10 Best Video Game Final Bosses Of All Time

The boss fights that marked the grandest finales.

ODIN God of War Ragnarok
Sony Interactive Entertainment

The final boss is one of the great arts of video games. Through it, video games as a medium offer the chance at a climax more powerful and hard-hitting than any book, film, or TV show - simply by using its very nature as a game to directly involve the player in events. Seeing Carol Danvers no-sell a headbutt from Thanos is raw as hell, don't get it twisted, but God of War 3 lets you beat Zeus' face in until you decide enough is enough. That is a kind of power that other mediums simply cannot provide.

The Final Boss is also the final test of the player, a sort of ultimate exam on what they've learned from the game's mechanics. Stronger, less forgiving of mistakes, and more stressful than the bosses beforehand. A good Final Boss asks everything of the players if they want to see the end of the game. But this isn't about the merely good Final Bosses, this is about the ten best.

What constitutes a truly great Final Boss is about as subjective an opinion as that of the quality of the games surrounding them. But pound for pound, and blow for blow, these ten rise above the rest to set the gold standard.

 Warning: spoilers follow.

10. Senator Armstrong - Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

ODIN God of War Ragnarok

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is the distillation of Hideo Kojima's more out-there ideas that the stealth-focused main Metal Gear series always kept in check, and it is absolutely bloody glorious.

Such an adrenaline shot to the arm of a game can only end on the most bug-nuts note imaginable, so naturally MGR goes out on "Now murder this American senator! C'mon, you know you want to!"

Senator Armstrong is a nanomachine-fueled walking meme factory of a man who can easily barrel through you if you aren't careful. The mechanic most tested by this fight is blade mode, as you have to get behind him and use blade mode to strike at a glowing part of his body to stop him from getting back all the health you've whittled down. Your reflexes and speed are tested in between those points, as getting hit by Armstrong in any capacity is... not advised.

It's easily the hardest fight in the game, but it feels oh-so satisfying to finally reach into the dude's chest and rip out his goddamn heart. For totally not topical real-world reasons, I swear.

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John Tibbetts is a novelist in theory, a Whatculture contributor in practice, and a nerd all around who loves talking about movies, TV, anime, and video games more than he loves breathing. Which might be a problem in the long term, but eh, who can think that far ahead?