    There are so many ways to play Stardew Valley that it's quite possible to sink 100+ hours into the game and not see even half the cutscenes it has to offer. I mean, who needs to go for dinner with Jodi, or take part in the Luau - you're too busy watering thousands of parsnips and following Shane around, amirite?

    If this sounds like you, then it might be a good idea to play through a save with the intention of befriending everyone and seeing all their heart events, taking part in all the town festivals, and generally being a fine upstanding member of the Pelican Town community. Well, maybe apart from the Luau... I'll get to that.

    There are all kinds of cutscenes in Stardew Valley - some are heartwarming, some are heartbreaking, and some are downright hilarious. Here are the scenes that regularly cause my sides to kick the bucket...

    Clint and Emily Advertise Joja Bluu

    When and where? Shane's 7 heart event. Head to town between 10 am and 4 pm on a sunny day. (You also need 2 hearts with Clint and Emily.)

    Poor Clint (or as I like to call him, Sir Clint of the Friendzone). The local blacksmith is on a seemingly neverending quest to woo ditzy and oblivious barmaid Emily. As the farmer, you can choose to help him get over his shyness and finally ask her out. Or, you can marry Emily right under his nose. Them's the breaks I guess.

    In this scene, Shane has a new video camera, which he's using to enter Joja Mart's advert competition. His advert involves Emily and a red-faced, stuttering Clint having a discussion about Joja Bluu, a new energy drink which "doesn't cause significant erosion of the stomach lining." And it's cheaper than water!

    Also - although not really canon - in a fan mod that lets the player marry Clint, the modder chose this portrait as Clint's "depressed" face:

    Dude.

    Willy's Got Crabs

    When and where? Willy's 6 heart event. Go to the beach between 6 am and 5:10 pm

    This scene is brand new, courtesy of the 1.3 update. Once you've reached a high enough level of friendship with local fisherman Willy, you turn up at his shop one day to discover he has a problem, and would you mind helping him out?

    What on earth can it be, you wonder. Judging by Willy's reaction, it's either pirates or an unexploded bomb.

    Nope. Turns out Willy's crab breeding experiment (a nice reference to one of the other events) has gone horribly wrong, and now the place has been taken over by the orange buggers. Luckily, you and Gus, Pelican Town's chef extraordinaire, are on hand to clear things up. Of note is Gus' evil yet practical aside to you - "Don't tell Willy, but I'll be having a special on crab cakes at the Saloon." Congratulations, I think you just helped with a mass murder.

    Emily's Dance

    When and where? Emily's 6 heart event. Go to Emily's house.

    Emily is so New Age she's a week last Tuesday. (Shut up, it made sense in my head.) As such, one of the ways you bond with her is by witnessing her new, spiritual dance routine. She urges you to "allow yourself to be carried away to a better place," and then... well, I think someone spikes your Tizer.

    The dance is awesome enough, but the best bit is the choice of response the player has afterwards:

    I've never picked option 3 because I am not a serial killer. One day I will, when I hate myself as a person.

    The Bear

    When and where? Find Secret Note #23: the bear has a request.

    Another 1.3 newcomer, this is a charming little scene in which you meet a bear who can't spell (although I'd say he can spell pretty well for a bear) and wants to get his hands on some maple syrup. As of the 1.3 update's PC release, the bear is fast becoming one of SDV's best-loved characters, despite only appearing briefly. I suspect the reason for this is the bear's portraits, which imply he is the Ron Jeremy of the Secret Woods:

    And who am I to argue. I'm not implying I'd have sex with a bear, though. I'm also not implying that I'd have sex with Ron Jeremy.

    Pierre vs. Morris

    When and where? Complete the Community Center.

    When you complete SDV's main storyline and restore the Community Centre to its former glory, you are rewarded with one of two scenes. In the middle of the grand reopening, the game's antagonist, Joja Mart boss Morris, turns up and tries to stick a spanner in the works. He's still determined to drive shopkeeper Pierre out of business. Pierre's having none of it.

    The player has two choices when they intervene:

    If you're leaning towards "Let's settle this the old fashioned way," then you are cool and rad and I would like to be your friend. Selecting this option leads Pierre and Morris to have a fist fight, while Pierre's wife, Caroline, yells "Leave it, Steve, he's not worth it," town grump George eggs them on, and Willy... well, Willy doesn't notice because he's staring at the fish tank the entire time.

    Did I mention Pierre used to be a boxer? I think we can all figure out how this one ends.

    "To the Moon, Alice!"

    Dinner with Jodi

    When and where? Jodi's 4 heart event. Jodi turns up at your house.

    NB: if I accidentally refer to Jodi as "Newman," it's because I call her that in my head - she pissed me off once when I was watching a lot of Seinfeld.

    Anyway, your new BFF Jodi invites you for dinner! That's nice, isn't it? Except she asks you to bring YOUR OWN BLOODY DINNER.

    "Oh by the way, will you stop whatever you're doing and go catch a specific fish that's quite hard to catch, and then bring it over? Other than that, tonight's totally on me!"

    Shut up, Jodi.

    My farmer obviously agrees with me, because when she turns up with the fish, she also delivers a sick burn:

    "There's your stupid fish, now pick it up off the floor, you lazy bitch."

    You make me work? You get floor dinner.

    The Mayor's Underpants in the Soup

    When and where? Summer 3: you'll get a letter from Mayor Lewis.

    Long-time SDV players will know of the illicit affair between shopkeeper Marnie and Lewis, the Mayor of Pelican Town. Why their affair has to be kept secret has never really been explained, other than "it would undermine Lewis' position of authority in the town." Yeah whatev. Personally, I think he's seeing Robin the carpenter on the side.

    Regular players will also know of an early-game quest - Lewis sends you a note, asking you to please retrieve his lost undies, which are - surprise surprise - in Marnie's bedroom. Why he can't just go and get them himself remains a mystery.

