10 Bosses That Stopped Games Being 5 Stars

So formidable they got in the way of perfection.

Uncharted Lazarevic
Naughty Dog

There are a lot of things that go into making a video game as immaculate and memorable as possible, not the least of which are top-tier boss fights.

From the cinematic presentation of God of War 3’s encounter with Poseidon and the fun beatdown of Kaptain K. Rool in Donkey Kong Country 2, to the gorgeously emotional battle with Lord Shimura in Ghost of Tsushima, many of the best entries in the medium soar thanks in part to their satisfying skirmishes.

Just as often, however, an otherwise exceptional title is tragically brought down a peg or two because of at least one lackluster faceoff with a major foe.

Perhaps the gameplay mechanics are too frustrating and/or bland? Maybe the setting is uninspired (if not downright lame)? Or, it could just be that the ways in which the villain looks and acts are strikingly odd given who they were up to that point?

Whatever the case may be – and as the 10 video games on this list prove – a bad boss fight could mean the difference between a consistent 5-star experience and a remarkable journey that almost achieved perfection.

10. Colonel Autumn - Fallout 3

Uncharted Lazarevic

Okay, so 2008’s Fallout 3 is far from flawless, as it suffers from the same kinds of amusing but increasingly unforgiveable “jank” as every other modern Bethesda release.

That said, it’s often ranked as the best or second-best Fallout title (behind its 2010 spin-off, Fallout: New Vegas); thus, it completely nails what the series strives for and continues to be celebrated by new and older gamers alike.

One of its strongest features is its thrilling combat, and for the most part, facing off against the biggest and baddest foes in the Capital Wasteland is quite entertaining. That is, except for lead antagonist (and head of the Enclave), Colonel Augustus Autumn.

Confronted at Project Purity, Autumn is about as easily bested as final bosses can be due to a lack of armor and the fact that the Lone Wanderer’s stats and weapons are so powerful by this point. Honestly, Captain Autumn can be taken down with just one carefully aimed headshot from a variety of guns. Even worse if you were looking forward to a showdown, he can be persuaded to surrender if the Lone Wanderer’s intelligence is high enough.

Neither outcome is rewarding or epic enough for such a despisable person, and Fallout 3 can't help but suffer as a consequence.

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Hey there! Outside of WhatCulture, I'm a former editor at PopMatters and a contributor to Kerrang!, Consequence, PROG, Metal Injection, Loudwire, and more. I've written books about Jethro Tull, Opeth, and Dream Theater and I run a creative arts journal called The Bookends Review. Oh, and I live in Philadelphia and teach academic/creative writing courses at a few colleges/universities.