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Bloodborne Walkthrough: Boss Strategies and Tips

Our guide to help you survive every boss encounter in Bloodborne from the Cleric Beast to the Witch of Hemwick


Developed by From Software and Japan Studio, and published by Sony exclusively on the PlayStation 4, Bloodborne is the newest rendition of Dark Souls to hit the market. Boasting a new combat system, as well the return of several Dark Souls-like UI, and controls, Bloodborne is basically Dark Souls reborn. Don’t let that fool you though, the game still has plenty to offer in terms of challenge and frustration to Dark Souls fans everywhere. We won’t bore you with the details, after all, you’re here for a reason. So let’s get down to business.

Bloodborne, like any good challenging and unforgiving game, features quite a few boss fights, but don’t worry, we’re going to make sure you’re well prepared before stepping into the arena.

The Cleric Beast

The first boss of the game is the Cleric Beast, and it’s an ugly one. Don’t worry though, at the start of this boss fight you’ll want to move in and stand close to it until it pulls an arm back to attack. Once you see this quickly dodge behind it and starting slamming your weapon into its back. You’ll want to stay behind this boss as much as possible, otherwise you’ll end up taking damage from its bigger and more powerful attacks. Once the beast turns to look at you, repeat the process above, and then go to town with your weapon of choice.

Be careful if you somehow find yourself a good distance from the Cleric Beast as it has a very powerful jumping attack which allows it to jump into the air and land on your current position. If you see it jump, wait a moment, and then dodge continually until it lands. It’s important to wait that extra moment before dodging, otherwise, the beast will land on top of you and damage you still.

After you’ve worn the Cleric Beast down to a certain point it will begin to rage. Now you should move away, steering clear of the creature while it thrashes. The beast favors long-distance swipe attacks during this phase, so be ready to dodge and keep away from the attacks. Also watch out for the ground slams that the Cleric Beast uses at this point in the battle, as being too close to them will damage you.

Once the rage subsides you’ll need to head back to your previous position, wait until the creature swings back, and then dodge behind it and once more work on putting your weapon continually into its back. Be careful, however, as now the Cleric Beast will make use of a new attack where it picks you up with one hand and deals massive damage to your character. Continue your attacks until the beast perishes, or another rage ensues.

Boss Fight Reward: Sword Hunter Badge

Check out our video walkthrough for the Cleric Beast below.

Father Gascoigne

The second boss of Bloodborne is a bit tougher. He’s a Hunter, like your character, so you’re going to be dealing with many attacks which are similar to your own. We highly suggest picking up the Tiny Music Box item before you head into this fight, as it will help greatly, however it is not a requirement to beating this boss.

The first thing to keep in mind when fighting Father Gascoigne is that he is a hunter, and like you he has access to a pistol which is will try to use to interrupt your combos. To avoid taking damage and being stunned you should hit him with two normal quick attacks and then dodge away from him before he can shoot you.

As we mentioned earlier, this boss battle becomes significantly easier if you manage to pick up the Tiny Music Box on the way. With it you can stun Father Gascoigne, causing him to writhe in pain, which will give you time to move behind him and execute a powerful Charge Attack into his back. You can use the box about three times before Father Gascoigne transforms into his secondary form. He’ll transform no matter what happens after he reaches fifty percent of his health. Once he transforms you can only use the Tiny Music Box one time before he becomes ineffective, so make each time count, and get in as much damage as possible while he is stunned.

No matter how you fight this battle, keep dodging, attacking quickly, and hitting Father Gascoigne with your pistol shots as they will temporarily stun him in either of his forms. Once he transforms, however, you’ll want to stick close to him and wait until he starts to attack with a succession of claw strikes. When you see him winding up, either, hit him with your pistol to stun him, or back away and let him strike empty air. His attacks inflict massive amounts of damage, so be careful if you get hit by any of his combinations.

If you’re too far away from him, Father Gascoigne will use a jumping attack similar to the Cleric Beast. He will jump into the air, however, he won’t pause for a moment like the previous boss, and instead he’ll simply drop down on top of you. If you see him make a leap, begin to dodge and continue to dodge until he lands again somewhere behind you. Stay behind him when he’s in beast mode and you shouldn’t have much to worry about. Remember that range is one of his specialties in his final form, so you’ll want to avoid any kind of movement barriers, like the tombstones around the arena, and instead steer for open areas where you can dodge behind and attack him. Continue to dodge, attack, and stun him with your pistol until he falls.

Boss Fight Reward: Oedon Tomb Key

Blood-starved Beast

Before heading into your third boss battle you’ll want to make sure you’re fully stocked up on Antidotes as well as Blood Vials. This may seem like a simple fight, however, it’s going to be the toughest fight you’ve faced so far in Bloodborne. We also suggest switching your weapon to the long-form as this boss is very quick, agile, and leaps around quite a lot. Having your weapon in long-form will make it easier to hit.

When you first enter the battle move forward to the beast and wait for it to attack first. As soon as its arms move, get ready to dodge behind it or off to the side. In many cases you’ll only need to dodge once, but you’ll want to try to get behind it more often than not.

This boss features a few different attack patterns. Standing in front of it will lead to it grabbing you and biting your character, which will poison you and inflict a considerable amount of damage over time. Avoid this attack as much as you can. From a medium range the Blood-starved Beast will leap towards you with a barrage of rapid slashing moves. You’ll want to dodge a couple of times to the side of avoid these attacks. It also uses a swiping attack which is fairly easy to avoid, and will leave you just close enough to pull off a couple of hits with your weapon.

If you’re fast enough you can dodge the incoming leap attacks and still manage to hit the beast with a Charged Attack, which you can then quickly follow up with a critical strike. The timing isn’t really the hard part, as that actually comes in trying to line up your dodge perfectly so that you end up behind the beast and not off to the side.

Truthfully we suggest ignoring the critical strikes, as landing three normal strikes inflict just as much damage and is far easier to pull off. In summary, you’ll want to stick close to the beast and hit it with a couple of long-form attacks after you’ve dodge its incoming strikes.

Once the Blood-starved Beast reaches fifty percent health, however, its attack style changes up and it enters into Phase Two of the battle. At this point the creature will stop for a moment and lift up on two legs. When you see this, move away quickly as it will follow your movement and try to hit you with a glob of poison. Dodge this as best you can, as getting hit by it will knock you back and possibly poison you.

This is where the fight becomes more complex, as now the beast is leaking poison from its body. Anytime you get close to it your character will slowly be poisoned and lose health, so you’re going to need to pay careful attention to your health bars throughout the remained of this fight. You may also notice a new bar above your health bar whenever you get close to the boss. This bar dictates your poison levels, and as it rises your character will lose health more rapidly. Do not use an antidote unless your health is low. They are limited items, and you only have 10, so make every single one of them count. If for some reason you do use all of your Antidotes, there are three hidden behind the statue on the far side of the room. Only use these as a last resort.

Anytime the poison bar shows up, it’s a good idea to back down and step back from the boss. If your health is low, pop a Blood Vial, or use an antidote to get the bar to vanish. Also make sure to always keep your character locked onto the Blood-starved Beast as you’ll always want to be aware of its position since it is always moving. At this point you’ll just want to continue avoiding the boss’s attacks and hit him with your long-form weapon when you can. We understand you’re probably ready to get this fight out of the way, but be patient and continue to take your time depleting the beast’s health as you go. This will ensure you’re still standing when it falls.

Boss Fight Reward: Pthumeru Chalice

Vicar Amelia

The next boss that players should encounter has a wide variety of attacks and can be devastating if she manages to get hits off on you. Fortunately, all the attacks are frontal based, so sticking close to her and dodging behind her as much as possible should remove most of the threat she has. This makes it extremely important to steer clear of Vicar’s frontal area, as any movement into this region can result in serious damage or death. During the first phase of battle she’ll use wide sweeping attacks which cover a large area in front of her, and can even hit you if you’re standing too far forward. She’ll also attempt to grab you, and since this attack deals massive amounts of damage over a short period you’ll want to avoid it at all costs.

Keeping your distance may seem like a good idea, however, doing so will result in Vicar Amelia using a long-range attack which involves slamming her fists into the ground and creating a shockwave along the floor. She might also simply jump towards you to attack. That makes staying close to her an important tactic when dealing with this boss, as you won’t have to worry about any of these harder to dodge attacks.

As the battle progresses she will pause momentarily sometimes to grab the talisman in her hand. When this happens you’ll want to turn and hit her with everything you can while she’s just standing there. She’ll also glow as this point, so just stick to her backside to avoid the coming AOE attack.