    The point is that you, the farmer, end up in possession of the Mayor's underpants. What you do with them is a matter for your conscience. You could give them straight back if you were a boring div. Or, you could display them at the annual Stardew Valley Fair:

    Or - and fans are over the moon that Eric has added this for 1.3 - you could put them in the communal soup at the town Luau. Admittedly, this does take some sacrifice on your part, as the town will end up hating you a bit, but let's face it - if you wanted people to like you, you would have given the underpants straight back.

    I love how the Governor somehow manages to get the underpants IN HIS BOWL without noticing.

    Dwarf and Krobus Fight

    When and where? Earn 50 friendship points with Dwarf, buy a Stardrop from Krobus, then enter the sewer.

    The town's two resident otherwordly beings, shadow brute Krobus and dwarf, erm, Dwarf, have a long history of war between their factions. This comes to a head when Dwarf stumbles on Krobus' shop in the sewers. The farmer walks in on the pair settling their age-old conflict by going at it like Jeremy Kyle contestants:

    "Come and get it, shrimpy." Krobus wins on sass alone. Two of the most terrifying beings in the Ferngill Republic settle things by bitch slapping each other. Also, how is Krobus bitch-slapping anyone when he has no arms?

    Elliott and Gus at the Saloon

    When and where? Elliott's 4 heart event. Enter the Saloon between 3 pm and 10 pm.

    I think we can all agree that Elliott is the town's most prominent Victorian hipster. As the farmer, I'm not necessarily laughing at him, but I actually am most of the time. Elliott's flowery, archaic one-liners are loved by SDV fans, but something that perhaps doesn't get enough credit is Gus' reaction to one of them. Note that you have to play as a female farmer to trigger this.

    Elliott: "Bartender! Fetch me your finest ale. And bring some wine for the lady."

    Gus:

    My thoughts exactly, Gus.

    Stick some love for Pelican Town in the comments...

    Read the latest Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition Magazine here!


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    Everything we know about Strange Brigade, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Aug 14, 2018

    Sniper Elite development team Rebellion has revealed the latest supernatural addition to the series. Strange Brigade will take players to the "remote corners of the British Empire" where they will the need to combat various supernatural forces with the help of firearms, explosives, and good ole' melee attacks. 

    Much like the Nazi Zombie Army series, Strange Brigade is a 1-4 player shooter experience that emphasizes co-op gameplay. Basically, you should be thinking of Left 4 Deadwhen imagining the kind of chaotic gameplay this title will surely offer. 

    Strange Brigade distinguishes itself from the co-op shooter pack with its serial adventure inspired universe that seems to take more cues from the Universal monster movies than George Romero. The brief reveal trailer for the game reveals what appears to be ancient Egyptian mythological monsters, cave-dwelling creatures, and other guardians of legend who look a tad bit more formidable than the average member of the walking dead.

    Here's everything else you need to know:

    Strange Brigade News

    A brand new gameplay trailer has arrived for Strange Brigade! Check it out here:

    Strange Brigade Release Date

    Strange Brigade will launch on August 28, 2018. The game is coming to PC, PS4, and Xbox One. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Strange Brigade Trailer

    This trailer focuses on the bounty of post-release content you'll get via the game's season pass. Take a look at what you can expect from the game. 

    This developer playthrough of Strange Brigade from E3 2018 reveals a level from the promising co-op shooter. 

    Here are the other trailers released thus far:

    And here are 14 more minutes of gameplay:


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    As World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth arrives, we're looking back at the game's 25 greatest moments!

    Feature Jason M. Gallagher
    Aug 14, 2018

    If you're one of the many people that once called WoW home and have since moved on to other games or adventures in life, there's no denying that World of Warcraft holds a special place in the hearts of many. The game has provided its players with not just memorable moments in-game, but has at times also transcended the games industry and spilled out into our popular culture.

    With the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth, set to launch in a few months, we thought this would be the perfect time to take a trip back into the game's storied history. Here are our top 25 World of Warcraft moments, in-game and IRL, of the last 10+ years.

    Buy all your World of Warcraft swag here!

    The Blood Plague

    Ebola ain't got nothing on Corrupted Blood. One of the very first World of Warcraft moments to get the game significant press in the mainstream media, this virtual plague began on September 13, 2005 and lasted for about a week. Players discovered an exploit that allowed them to take a debuff that was dished out by Hakkar The Soulflayer, the end boss of the Zul'Gurub raid instance, and use it to infect unsuspecting players in the game's major cities.

    The "disease" was highly contagious and rapidly jumped from player to player, quickly killing hundreds of low level characters that came into contact with it. Blizzard had to code in a quarantine of sorts and the player base reacted by changing the way they played the game, including staying out of the major cities in order to avoid infection. The pandemic and ensuing reaction caught the attention of scientists, who used the incident as a case study on how human beings might react in the case of a bio-terrorist attack or accidental deadly outbreak.

    Did Someone Say Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker?

    Molten Core was vanilla WoW's first major raid instance, and a sword called Thunderfury was one of the game's first seriously coveted pieces of loot. As a "legendary" item, Thunderfury was more powerful than even the "epic" gear that dropped off of most raid bosses. Befitting its status, obtaining Thunderfury was no simple task.

    Players had to obtain two different low percentage drops off two different Molten Core bosses, and that was just the beginning. Thunderfury's long quest line would serve as a blueprint for how Blizzard would handle "legendary" items for many years to come. The sword has continued to be popular in the years since Molten Core, most likely because of how easy it is to solo the raid instance now and attempt to get the needed drops.

    Thunderfury is also responsible for a meme that still pops up in one of the game's main chat channels even today. A player will ask, "Did someone say Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker?" at which point multiple players will start linking the item in trade chat, which of course then dissolves into people linking every other legendary added to the game since, greatly annoying all the normal people trying to use the channel for its intended purpose. (Some might argue that this IS trade's intended purpose, but I digress.)

    Leeroy Jenkins

    Leeroy is arguably the most famous WoW character of all-time, which is funny, considering that the viral Internet video that created him was completely staged.

    The video was released by guild "PALS FOR LIFE" in 2005. In it, "Leeroy" and his guildmates are about to pull a difficult room in the Upper Blackrock Spire dungeon. The group goes over an in-depth analysis of the upcoming battle, calculating their odds of survival. Sadly for the group, Leeroy walked away from the keyboard and never heard the plan. Upon returning to his computer, he simply screams his name and runs into battle, tossing the group's careful preparation out the window and ultimately leading to their deaths.

    Jenkins quotes of "LEEEROOOY!" and "At least I have chicken" are still widely quoted by the player base today. Blizzard has honored the character's place in WoW's history several times, including making Leeroy a playable card in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

    The Onyxia Wipe Audio

    "Odd groups got left, even groups got right."

    So starts one of the most epic recordings of a raid in WoW's history. What makes this recording so special is that unlike Leeroy, it really happened.

    In early 2006, someone recorded the Ventrilo audio of Wipe Club guild leader Dives during the encounter in Onyxia's lair. Most players thought it was funny enough just because of Dives foreign accent, but things took a turn when someone didn't follow the leader's precise instructions.

    Dives' screaming of phrases like "Many whelps! Handle it!" and "50 DKP Minus!" quickly found their way into the lexicon of every WoW player.

    South Park WoW Episode

    You know you've made it when Matt Stone and Trey Parker come after you.

    This 2006 episode saw Stan, Kyle, and the rest of the boys adventuring in Azeroth, only to be foiled by an evil character who kept killing them off. South Park had Blizzard's full cooperation, including in-game graphics for the episode, even though Stone and Parker used "Make Love, Not Warcraft" as an opportunity to make fun of gamer stereotypes.

    "Whoever this person is, he has played World of Warcraft nearly every hour, of every day, for the past year and a half. Gentlemen, we are dealing with someone here who has absolutely no life."

    Azeroth is saved after the boys use the Sword of a Thousand Truths, (arguably a rip-off of famous WoWswords like Thunderfury) to vanquish their attacker.

    Illegal Danish (and Other WoW Machinima)

    As World of Warcraft grew in popularity, more and more players wanted to try and make their own creative mark on the game and its community. One of the first original movies featuring in-game graphics to really take off was called Illegal Danish Super Snacks. The machinima film by Myndflame won multiple awards in a contest held by Blizzard and Xfire.

    Illegal Danish features many memorable quotes (ARCANITE REAPER.... HOOOOOO!) that players started using in-game. The success of Illegal Danish and other early works led to an explosion of WoW machinima films on sites like WarcraftMovies. Not every film is a priceless work of art, but a great deal of them can probably claim influence from this early classic.

    Southshore vs. Tarren Mill

    When World of Warcraft first launched, the game didn't have any of the PvP battlegrounds or arenas that we have today. If you wanted to kill players of the opposite faction, you simply had to go out into the world and hunt them down.

    One of the earliest zones to see Alliance vs. Horde bloodshed was Hillsbrad Foothills. The map located north of Ironforge featured an Alliance town, Southshore, and a Horde town, Tarren Mill, in close proximity to each other. Players from both sides formed up at their respective town and then attempted to push forward and take over the opposing side. The fights quickly got out of control with hundreds of players from all across the server all descending on Hillsbrad to try and lead their faction to victory.

    What is truly remarkable about SS vs. TM is that there were no real rewards to win, other than the satisfaction of destroying the other side. The battle, and World PvP in general, is often brought up by WoW veterans as something that they miss the most in the game's current landscape.

    Blizzard will be giving players a taste of what this epic battle to the death used to be like during its special 10 year anniversary event in-game. Players will be able to go to an instanced version of Southshore vs. Tarren Mill and fight in a 40 v. 40 battle.

    High Warlord/Grand Marshal

    Once Blizzard finally implemented an actual PvP system, things intensified in a different way. PvP had a tiered gearing system, and the better you were at PvP, the better tiers you had access to. But in order to reach the highest possible ranking of High Warlord for the Horde or Grand Marshal for the Alliance, players had to be absolutely dedicated. If you took even one week off, you could plummet back down the ladder and have to climb all over again.

    In order to hit the top ranks, some gamers played for 16 to 20 hours every day. Some even shared accounts (against Blizzard's terms of service) and took turns playing the same character to try and increase the chances of getting the best gear. Blizzard would eventually do away with this system so that players would no longer have to kill themselves to get gear, but the system is still remembered fondly by some. Hitting Grand Marshal or High Warlord was a sign that you were truly hardcore.

    Alterac Valley Lasting All Day

    Speaking of hardcore, how about Alterac Valley in its first couple of iterations? Whereas other battleground maps focused on smaller scale 10 v. 10 or 15 v. 15 battles, Alterac Valley was the first, and for a long time, the only 40 v. 40 map. AV was also a bit different in that it contained PvE objectives that needed to be accomplished in order to win the PvP battle. As such, AV was immensely popular with the player base.

    What made the battle truly epic in the beginning was that one match could literally go on seemingly forever. If one side started to win the fight, the opposing side could "turtle" at one of several bottlenecks along the map and delay or even push back the aggressors. Add in NPCs that could be summoned into the battle to fight for you, and the overall feel of the match could change at any given moment. It wasn't uncommon for the typical Alterac Valley to last for several hours. The most epic battles would literally take up much of your day. Blizzard eventually implemented a system that gave all battlegrounds a finite amount of time to complete, but classic AV will always be remembered by those who were there.

    AQ Event

    Ahn'Qiraj was vanilla WoW's third major tier of end game content, and Blizzard wanted to do something special to celebrate its release. When AQ was first patched into the game, the gates to its 40 and 20 man raids were closed. In order to "open the gates" and get access to the next tier of content, the entire server had to participate in collecting various items for the "AQ War Effort." Once players collected enough items, a limited, one-time only event took place out in the desert near the raid entrance. Players had to do battle with some of the huge monsters they would be fighting inside the raids out in the open world. It sounds like a fun idea, but in practice, it was a real headache. Having every single player on the server show up to fight in the same spot caused some significant lag issues, which is why players have never really gotten another event quite like this one since.

