The Four Kings is the boss fight after exploring New Londo Ruins in Dark Souls.
How to access The Abyss and fight The Four Kings
Also, before you you jump in to fight the Four Kings, we recommend that you have fully upgraded your weapon to +10 elemental or at least +13, which was where our Zewihander was at while fighting this boss. Also, do be aware that this is a fight all about speed.
The Four Kings boss strategy
While you will initially be fighting one of the boss, others can spawn if you do not take them out quick enough. The shared health bar in the middle is important, but keep an eye on the individual ones, too. Be careful as to not be slow and end up with more than you can chew.
With that in mind, we recommend a few different strategies for killing the Four Kings, and it's a game of two extremes. Either head in with your most powerful weapons, with the highest poise armour in the game (Havel/Stone set) or go as light as possible for a fast roll. If you want a good middle ground, equip Havel's Ring alongside some decent mid-range armour such as the Elite Knight's set.
In addition to this, you must have defeated Great Grey Wolf Sif in Darkroot Garden before you face off against this boss. You must equip the Covenant of Artorias in your ring slot. If you remove it, you will die immediately. Also, be sure to have as many healing items as possible. There are no bonfires in New Londo Ruins, so make use of the shortcuts that you unlocked along the way.
Now, the actual fight. Like we said before, this is a fight that's all about laying the damage on very fast. Two hand your weapon for most of the fight if you're playing a light build, and bring a 100% Physical Shield if you are tanking. While there is some bad depth perception due to the arena, the boss has a very long range thrust that can catch you off-guard, run diagonally in a direction to avoid this.
Then, the boss also has some vertical and horizontal swings that can be rolled through or tanked with a shield, please remember to go into this fight specced correctly. This boss also has a diagonal swing which you're also able to avoid by heading right when it swings. The melee attacks here are pretty simple, just keep you eyes on which direction the sword is going to dodge accordingly.
Be warned, as staying close will also leave you open to the incredibly deadly lifedrain grab, which will also take away your humanity. This is incredibly hard to dodge, so just run in the opposite direction when you see the boss about to grab you.
Where this fight gets a bit more complex is in the ranged and area of effect attacks. One of the most devastating attacks to be hit by is the area of effect blast, where the boss will curl up and charge. After you see this, lock on, put your shield up and retreat. There are multiple hits in this area of effect attack, so do not lower your shield until the effect has cleared up.
Now, there are also homing projectiles that can deal a lot of damage, but you will also be able to run past these and head straight for the boss, it's more of an opportunity than deadly attack. Finally, there is a slow projectile that can catch you off guard easily. You can kite diagonally in a direction to mitigate this.
Right, now that we've broken down all of its attacks, here's another pro-tip. When at range, use Pyromancies, then as you use it, the boss should come closer. Then, deal damage after you tank or dodge hits.
When defeating one of the Kings, it will evaporate into a white light. When you see this, immediately two hand and attack the light as much as you can, as it will bring the unified health bar down.
If you're looking for more help, our Dark Souls walkthrough and guide can help with all other areas of the game, including the dreaded Taurus Demon, Capra Demon, Ornstein and Smough bosses. Meanwhile, we have explainers on how to access DLC Artorias of the Abyss, the best gift and best class in Dark Souls, Dark Souls' best weapons, Dark Souls Covenants, Dark Souls Estus Flasks locations, Dark Souls Titanite Slab locations and NPC quests including Lautrec of Carim.
Remember, this fight will get a whole lot harder as soon as you have more than one of the Four Kings attacking you at once, so ensure that you're taking care of them quickly. There is no way around this fight if you're not doing enough damage and getting killed. Upgrade your weapons, enchant your weapons, keep laying the damage on. The nightmare will soon be over.
Once done, there are three other areas and bosses you must tackle before you can head to the game's final area: