I did a small piece on this a long time ago. I think it's still relevant
my best boss is evaluated not so much by its difficulty, but by what it is as a Soulsborne boss. That boss, is Father Gascoigne. To start off, Gascoigne is, mechanically, a very fun boss to fight. He’s fast, powerful, and very dynamic, acting as the first hunter boss you fight, fighting as a hunter, against a hunter, doing everything you can in his own way, and more. Just like you, he shifts weapon forms through the course of the battle, changing his fighting style, through three different forms, axe, halberd, and then beast. The music all the while is tense, and puts you in the mood that the battle wants you to be in, and the arena just reeks of death and fear in the most classic Horror movie setting, a blood soaked graveyard, filled with tombstones, dead trees, and a maddened axe killer. But the fight itself isn’t the only thing that makes me love this boss, it is also what he is as a symbol, what he represents as a boss in Bloodborne, and the Soulsborne games.
To me, he represents everything that is Bloodborne, and the Soulsborne games in general. Bloodborne is a “Souls” game that, as one of the highly anticipated and needed games for the PS4, brought in many new players and potential fans for the Souls games, and Gascoigne was right there in the beginning to meet us all. He was the first big challenge to the new players of the game. To players new to the Souls games, he was the boss that showed them what Souls games are all about. They don’t hold your hand and they don’t pull punches. If you want to beat this game, you need to have skills, determination, and balls of steel, able to take the hit, and get right back up for more. To Souls veterans, Gascoigne was their wake up call, showing them defense and patience are not going to win Bloodborne. You have to jump in there, hit hard, and hit fast. Although Gascoigne isn’t hard relative to other bosses in the game, he was really hard relative to the beginning, showing new players just how hard this game can be, and what they’re getting into.
That is how Gascoigne represents Bloodborne and Souls games mechanically, but then there’s what he represents story wise, and tone wise. In Bloodborne, the player is a hunter, thrown into a world of beasts and blood without knowledge or history. All you know is that you need to kill beasts, after all, that’s just what hunters do. This is made clear with the first boss, the Cleric beast. It is a savage monster, devoid of humanity, a blood crazed beast to hunt and slaughter, and your first big step to embracing the hunt. But then there’s Gascoigne. He is no mere beast; he is a hunter, armed with hunter tools and skilled in their ways of combat, just like you, but better. He is your superior, an elder hunter who knows the hunt far more than you, but he is still more. He is like you, a stranger to Yharnam made hunter, but he is also a father, with two young daughters, and a loving wife, a wife who he himself kills as a result of the hunt, and the blood. He is driven mad by the bloodlust, and turned into one of the beasts he hunts.
He shows the player just what being a hunter really is, not just simple killing of beasts, but a dangerous profession that strips you of your humanity and sanity, and makes you no more than a monster yourself. He calls the question of the morality of being a hunter, and just who the real beasts are (later made more apparent by Djura). Gascoigne shows players that Bloodborne, and the Souls games in general, are not black and white. There is no distinct “good” or “evil”, just you, and the horrifying world you are thrust into, how you survive it, and how you conquer it.
There once was a hunter from Nantuckit
Who was going to die anyway, so he said, "fu*k it!"
"I’ll hunt the beasts of Yarnam.
To get blood vials, I’ll farm them,
and kill them all before I kick the bucket."