    The Most Amazing Raid That Nobody Saw

    At the tail end of vanilla WoW, Blizzard released a new 40 man raid called Naxxramas. It was by far the most difficult content available in the game, with players needing gear from Blackwing Lair and Ahn'Qiraj to even have a chance of survival. Those who got to play it still say that it was one of the most tightly tuned but epic experiences Blizzard has ever created.

    That said, Blizzard learned an important lesson from Naxx that had a significant impact on future development of the game. The developer didn't see the point to spending so many hours of development time for a raid that so few players would ever get to see because of its difficulty. You could argue the failure of many players to ever get to Naxx is one of the reasons Blizzard began to take steps to make its raid content more accessible to a larger group of players.

    Blizzard has gotten plenty of mileage out of Naxx since those early days, reusing it as the entry-level raid for Wrath of the Lich King and even using an adaption of it as Hearthstone's first PvE adventure.

    I Can Fly, I Can Fly!

    When Blizzard released The Burning Crusade, WoW's first expansion in 2007, one of the biggest new features was the ability to gain a flying mount at the new level cap of 70. Adding flight is arguably one of the biggest changes to WoW's gameplay over its 10 year history. Every zone had to be designed with the idea of players being able to take to the skies at max level.

    Flying provided a great thrill and sense of progression for many players, but some also hold it responsible for hurting other aspects of the game. With players now able to mount up and take off in seconds to avoid danger, that classic World PvP made famous in the Southshore and Tarren Mill days started to die off. It could also be said that the world felt a little less alive in some spots, with everyone hovering up in the air by themselves all the time instead of traveling the world by foot alongside other players.

    Blizzard may be attempting to fix some of these issues in Draenor. Players will not be able to fly at all in the new zones, and while the ability might be patched in at some point in the expansion, Blizzard has remained non-committal. It sounds like we might be getting an experience that harkens back to the days of classic WoW.

    The Horde Can Now Bubblehearth

    In vanilla, each faction had a class that was exclusive to them. Only the Alliance had the Paladin class, and only the Horde had Shamans. While this was fun from a lore perspective, it created some problems with game balance. The raid designers had to test every encounter twice, to make sure that each faction could beat it without access to the other faction's special class.

    When Blizzard announced that the Horde would be getting Paladins and the Alliance would be getting Shamans in The Burning Crusade, it was a huge bombshell for the player base and a source of heated debate in some corners. In the end though, both factions have seemed to accept the new roles over time.

    We continue our list of the top 25 best moments in World of Warcraft's long 10-year history! Love this? Make sure to check out all of our BlizzCon 2014 coverage!

    Karazhan Attunement and Beyond

    Upon hitting level 70 in The Burning Crusade, players had to go through a complex series of requirements in order to unlock the expansion's first major raid, Karazhan. It involved running multiple dungeons in a specific order to acquire special items, and the later dungeons were not easy to complete. Still, the long attunement quest was well-received by much of the player base. Even the most difficult 5 man dungeon can be taken down eventually with enough persistence.

    Blizzard continued its attunement requirements for later raids in The Burning Crusade, but with mixed results. Eventually, the developer had to nerf or drop several requirements for getting into the more advanced tier 5 and tier 6 raids, because too many players could simply not progress.

    This shift from hardcore attunement requirements to eventually letting everyone in would be a precursor of things to come. Blizzard realized that players enjoyed the epic feeling of finishing an attunement, but also that if you made it too much work, your more casual players simply wouldn't bother and your subscription numbers would start to drop. That's a lesson that some other MMOs (*cough* Wildstar *cough*) still haven't learned.

    The Rise of Nyhm (and Other WoW Music Stars)

    The Burning Crusade era saw an increase in community contributions in line with the increase to the game's player base. One area where this was quite obvious was in the realm of machinima made popular by the likes of Illegal Danish Super Snacks back in vanilla.

    During BC, one area of machinima that really took off was music videos. In particular, one player made a bit of a name for himself and inspired many copycats in the process.

    "Nyhm" of Madcow Studios took popular modern songs and rewrote the lyrics to be about World of Warcraft. His rapper meets WoW videos such as "Hard Like Heroic" and "Ni Hao" brought in millions of views on YouTube and created a new focus for the machinima category.

    Ahab Wheathoof/Ezra Chatteron Make A Wish Foundation

    One of the saddest but coolest WoW stories ever is the tale of Erza Chatteron and Make-A-Wish. Ezra was a young boy who was dying of cancer. He told the Make-A-Wish Foundation that he wanted to visit the developers of his favorite video game before he died.

    Blizzard rolled out the red carpet for Ezra and let him be a developer for a day. Ezra was allowed to create his own unique quest, which was added to the game. Ezra's creation of "Ahab Wheathoof" remains in the game near Thunder Bluff today.

    Ezra was also given some of the best loot in the game, and was the first person in the world to obtain the Ashes of Al'ar, then the game's most coveted flying mount in The Burning Crusade. Ezra passed away in 2008, but his story touched millions of WoW gamers around the world. Blizzard has created numerous other tributes to real life people in Azeroth, including a tribute in the upcoming expansion to comedian Robin Williams.

    Achievements

    One of the biggest changes to the game with the pre-patch for the Wrath of the Lich King expansion was addition of achievements. Just like on Xbox Live, players were now able to earn vanity points for accomplishing certain tasks in game. For a while after release, many players became absolutely obsessed with earning points. You could earn points for things like completing a raid or dungeon, but there were also more fun goals to accomplish, like pulling off a Leeroy Jenkins impersonation in order to get a special title. Achievements have provided WoW gamers with additional dozens if not hundreds of hours of content to go after once they bore of traditional gameplay.

    Don't Push This Button (Heroic Modes In Raids)

    We've mentioned several times on this list about events that caused Blizzard to start leaning towards making its content more accessible for all players. Options for raid sizes moving from 40 down to 25 down to just 10 had a big impact on this, but with the release of Ulduar in Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard would stumble on a formula that is largely still intact today.

    Blizzard began designing not just multiple raid sizes but also multiple raid difficulties. This allowed the developer to provide a truly elite level experience for the best players in the world, while leaving the regular mode much more accessible to the average player. Ulduar's raid had special mechanics that had to be triggered in order to activate the hard mode. Blizzard would eventually move to a toggle system instead, but many long-time players look back at Mimiron's big red button (Do Not Push!) as the start of what the game has turned into today.

