Code Vein, Bandai Namco’s anime flavoured take on the Dark Souls world, is pretty good. Sure, it’s not the hardest game in the world – as even I managed to finish it – but that’s not to say it is all smooth sailing. You see, mixed in with the “run of the mill” baddies (if there are any such things in a Souls-style game, where even the weakest enemies can give you a good kicking should your concentration slip) there are of course the obligatory boss encounters. Some of these are pretty straightforward, like the first boss, Oliver Collins, but as the game goes on, they get harder and harder, until they reach epic levels.

Here then is my list of the five hardest bosses in the game, and please be aware, there may be slight spoilers ahead as I may just mention a boss you’ve not yet come across. With that statutory warning out of the way, onto the list!

Invading Executioner

code vein Invading Executioner

As I went through the early part of Code Vein, with a fairly easy boss win under my belt, I have to say my confidence was fairly high. “I’ve got this!” I thought, after all I’d played Dark Souls a lot, and this was just an easier version, right?

Well, after trekking through a very hostile area, full of thigh deep water that slowed me right down and made fighting quite hard, I finally made it to the boss arena of the Howling Pit. And boy, did this boss like to make an entrance! Sliding through the water, with her sickle cutting the surface like a shark’s fin, she finally appeared and we started to fight. She was fast, but that’s nothing new; I’d dealt with fast enemies before. But then she unleashed her secret weapon: if she hit you with her water attack, she would inflict Slow. This basically means that I limped around the arena like a geriatric on pension day, unable to run, or dodge effectively. 

Of course, there are medicines to cure this status, but I hadn’t equipped them to my quick menu, so going into the inventory and using it meant standing still briefly, usually just long enough for her to hit me with another slow attack as I cured the first one. Learning her attack patterns was vital to the eventual success, and either blocking or dodging the slowing attacks was critical. 

Seeing her dissolve into a pile of red ash was a huge relief!

Butterfly of Delirium

code vein Butterfly of Delirium

Another day, another boss, and the way Code Vein is structured lets you choose which of the bosses you want to tackle first. Either this boss, who as you may have guessed resembles a butterfly and comes out of a cocoon, or the previously mentioned Invading Executioner can be fought first. 

Both have remarkably similar tactics: zoom about the place, inflicting damage and status conditions to soften you up. While the Invading Executioner used the Slow debuff, The Butterfly of Delirium went down another root. She uses poison to weaken you, and as it’s quite an early boss, the number of healing charges you have available are usually not equal to the amount of damage over time that her venom based attacks do. 

She is also a very mobile boss, flying about the place like the butterfly of her namesake, and with a giant dragon style tail to charge across the arena, causes lots of damage. Her AoE poison attacks are very hard to dodge, her speed makes her hard to hit, and even cornering her doesn’t always work, as she can fly. 

All in all, for an early boss, this one caused quite a lot of trouble until I learned a top tip: If you use the anti poison medicine when you are not poisoned, it acts as a kind of vaccine, preventing you from being poisoned for a short time. Bear that in mind, fellow Revenants!

Cannoneer and Blade Bearer

code vein Cannoneer

These two are the Ornstein and Smough of Code Vein. You know the pairing, one fast but not massively damaging, while the other is massive and slow, but when he hits you, you know about it. 

Now imagine Ornstein and Smough with elemental attacks; a fast ice type boss and a slower one armed with a flamethrower that can cause a great deal of damage from long range. Now you’re seeing Canoneer and Blade Bearer.

I had take in this fight in the same way as I did in Dark Souls, taking out the fast enemy first, as it’s fairly easy to dodge the fire based attacks of Canoneer. Blade Bearer on the other hand has a slide that would put Frozone from The Incredibles to shame, as well as an AoE ice attack that can slow you down. Her speed and ability to be elsewhere in the blink of an eye makes her hard to fight, especially as when you have her lined up for a combo, more often than not the ground will erupt into flame under your feet as Canoneer tries to get involved. 

Once she is down, honestly the destruction of Canoneer is a pushover, as up close and personal he doesn’t seem to have too many ideas. Still, as the only boss fight to feature two enemies, this certainly sticks out as one of the more difficult encounters in Code Vein. 

Gilded Hunter

code vein Gilded Hunter

Ah, the Gilded Hunter. 

After a very trying section, where the place was stuffed with high level, dangerous enemies, and others with bayonets that like to snipe from afar, I finally made to the boss arena. A boss arena guarded by a Black Knight, I might add. 

The Gilded Hunter is fairly fast, but I thought I knew what I was doing, and soon he was pretty much whittled down to about half health. “This guys going down easy!” I remember saying, as the boss fell to his knees. Now, in Code Vein, that’s normally your queue to rush in and do as much damage as possible while he’s helpless, but this was a false sense of security. You see, as his health falls, the Gilded Hunter becomes supercharged, and his speed and power go through the roof. He can teleport the length of the arena and hit you three times before you can blink; only judicious use of the dodge and block functions will keep you alive. 

His combos can’t all be dodged, so only a combination of blocking and dodging will ever save you, but you have to know which attacks can be blocked without draining all of your stamina, to let you dodge in the next heartbeat. Keeping yourself, and your buddy alive through this phase is a feat in itself, but luckily it doesn’t last long. 

Assuming you have survived then you can unload on him and you should be able to beat him before he goes into turbo nutter mode again. Good luck with this one though, as I’m sure you are going to need it.

Skull King / Virgin Born

code vein virgin born

Ah, the last two bosses of Code Vein and you’d pretty much expect these to be tricky encounters. You’d be right, but not for the reasons you might think. 

Things with these bosses start of pretty much as you’d expect, dishing out some manners to a giant Lost with two massive swords. You quickly learn to respect the speed with which The Skull King can swing those weapons around, and the reach they have. Even trying to stay behind him is problematic though, as his horizontal swings cover about 270 degrees of rotation, making them hard to dodge. Still, by this time I’d become used to fighting enemies in this style, and the level leading up to this encounter is stuffed with tough enemies. So, Skull King was beaten in a couple of attempts, more by luck than judgement I have to say. 

Then comes stage two of the fight though and there was no chance to replenish my healing charges, or even restore my HP, before the Virgin Born appeared on the screen, killing me in one projectile hit. Dead before I’d even had chance to move. 

Running back into the arena to take her on a second time, I locked on and tried my luck. It was here that the camera decides to conspire with the enemy, as she moves so fast and spends a lot of time jumping, that the camera just can’t cope. I was stomped more times than I care to remember, because I couldn’t see the enemy, and therefore couldn’t see her attacks, and couldn’t dodge. It was only when I didn’t lock on, and just relied on blindly flailing about with my sword when she was nearby that I was ever able to take her down. 

Manual camera control in the middle of the final boss is not ideal, but at least I managed it. Although it has to be said that it was all a lot more difficult than it needed to be, and the deaths didn’t feel deserved. But hey, at least I managed to take her out and see the ending. 

So there we have it, my personal list of the five hardest bosses from Code Vein. Do you agree with the list? Who did you have trouble with? Let me know in the comments below!

You can pick up Code Vein on Xbox One, PS4 and PC right now.

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