As long as you stick to the area behind her you won’t have to worry about much unless she turns around. If you’re paying attention you can easily dodge to the side and then head back around behind her to continue your attacks. Keep continuing this tactic until she falls.

Boss Fight Reward: Gold Pendant

The Witch of Hemwick

This battle is trickier than the rest, and depending on how good you are at moving around quickly you’ll either face the hardest or the easiest boss of the game so far.

When this battle first begins you’ll be faced down by a Soot Monster which spawns in the middle of the room. This isn’t the boss, however, so don’t get your hopes up just yet. Ignore the Soot Monster and instead focus on the frail looking creature to your left. Immediately move to it and begin attacking it. This is the Witch of Hemwick, and you’ll want to hit her with all of your attacks until she vanishes.

The most important thing to keep in mind during this battle is finding the witch. Each time she vanishes she will reappear somewhere else in the room, and you’ll need to spot her and move over to her as fast as possible to lay down more damage. If you notice a glowing under her, move away, as she is preparing a circular attack which will inflict a significant amount of damage.

Once you have knocked the witch down to fifty percent of her health another witch will appear with a full health bar. This time, however, the new witch will begin to shoot projectiles at you. Dodge them as they come, and take the witch out. If you take too long a third witch will appear, and if you do not kill all three witches within one minute of killing the first they will respawn with less health.

On top of the respawning witch problem there is also the problem of the annoying Soot Monster which is busy patrolling the room. Sure, you can kill him if you need to, however, if you’re quick enough to find the witches and take them out simply ignore him and do that. Again, if you take too long more Soot Monsters will spawn making this battle even harder than it has to be. Move as fast as possible to take down the Witch of Hemwick and once she falls you’re good to go.

Boss Fight Reward: Four Bloodshot Eyeballs

Shadow of Yharnam

This battle you’ll actually be taking on three dark clerics. One of these clerics will continuously shoot fireballs at your throughout the fight, ranging from three projectiles aligned in a cone figure outwards from the boss, or just sometimes on occasion there will be only one fireball shot straight outward. The second cleric has a sword and uses basic melee attacks, while the third carries a sword and a candle, which allows him to fight with both melee and fire-based attacks.

So long as you’re moving you should be fine. A big part of this boss battle is dodging your enemies’ strikes, so you’ll want to keep an eye on them at all times, especially the cleric who uses projectiles. We highly recommend locking onto this single boss that way you can see the fireballs whenever they’re headed your way.

The biggest trick to this boss fight is taking all three clerics down without allowing them to powerup. As it stands now, whenever you defeat one of the clerics, the other two grow more powerful, and once you’ve whittled it down to just one cleric, it grows immensely more powerful than before. That is why we suggest taking turns attacking each cleric. This will ensure that you can bring them all down to almost nothing health-wise, and then finish all three off in quick succession.

If for some reason you’re having issues keeping all three alive, we suggest taking out the magic user first, then the cleric wielding the sword and candle, and finally the sword-wielding cleric. This will ensure you’re still able to dodge the enemy attacks, since the sword-wielder is the weaker of the three when full powered up.

No matter how you decide to play this boss fight out, the key is to remain moving and never allow them to get too close. Keep an eye out for the magic projectiles of the first cleric, and dodge out of their way when they come towards you. Use quick movements, and quick attacks to whittle down the health of the three clerics and finish off the fight.

Boss Fight Reward: Blood Rapture

Rom, the Vacuous Spider

If you try to make this boss fight as complex as you’d assume it is… well you’re going to end up making it much harder on yourself than it has to be. With that in mind let’s dive right into this pit of spiders.

Rom sits just ahead of you in a stable, dormant position, however, any attacks against him will spawn a large group of extremely difficult to kill spiders. This is where the complexity comes in. Your first idea may be to fight each of these spiders, however, that’s not going to get you through this fight as easily as simply ignoring them and only going straight for Rom.

You will need to be careful of the spiders of course, as they do have close-range multi-hit attack with their front legs, a basic jumping attack, projectiles of spit, and even a dive bomb which will deal massive amounts of damage.

Your best strategy is to race past the spiders and attack Rom. Once you close enough, don’t lock-on to Rom. Instead simply move around to its side and attack it where the armor isn’t protecting it. You’ll want to focus any of your attacks against it along the side and back to inflict greater damage.