    Dungeon Finder

    For WoW's entire history up until late in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, players had to physically meet up at the entrance portal to the dungeon they were going to run. In the early days, it could take an hour or more just to find the right group of players for a particular dungeon and then get to where you needed to go.

    That all changed with the release of the Dungeon Finder in Lich King. With the click of a button, World of Warcraft now offered matchmaking for its most popular content. The game would grab one tank, one healer, and three damage dealers, none of whom likely knew each other, and throw them into a 5 man group. This was a tremendous quality of life improvement for the game, and it's probably the one feature many players would not be able to do without today. (Evidence: Any MMO that releases without dungeon matchmaking today has already shot itself in the foot. Like Star Wars: The Old Republic, at launch)

    The Cataclysm

    When Deathwing erupted back into Azeroth at the start of WoW's Cataclysm expansion, he reshaped the entire world. Blizzard used the Cata expansion as an excuse to make the biggest amount of overall changes to the game's world since vanilla. Deathwing "destroyed" many vanilla zones, allowing Blizzard developers to rewrite new quests using the technology and knowledge they had obtained since 2004.

    Some long-time players thought the changes were a little bittersweet, as many popular old quests simply no longer existed. But overall, the changes were seen as an improvement to the world at large.

    Introduction of Transmog

    And all of a sudden, everyone was playing dress-up. Blizzard had noticed a long time before the Cataclysm expansion that many players were holding on to their old pieces of gear that they most enjoyed wearing for roleplay purposes or simply just out of nostalgia. So they came up with a system where players could transmogrify their current raiding gear to look like their favorite gear of old.

    The new system provided a great excuse for players to run old raids, and plenty of legacy content started seeing considerable action again for the first time in ages. Transmog provided Blizzard with a great way to tap into Warcraft's old content and give players a reason to run it again, and again, and again.

    Looking For Raid

    Blizzard's Dungeon Finder tool was so popular that they then tried to do the same thing in the next expansion for raiding. It has had admittedly more mixed results. While helping you find 24 other people to go raiding with instantly is great in concept, it provides some unique challenges.

    Raids are typically the game's hardest content, and asking 25 people who don't know each other to work together at the drop of the hat was never really going to work. So the "Raid Finder" is intentionally tuned to be a cake walk. It allows players to make it through the entire raid in just a few hours, allowing just about everyone to see the game's content.

    The dynamics of throwing 25 random people together sometimes don't turn out that well. People intentionally troll each other and fight and argue simply because there are no real consequences. You don't know these 24 other people, and you'll likely never see most of them again.

    Blizzard seems to be trying to fix this by adding "flexible" raiding, and essentially a new difficulty level between LFR and harder raids, in Draenor where you can still progress through the content at a rapid clip but will need to invite people that you actually know.

    Introduction of Cross-Realm Servers

    Blizzard has been able to avoid many of the negative things that happen to other aging online games due to its continued popularity. But its Connected Realms feature shows that even the behemoth that is WoW can suffer from low server population.

    World of Warcraft once had more than 12 million players at its peak at the start of Cataclysm, and it had countless servers to handle all of those players. But as the player base has decreased in size, some of those servers have become ghost towns.

    The Connected Realms feature has served to rejuvenate some life back into previously dead servers. It's not quite the same as having players that you know personally on your own server, but it at least makes it feel a bit more like an MMO again for some.

    WoW does Pokemon (Battle Pets)

    World of Warcraft players have collected in-game pets for the entirety of the game's run. But with Mists of Pandaria's release, all of those pets suddenly could be put to use in an exciting new way. Blizzard came up with a fun battle system in which player's pets could do battle with each other. It has a very Pokemon feel to it, with players going out into the world to capture new pets and training them over time.

    Great. As if WoW and Pokemon aren't both addicting enough by themselves... Now we can Pokemon while we WoW, or is it WoW while we Pokemon? Either way, the addiction is never ending.

    The Level 90 Neutral Panda

    Just when you think you've seen everything, along comes a panda with a serious addiction to mining and herbing.

    For Mists of Pandaria, players could level a new race called the Pandaren in a starting zone called the Wandering Isle. At the conclusion of the opening quests, your Panda would have to pick whether he wanted to fight for the Horde or the Alliance.

    One player, however, decided that he didn't want to be forced into making that choice. By continuing to mine ore and pick up herbs on the Isle, he was able to level all the way to Mists level cap of 90 without ever picking a faction.

    He can't ever leave the Isle unless he makes a decision, of course, but that's not the point. It just goes to show you that 10 years after the release of World of Warcraft, players are still finding creative ways to entertain themselves in Azeroth that even Blizzard didn't see coming.

    What are your favorite World of Warcraft moments? Tell us in the comments!

    This article was originally published on November 6, 2014.


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    PS4's controversial cross-play policies may keep Bethesda from releasing Elder Scrolls Legends on the console.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 14, 2018

    Bethesda may be prepared to not release The Elder Scrolls Legends on PS4 unless Sony allows for cross-platform play. 

    "Fallout 76, sure: it would be nice if I could play on my Xbox and my kid is playing on his PC and we can play together, but if we can't, OK," says Bethesda vice president of marketing and communication, Pete Hines, in an interview with Eurogamer. "But for Legendsit's absolutely critical. Both cross-play, which is how Legends works right now on every device - you're playing against somebody who could be on any device - and, more importantly, cross-platform progression, which means no matter what you do on any platform, you load up the game and so long as you're logged in, here is all your progression, here is everything you had, everything you were doing.

    What Hines is saying makes quite a bit of sense from a business and design perspective. You may remember the controversy that arose when Fortnite fans found out that they couldn't use their PS4 Fortnite accounts on Nintendo Switch. Because the Switch is many people's second (or third) gaming console, that moment is when they realized how cumbersome cross-play blocking can be from a player perspective. 

    Bethesda is speaking of something similar. With a game like Legends that tries to offer mobile play options, it's hard to just tell players that they should avoid using their accounts on a particular console, even if it is the most popular video game console in the world. 

