It’s been another year of gaming, and as we look back on some of our favorite moments, experiences, and games of the year, we also want to celebrate what an incredible year it was for impactful boss fights. Training and grinding to take on some of the most formidable enemies in a game is a reward in its own right. The fights on this list are unranked because it’s hard to pit incredible moments against each other, and each boss on this list brings something unique to the table. So here are Prima’s best boss fights of the year 2022.
This article will contain spoilers for a variety of games, including Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, Elden Ring, and more. Read at your own risk.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus is an entirely new take on the franchise. With unique catching and battling mechanics, it was a breath of fresh air the franchise desperately needed. The fight against Volo at the top of the Spear Pillar is the culmination of everything that came before it. One of the most challenging fights in the history of Pokemon and arguably more impactful than the Red fight at the end of Gold and Silver. Volo is the fight we have been looking for in a Pokemon game for over a decade. Not only do you fight against the same team as Cynthia from Diamond and Pearl, but you also have to fight Giratina twice immediately after, without breaks. It requires skill, forethought, and sheer force of will.
Malenia Blade of Miquella
Few boss fights this year took the world by storm like Malenia. It spawned the legendary “Let me Solo Her” hero, plenty of internet memes and jokes, and one of the most brutal boss fights FromSoftware has ever designed. I’ve never “noped” out of a boss fight quicker than stumbling into Malenia during the review period for Elden Ring. She’s fast, regains health on hit, and has a fierce second phase. Even with a high-level character and the Mimic Tear Spirit Ash, Malenia will kill you repeatedly. Her intricate design and the way your dance in a flurry of blade clashes make it one of the best boss fights of 2022.
Neon Green is the main antagonist of Neon White which was released back in June. While you fight Neon Green multiple times throughout the campaign of Neon White, the first fight with Green is one of the most compact and fluid boss fights of the year. It combines speed, efficiency, and top-tier movement skills as you climb the clock tower. The first fight is the most condensed and offers plenty of improvisation tactics as you master the movement. What starts as a fight that takes a few minutes can swiftly become less than a minute if you play your cards right.
Sifu has a lot of excellent boss fights, but Kuroki The Artist encompasses everything a boss fight should. Walking into the fight is a set-piece moment with the snow falling and the impending doom of Kuroki waiting for you. As you battle it out in the snow-filled field, you’ll need to block low, parry, and use every tool in your arsenal to make it out alive. After surviving phase one, the battlefield swells, and phase two beings. Now, in an entirely new area, the juxtaposition of this fierce combatant against the calm waves makes for something truly artistic. Dashing and trading blows as the water splashes up makes it feel like a proper one-on-one brawl out of a film.
Paradise Protection Protocol
It’s wild that Pokemon had a fight as excellent as Volo, but it’s even wilder that it pulled a similar boss fight in Scarlet and Violet. The Paradise Protection Protocol is the very last fight of Scarlet and Violet. It will tug on the heartstrings as you watch the AI professor rise up one more time to battle you. Deep in the basement of the Area Zero lab, you learn revelations about the fate of the professor, the Paradox Pokemon, and what has been going on here. While the fight is just an average Pokemon battle, it’s the presentation of it all. The changing of the text on the screen, the giant pillars rising to the sky, and the crystallized robot professor. All of this culminates into one of the strangest sequences to ever grace a Pokemon game.
The Warrior of Light
Stranger of Paradise is an over-the-top retelling of the original Final Fantasy. While the road to get there is beyond wild, ultimately, Jack Garland becomes the Big Bad and creates a time loop to destroy the world over and over until someone finally rises up and defeats him to close the loop. It sounds evil on paper, but it’s good, actually. The Trials of the Dragon DLC takes another piece of the original story, when the Warriors of Light receive special training from Bahamut and weirds it up just as much. When the DLC starts, Jack faces off against a Warrior of Light wearing the classic, horned Amano armor from the Famicom box. As post-game content for a Soulslike you think you’re in for a slobberknocker, but Bahamut hasn’t trained this dude yet. So Jack just murks him in seconds. It rules.
Those are the best boss fights of 2022. We here at Prima have taste, and we know our readers do too. Which means there won’t be any arguments or disagreements with this list.