The basic idea here is to run through all of the spiders and straight to Rom’s side, then attack as much as you can before the spiders turn on you. Sometimes you’ll only get in a few swings, other times you’ll manage more. When the spiders converge on you simply dodge repeatedly until you’ve reached a safe distance.

After you’ve inflicted a good amount of damage, bright white light will engulf Rom and it will disappear. You’ll want to try to stay close to Rom when this happens, as attacking it during this period will inflict massive amounts of damage. Once Rom has vanished completely, dodge clear of the spiders, and then locate Rom.

Each time that he vanishes, new spiders will form around Rom. Additionally, Rom will begin to attack you after the first vanishing act. If you see it turn over on its back, dodge away as rocks are about to spout from the ground. If you see it look up into the sky after the ground attack, dodge away as those rocks are about to come crashing down. Rom will also become engulfed in blue light, when you see this you should back away quickly.

After the first vanishing, dealing with Rom continues to get trickier. Now whenever you get close to it, Rom will send its body swinging like a madman. Back away whenever this happens, but don’t go too far, as it is vulnerable for a moment after it finishes swinging. When the madman phase is over, simply jump in, attack Rom quickly, and then back away again.

This battle is more about patience than any other battle you’ve faced yet. Remember that this isn’t a competition, and you aren’t reaching for a gold medal for timing. Be patient, inflict damage where you can, but most importantly stay alive. Rom doesn’t regen health, so any damage dealt to it is good. Once it goes down, the spiders go with it.

Boss Fight Reward: Kin Coldlood(12)

The One Reborn

Before heading straight into this boss fight you’ll want to deal with some minions scattered around the area. First, head left and up the stairs to the second level. Here you’ll find a group of Bell Callers, who you’ll want to defeat. Once they are down, continue over the bridge to find another three Bell Callers. Defeat these guys as well, and then return to the main floor to deal with the massive pile of ugly waiting for you.

Some of the biggest things to watch out for are the Spear which appears on The One Reborn’s head. If you see this, it means the beast is about to launch a projectile attack. Dodge away from that attack, and then move back in to deal some damage to it.

If you haven’t noticed by now, then chances are you’re blind, but the Reborn One is made up of several different body parts. It’s important that you pay attention to all these flailing body parts as you battle, because during the fight, various pieces will fall off and if they hit you they will damage you considerably.

The second most important thing to watch out for when dealing with the boss is its vomit-like attack. Whenever you see it winding up like it’s about to hurl, you’re going to want to get off the main floor, and up onto higher ground. This will keep the vomit from hitting you. Also, it should be noted that any reddish glow you see coming from the beast is a large sign telling you to run like heck. At this point you’ll want to get away from the Reborn One, and put as much distance between you as possible. If your health isn’t very high, getting hit by this attack will mean your death.

Whenever the beast finishes an attack, move in as quickly as possible and deal as much damage to its legs as you can. Watch out though, as it will try to kick you away. Continue this form of attack and dodge until the Reborn One falls and you collect your reward.

Boss Fight Reward: Three Yellow Backbones

Darkbeast Paarl

This battle can be fought earlier on in the game, however, we highly suggest waiting until after beating the Reborn One, as you’ll be stronger and more on par with this enemy at this point. Don’t worry, this isn’t a super tough boss.

Once you’re ready to go, enter the battle and stick close to the beast. If you see it stop and ready for a charge, dodge away and run as far from it as you can. For the most part you’ll want to stand in front of the creature. Of course, we don’t mean stand still. As with any fight in this game, you should be constantly moving and attacking when you can. Just remember not to get over confident, as sticking around too long without dodging will lead to the boss landing an attack.

The most important attack to watch out for is the Darkbeast’s electric attack, however, after dealing a considerable amount of damage you’ll stun the creature, and allow you to deal even more damage to it. Be careful though, as we stated above – stick around too long will mean damage dealt to you.

Once the creature regains its composure it will start to use its electric attack more and more. Simply dodge the creature’s hits and deal as much damage as you can before having to dodge away. Rinse and repeat until this ugly hits the ground, the life ripped from its beating heart.

Boss Fight Reward: Spark Hunter Badge

More Coming Soon…

Unsure of whether or not Bloodborne is worth picking up? Check out our impressions.

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