    How far is Bethesda willing to take this matter? Hines admits that the studio isn't sure. 

    "It remains to be seen," said Hines. "Whatever they say, we will continue to have a conversation with any platform directly. I don't want to play this out in the court of public opinion. We respect Sony, we respect Microsoft, we respect Nintendo. If I or my company has an issue, we will bring it up with them directly; we know who to call, we know who to email - we'll talk to them and see if we can figure it out."

    We may all soon find out whether or not Sony is willing to bend on their cross-platform policies as Bethesda plans on rebuilding Legends' code and expanding its reach in the near future. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    Patrick Söderlund, one of EA's driving creative forces, has left the studio under mysterious circumstances.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 14, 2018

    EA executive Patrick Söderlund has shockingly decided to leave the studio after many years of service. 

    "Today we are announcing that Patrick Söderlund has made the decision to move on from EA," reads a statement on the EA website. "After nearly two decades as a pioneer for our company and industry, he will begin a new chapter later this year."

    The statement goes on to describe Söderlund as a "trusted business partner" and "great friend" whose "inspiring leadership has had an outstanding impact on EA." He is credited for his role in the creation of the Frostbite engine, for "being a champion for Players First experiences," and for ensuring EA "put(s) creative at the center of everything we do."

    Prior to his recent departure, Söderlund held the title of Chief Design Officer of EA. Before that, he was probably best known as the CEO of DICE (now known as EA DICE). He was, by many accounts, a driving force behind EA's creative decisions and ventures. He is also a man who, according to information dug up by Kotaku, recently made $48.3 million. $20 million of that came from a bonus that EA says was issued in an attempt to "support the longer-term retention of Mr. Söderlund, given that his creative successes, executive experience and high profile in the industry make him a highly desirable candidate for executive positions at other companies."

    So did Söderlund really take the piles of money and run? While nobody except a few key people at EA, Söderlund obviously being one of them, probably know the full story of his decision to leave the company, an outsider would certainly be quick to conclude that he might have ultimately decided that working on other projects was more important than the money EA could give him. There's also some debate regarding how much of that money Söderlund gets to keep. 

    However, Söderlund's motivations will likely remain mysterious for the time being. It's also not clear what he intends to do next. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    The race to hit World of Warcraft: Battle For Azeroth's new level cap is over.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 14, 2018

    World of Warcraft's new level cap has been reached just four hours after the launch of the Battle for Azeroth expansion. 

    WoW player and Twitch streamer Gingi became the first person to hit WoW's new level cap (120). He managed to achieve that daunting new cap in just four hours and 17 minutes. In case you're wondering how that compares to how long it takes other players to reach the new cap, let's just say that Gingi's figure is in no way represents the average time it takes to hit that mark. While we won't know the average figure until more people have played the expansion, it's not unreasonable to suggest that "casual"WoW players could spend weeks chasing that goal. Even other level cap "speedrunners" took a couple more hours to reach 120. 

    So how did Gingi reach the new cap so quickly? Well, he had help from fellow Method guild members Meeres and Deepshades, but his achievement goes far beyond simply rolling with the gang. Reports indicate that Gingi used the Battle for Azeroth beta as an indication of what the most lucrative quests were and how quickly they could be completed. With that information in hand, they set out to complete those quests in record time. 

    For some additional perspective, the original level cap in WoW was set at 60. That means that a level 120 player has access to abilities and stats that vanilla WoW players could only dream of. 

    So far, it seems that Battle For Azerothis fairing fairly well among the game's rabid fanbase. Initial reports indicate that the expansion offers quite a bit of compelling content and seems to do a mostly admirable job of reviving the Horde vs. Alliance conflict. Of course, some players do still have concerns regarding how those sides are presented in the new expansion. 

    We got to spend a little time with Battle for Azeroth earlier this year and found it to be an exciting look into how Blizzard can expand the game's appeal some 14 years after its release. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    Luigi may not have died in vain. His death may actually point to a single-player Spirits mode in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!

    NewsJohn Saavedra
    Aug 14, 2018

    Last week, Luigi was murdered by the Grim Reaper, a shocking moment in the latest Super Smash Bros. Ultimate trailer that sent the internet spiraling into chaos. Some fans were shocked, others angry at Nintendo, and a few annoyed this was even a thing since Luigi doesn't actually exist. But most of us mourned Mario's brave, ghost hunting brother, cut down in his prime by one of Castlevania's most vicious villains. 

    Nintendo has since confirmed that Luigi is "okay" but that's not kept fans from speculating what's behind the surprise death and inevitable resurrection of the little plumber. Some eagle-eyed fans are even theorizing that Luigi's death -- and the clip of the character's ectoplasmic spirit floating over his petrified corpse -- was actually a stealth tease of a new single-player mode for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

    Eurogamer has pieced together a few different threads where Redditors and fans on Twitter have put their best theories forward, including visual evidence from last week's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate-centric Nintendo Direct. The thorough detective work leads to the game's menu, which was revealed by Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai during the Direct, except for one blurred-out mode to be announced at a later date. 

    Redditor Nintendrew has gone through and pieces together the blurred image by playing around with the pixels to reveal a mode called Spirits, the rumored single-player mode. Here's a mockup of what the mode's logo might look like:

    There's speculation that Spirits mode could refer to both Luigi's death and the fate that might have befallen Mario and Mega Man when they confronted Ridley in the E3 2018 trailer. As pointed out by Eurogamer, these "deaths" could tease a Spirits mode in which players have to recover characters' spirits and reunite them with their bodies.

    None of this is confirmed, of course, so take it all with a grain of salt, but it's not the first time a Super Smash Bros. game has featured a single-player story mode. (Who's still shook about Subspace Emissary?) Spirits mode may be a new, spookier incarnation of this mode for a new generation of Super Smash Bros. 

    All we know for sure is that we'll find out more about this mystery mode before the game arrives on Dec. 7 exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine here!


