The Matriarch (Gears 5)
Maybe this Gears 5 fight doesn’t belong anywhere near a ‘Best’ list, but the Matriarch battle is one of the most memorable of the year for me. As a challenge, it’s been lambasted and praised by the community — but it is a new twist on the old Berserker boss formula. The Matriach is a super-berserker, blind and insane, ready to kill the player in a single charge whenever it hears a sound.
To defeat it, you’ll have to lure the Matriarch onto thin ice, then shoot the ice drop the Matriarch into the freezing water below. While iced-up, you’ll be able to deal direct damage to the Matriarch — until the ice-effect wears off. Essentially, you have to play Marco Polo with a rage-beast, and trick it into tripping into a puddle of water. It’s also weirdly difficult — like, instadeath can happen at any minute. So it gets a call-out on my list.
The Impossible Lair (Yooka-Laylee and the Imposible Lair)
This one might be a cheat, but I couldn’t help it. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair’s titular lair, the final level of the game, is suitably impossible. For a game made for children, this last level is a true platforming challenge. You’ll need all the extra lives provided by completing levels to reach the end — even with all of them, those extra lives are more useful as a training aid so you can slowly get further and further into the lair.
You’ll need 40+ lives just to make progress. Yes, this level can easily kill you over 40 times in a single run. And I’m not even talking about the multiple boss fights between each area — all of which have no checkpoints. For a casual player, this level might just be impossible.
Check out even more of the best boss battles on the next page.