We’re all familiar with those boss fights that make us want to pull our hair out, and yell in frustration. We employ the use of strategy guides, videos from other successful players, and even word of mouth in order to overcome this foe that’s halting our progress. Whether you’ve seen the Game Over screen ten times or a hundred, sometimes you’ll get that voice in the back of your head:
This doesn’t make sense. How am I losing so often!?
Provided that you haven’t thrown your controller against the wall in a curse-filled rage yet, it may be possible that you are indeed doing everything you should be doing. Perhaps you are doing exactly what should be done in order to win, but you’re stopped dead in your tracks time and time again. For SOME reason, the skills that you employed to make it through every other hurdle thus far simply don’t work here. In this situation, we may be quick to blame the boss itself. We’re quick to get laughed at for crying that our opponents are cheating, and we’re only pushed to say this when we’re the ones losing. Ridiculous accusations like that run rampant in fighting games, even amongst the most casual of matches.
This doesn’t happen to me very often, but when it does, I’m left just as dumbfounded as many of you are. I recently had to tangle with forces greater of my own, and even now, I’m still not even sure how I was able to get through it.
The second endgame boss in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep is the newest member of this society of extremely tough bosses. He comes out of the blue, and leaves just as strangely as he came. I mention him here, because there’s nothing I can really spoil – He’s freaking UNKNOWN, so that’s what we’ll call him. Unknown is just the kind of boss that whose sole purpose is to make you suffer. Each of his attacks can either kill you, or critically injure you. Provided that you somehow survived within an inch of your life, chances are you’re too frazzled to keep your guard up. Before you know it, you’ve already made a mistake, and are paid with another visit to the Game Over screen. Some of his attacks ARE blockable, but it’s easier said than done. Okay, that sounds pretty standard for an endgame boss. I mean, for an Action RPG, there probably aren’t too many things that can really stand in your way if you’re strong enough to dish out some hefty blows yourself, but damn, all of the confidence I slowly garnered from beating every tough battle in the game up to this point was shattered after my first five losses to this guy.
For all of you overachievers out there, the first person who managed to defeat the Unknown (and upload it to Youtube) had to cheat and give themselves infinite HP just to make it through. Even then, it still seemed that he had a tough time.
I’m not talking about old school Capcom/SNK style bosses that were made to be very difficult to keep people popping in as many tokens as humanly possible, nor am I talking about the vast majority of the types of encounters that made Demons Souls the difficult yet rewarding game it’s known for. I’ll go as far as to put the Unknown in the “Nice to meet you, YOU LOSE” category.
Simply staying alive while going head to head with the Unknown is a feat in itself – You’re perpetually mashing the Square button to dodge roll, because whenever you dodge, you’re granted invincibility frames that render you impervious to any attacks he lets out on you. While you’re doing this, you’ve got to think of when its safe enough to try to strike back without him retaliating. On paper, I’m sure this kind of scenario was a cool idea, but when its actually happening, this isn’t very fun, because despite my best efforts at trying to dodge for 5 to 10 minutes straight, whenever I died, I was more pissed off in the way I died, rather than the fact that I was able to deplete one of his four life bars.
In the end, I would say that it took more retries than I had expected in order to defeat him. Getting a few Game Overs here and there are okay, because I was learning what not to do the next time around However, too many deaths is a little excessive. I would have a couple really good rounds against him, but too many factors would be working against me – If he used his “rope” too many times, or his full-screen attacks (which are really difficult to dodge or block) without giving you a chance to heal, it was only a matter of time before I would eventually die yet again. There were too many “stupid deaths” as opposed to losing fair and square.
This is not the way an optional super boss should be. Yes, I’m all for being hard as hell, but give me some kind of strategy; some set of guidelines that I can follow that would lead me to victory, as opposed to jamming my thumb till I lose feeling in it, only to die in the dumbest way possible. Even when I won, I didn’t feel accomplished at all. I got a useless Keyblade, while Unknown just nodded and disappeared the same way he came.