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    With the sequel fast approaching, one writer returns to Red Dead Redemption with some unfinished business…

    FeatureChris Allcock
    Aug 15, 2018

    By any measure, Red Dead Redemption can be considered a sun-bleached classic. Released in 2010 to critical acclaim and promptly topping the charts, Rockstar Games’ wild west tale of bloodshed and betrayal delighted players around the world with its sprawling landscape, epic scope, and sheer ambition. Mostly.

    Me? I couldn’t get into it.

    I was never quite sure why the game and I failed to connect when those around me were clearly enjoying themselves. I found myself drumming my fingers during its dialogue, staring mystified at the bewildering array of dots littering my map and wondering which of them might lead me to the fun everyone else was having. Eventually, I gave up and put the disc back in its case for eight long years.

    I never quite left New Austin behind, though. Red Dead Redemption was always there, lurking in my sizeable Pile o’ Shame, and every so often I’d spot it on the shelf and feel bad. When the sequel was announced and the internet came down with what sociologists would technically term “a case of the screaming habdabs,” I became convinced I needed to give the original a second chance. Finally, in the midst of a suitably sweltering heatwave, I decided the time had come to re-tread the desert sands and work out, once and for all, what all the fuss was about.

    I also decided I was going to write it all down. Sorry, I probably should have mentioned that first.

    Hour One

    Right from the outset, this is a beautiful game, and the art directors’ credits are rightfully first to fade up as John Marston, the stoic mystery man whose boots I’ll be filling, makes his way to the train station. The scene of him and his strangely-dressed companions hasn’t held up quite as well, and there’s an awkward moment where they turn and gaze straight through one another while parting ways, but that’s last-gen gaming for you.

    Marston feels like a deliberate anachronism, a doodled cowboy come to life with a holster at his side and a broad-brimmed hat atop his grizzled face. Flanked as he is by a couple of bank managers and with an ominous music sting accompanying his reveal, at first glimpse, you’re hard-pushed to know whether you’re looking at the hero or the villain of the piece.

    Luckily, John chooses to board a train that turns out to be hauling pure exposition. From the prim and gossiping women over his shoulder, we get a crash course in the prevailing racism of the time. Via young Jenny, we learn that we can expect to see motor cars puttering about. The local governor gets name-dropped, too, so I’m sure we’ll be meeting him in person at some point. I bet he’s lovely.

    My first horse ride is a smoother experience than I remember, and at first I assume that taming a decade of video game stallions must have acclimatized me - then I realize that most of those games were probably taking their cues from Red Dead. Will I feel so kindly disposed to my mount’s quirks during a high-speed chase, though? We’ll see.

    It’s interesting that Marston claims to be married moments after we’re introduced to the Ladies of Negotiable Affection that populate the town. Michael in Grand Theft Auto V was married, notionally, but this is the only Rockstar protagonist I can think of who seems like he might be serious about fidelity. If so, it may add an interesting moral compass to my decisions - unless he’s lying and his wife’s secretly died of consumption or something.

    When I arrive at Fort Mercer to challenge Bill Williamson, his cohorts pop-up over the parapets like so many rifle range targets and I straighten up in my chair, ready for what is obviously going to be a gun combat tutorial. I know how this sort of thing plays out - I can already imagine their noisy, ineffective gunfire, designed to miss me while I drag my crosshair back and forth to get a feel for the controls. I expect button prompts, but I don’t get so much as a tooltip before Marston is dropped like a sack of potatoes. It’s a really effective moment, and I’m amazed I don’t remember it.

    The ranch I wake up at is more familiar to my time-worn brain, at least, though when a farm-hand rounds the corner I instinctively try to talk with her as if we’re in an RPG. I’ve forgotten that non-player characters here are effectively mobile scenery to be shunted and shoved, although that soon becomes self-evident when I go jogging after my savior, Bonnie, only to accidentally knock her flying by mistake. Not a great start to the job.

    The story seems content to unfurl itself with a languid ease, and as I go trotting around the countryside on coyote patrol it’s easy to forget that I’m not really exploring what I’d think of as “the Old West.” It’s 1911, after all, a mere three years until mankind will embroil itself in the Great War and allegedly invent loot boxes. I suspect I’m being deliberately charmed by the olde-worlde sincerity of the ranch and its owners so I’ll understand what’s at stake down the line, and the second time around I find it easier to settle into the gentle rhythm of the game’s early missions.

    If there are rough edges to be found this early on, they’re mostly to do with gameplay. I find my “dead-eye” ability just fine - bronco bullet time, effectively - but can I recharge it? How do I know when it’s about to run out? And could someone not have warned me about over-spurring my horse during a race before I wound up snacking on the gravel pathways of Cholla Springs? I’m left to discover many of the basics for myself.

    I normally like to stick with one quest-giver until they’ve nothing more for me to do, but when Bonnie dumps me in the town of Armadillo, I decide to stop by and see the local sheriff. Along the way, I’m taunted by properties I can’t buy and poker games for which I lack the ante. As I skulk through the streets, jobless and penniless, I’m forced to wonder: will I ever learn what Bonnie was doing out by Fort Mercer in the first place?

    Hour Three

    I’m in the company of the town marshal. We’ve just been discussing the duty of a sheriff to his town’s safety when weighed against the greater cause of justice, and now we’re chasing a man dressed like Papa Lazarou. I’m finding him quite hard to take seriously.

    Learning to take cover in the ensuing firefight is something I’m expecting - a similar system debuted in Grand Theft Auto IV. Picking the pockets of the dead, though, that’s new to me. Niko Bellic’s enemies sprinkle brightly-colored money and loot around the landscape as they die, but John Marston’s fallen foes must be located, approached, and - if necessary - put out of their misery. Slower, more considered, more deliberate - the difference between the two protagonists.

    Having dealt with the troublemakers, I’m only half-aware that I’m being told how to teleport back to town. I elect not to, retrieving my horse and taking a thoughtful canter down the dusty desert roads. Barely have I made it to the outskirts of Armadillo when a firefight breaks out around me, but by the time I’ve parked my horse, it’s over. Just another day in the west.

    Woefully short on funds, I resolve to try my luck at the poker table - it’ll be Texas hold ’em because it’s always Texas hold ’em. (Just once I’d like to sit in a disreputable back room filled with surly strangers and play a rousing game of Top Trumps.) I’m caught short yet again, though. There’s no one present at the table, and when I swagger up and try to interact with it, half-a-dozen stony faces spectacularly fail to materialize. Red Dead is not about to play fast and loose with the rules of its world just because I expect immediate mini-game gratification. If I want to gamble, I can either sleep - not that I can afford to rent a room - or make my own amusement until the sun sets. I’m an inhabitant of this world, and not its reason for existing.

    I decide to see what else Armadillo has to offer. Almost at once I’m called upon to save a harassed harlot from some ne’er-do-well, and before long I’ve played The Knife Game from Aliens, picked some flowers, taken a bounty, met a dowser, skinned a horse, received a treasure map and been shot stone dead by an ambush disguised as a damsel in distress.

    I’m impressed by how many encounters seem to happen spontaneously in the world, rather than being dots on a map. I’m also struck by many of the mechanics I wasn’t expecting to find, like looting corpses and skinning animals, that are still so central to many of the games we’re playing today. While I suspect I’d struggle to return to GTA IV in a world where GTA Vexists, Red Dead barely feels like it’s aged, and it’s remarkable how many of its choices (like horse auto-pilot and the percussive snatches of music) are just now showing up in other flagship titles like Breath of the Wild.   

    Tracking down my bounty out by a river seems to unleash wave after wave of aggressors, and when I finally stagger back to MacFarlane Ranch, I decide it’s high time to carry on with the main plot via Bonnie’s latest mission. Out of nowhere, the previously taciturn John unloads his backstory onto the skeptical rancher, spilling the beans on his wife, child and his on-again/off-again relationship with the bandit he’s come to kill. It’s a tale he’ll repeat time and time again, and I still don’t know if it’s true. I don’t completely trust John Marston not to be a liar, even if he’s mostly lying to himself.

    Taking a breather from cattle-herding and breaking in horses, I find myself confronting a grizzled old prospector whose hovel my dowsing co-conspirator has taken a fancy to. I’m offered a choice - I can either take the property by force, or I can tuck my tail between my legs and come back when I’ve got the $200 he’s demanding. When I consider John’s personality and the honor my good deeds have accrued so far, I realize just how much I’m enjoying being able to choose to be a nice guy in a Rockstar game for once. Marston’s a killer, but he’s not a criminal - not if I don’t want him to be.

    At this point, I take stock of everything I’ve accomplished so far, and it feels as though I’ve barely scratched the surface - like there’s a long way to go before the training wheels come off. While I’m hardly genre-savvy when it comes to Westerns, I have to believe there’s a steam train robbery and a bank heist waiting for me somewhere down the line - but I potter about the desert, a law-abiding family man and jobbing ranch-hand, and I can’t for the life of me imagine how the story’s going to carry me there.

    I think I want to find out, though.

    Hour Five

    I remembered hating Nigel West Dickens. I remembered hating his prattling dialogue the tenth time I heard it, hating his wheedling Winnie-the-Pooh voice, and most of all I remember hating his gaudily-painted wagon. Steering it felt like trying to shepherd a recalcitrant supermarket cart across the American frontier after too many glasses of pinot, and when I repeatedly got snagged on cacti and rocks only to be swarmed by the bandits who were chasing us back to town, it was here that the game and I parted back in 2010.

    This time around, my first attempt also ends in dismal failure as I struggle to deal with the terrain, the bandits and the time limit of my charge’s declining health. Upon discovering that my dead-eye meter hasn’t refilled ready for a second attempt, I pause and take a moment to ponder the universe, the nature of mortality, and how easily the neighbors will be able to hear me swearing at a fictional cowboy.

    Instead, I decide to run away. Whipping the horses into a frenzy and ignoring West Dickens’ protestations, I hammer the A button and fly back to Armadillo as fast as my fingers will carry me, never once returning fire. Brilliantly, my newfound cowardice works. I’m over my stumbling block, and I find myself with all-new adventures before me. My own personal "Red Dead redemption" just took place.

    Hour Eight

    I’m still being surprised. My latest steed and I are trekking off the beaten path when a large, black shape cuts across its flank. A bear? I whip out my carbine, launch into dead-eye mode, and swing the camera around to see I’ve had a close shave with a wild boar. It seems content to thunder past without a fight, and I relax, but only slightly. Now I’m wondering if there will be bears.

    It’s the unpredictability that’s attractive. The GTA series mimics cities, and I know what to expect from those - I don’t need to start a fire to infer the existence of fire engines, for example, because it wouldn’t feel like a city without them. Here, Rockstar has an entire continent and a great swathe of history from which it can cherry-pick my next chance encounter. There might be bears. For all I know, there might be Sasquatch.

    Equally unpredictable are the strangers I’m encountering out in the wild. Only one has provided me with the expected cash reward for being a Good Samaritan. Others have resulted in only melancholy vignettes - a forgotten grave, a smear of blood, a young woman left to die beneath the stars. Many are strange, but most feel fundamentally more decent than their Liberty City counterparts. Survival, not success, is the most many of them can hope for out here.

    Elsewhere, the narrative has accelerated from a trot to a canter. Through a handful of quirky new allies, Marston is finally making tangible progress towards Fort Mercer and his quarry. I harbor no illusions that I’m anywhere near the final showdown - not with so much map left unexplored - but I’m impressed at how deftly the conflict has escalated mission-by-mission.

    Sunday is over, so it’s a confrontation that will have to wait for another day - but there will be another day. Whatever part of Red Dead Redemption’s appeal I missed the first time around seems to have fallen into place after an eight-year cooldown. I like this game. There are times when I like it a lot, plenty of occasions when it’s still able to impress despite its advancing years, and I’m glad to have given it a second chance.

    I do still have one lingering doubt, though: now that I’m hooked, will I be able to bring John Marston’s journey to an end before Red Dead Redemption 2 moseys on into town? Suddenly, October 26 really doesn’t seem that far away...

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