This may seem like a bit of a weird question, especially considering I beat the game on Crushing last night, but here goes...

What is the trick to winning the final boss fight against Talbot on the Crushing difficulty? While I did finally defeat him last night, it seemed due more to luck than skill. But there must be some pattern to it, or some sequence of events that must happen. However, it took me many, many attempts to finally overcome him, and during all these attempts I seemed to be getting a lot of successful hits, and fending attacks successfully. Some attempts I was fighting him for well over 3 minutes, but when I finally defeated him, it took just over 2.

In summary; I beat him, but I have no idea what the magic formula was that allowed me to do so.


9 Answers 9


Talbot's got a limited move set, and most of them involve quick-time events, for example:

  • He takes a swing at you, which you dodge and counter
  • Talbot pins your arm behind your back, where you bite his arm to get out
  • You and he cross arms, but he drops the knife into his other hand for a quick slash (this appears to be the trickiest one - you have to go from mashing the circle button to hitting triangle and you have a very short window in which to do so)
  • He knocks you down, and you kick him in the head to break his hold

Screwing up more than one of these in a row on Crushing seems to be a recipe for game over.

There's a particular pattern to when he goes for the final kill (and Sully shows up to take a shot) and I don't see much of a pattern about when this happens. It might just be a function of how much damage you do to him, as most of the videos I've seen where he goes down quickly, Nathan's always on the offensive, punching constantly when not involved in a QTE.

Here's a video of someone beating him on Crushing in about 2 and a half minutes, although there's no commentary or other prompts so it's tough to glean much information from it:

  • Yeah, I've noticed all those moves you mentioned. And I agree the crossed arms one was a particularly hard one to escape unscathed. Thanks for the video link. Going to go watch it now to see if my current theory (all patterns must be completed without taking any damage) is the key. In any case, I've finally crushed Crushing, but I felt I fluked the last fight, which is why I sought clarification. At least I now can move on to completing the other new games in my collection before I have to open up those PS3 shaped presents under the Christmas tree :-)
    – Cleggy
    Dec 18, 2011 at 21:32
  • @Cleggy, I don't think you have to pass each QTE, the guy in this video, for example, falls for the knife drop move every time and he still wins. If I had more data, I could probably figure it out.
    – agent86
    Dec 18, 2011 at 22:00
  • Yeah, I noticed that when I watched it. IOW, I'm none the wiser as to exactly what is required to prevail. I'm wondering if it is as lame brained as having to be in an exact location for a particular QTE sequence.
    – Cleggy
    Dec 19, 2011 at 0:12
  • Just encountered this boss fight again in the Nathan Drake Collection (on Hard). The key to victory is not just to repeatedly hit the circle button when he grabs you from behind, but to smash it faster than the speed of light. If you break from his grasp but don't bite his arm, you will not trigger the correct sequence to win the fight, and it will go on forever.
    – Cleggy
    Dec 12, 2015 at 10:15

The magic formula is to keep attacking him... Standing around waiting is useless.. I countered him about 4-5 times in a row to beat him.


Just kicked Talbot's butt on crushing.

Stay on the offensive when possible. There seem to be a couple of action sequences you want to get into, which won't happen if you play defensive. It seems you have to get into the situation where Talbot grabs you from behind at least once, followed by the one where he throws you on the ground. In both situations, you want to hit that circle at the fastest rate you can. When he has you from behind, enough circles fast enough and Nate bites Talbot's arm, and gets away without damage. After that, the next time he puts you on the ground flat on your back, getting enough circles fast enough seems to block him from stabbing you, which gives Sully a clear shot at him. At least, I think that's what happened.

In the other situation, where you cross arms with him and he drops the knife, I never found the timing to counter this, and always got cut badly, but not fatally.


Always counter with triangle. When he gets you in any position where the knife might stab or cut you, press circle as fast as you can. Attack with square only when you have a clear shot.


I just did it.

If talbot keeps one arm of you behind your back press CIRCLE repeatedly. --> he will bite his arm and you get off

If your hanging off the cliff Press TRIANGLE repeatedly -> he will grab talbots leg

If talbot smashes you on the ground Press SQUARE repeatedly --> he will knock talbot with his on head

For all other attacks Triangle worked just fine for me and i could kill talbot in a matter of 3-5 minutes.

Hope it helps


It's about getting near the edges and letting them crumble. Keep blocking him while you dance around all four corners clockwise. The fountain last.


I had the same problem on Crushing, and I had been fighting Talbot for 34 minutes without dying. I finally figured it out. You punch and dodge, until SQUARE does not work anymore. When he grabs you when you press square, there are 3 things that can happen. Either you don't press CIRCLE fast enough, and he cuts you, or he throws you on the ground. You don't want either of these things to happen to you. Press CIRCLE as fast as you can (try vibrating your index finger over CIRCLE) and you will bite Talbots arm. After that it's pretty easy.


Really easy to defeat him on Crushing... simply mash all three ( square, triangle and circle) together. It's bizarre, but works and gets you to the bite the arm cut scene really fast, like 30s or so.


This is a difficult fight.

So I was also really frustrated with this for a long time and finally decided to look at a video of someone completing it on normal (with on-screen directives) to see if there was some sequence or combination I kept missing.

Where I would keep running into trouble was the grapple sequence where Talbot has you held from behind and you’re eventually supposed to bite him. I could never seem to trigger that as Talbot would always end up just pushing or rolling me away, but that seems to be the key to progressing through the fight. What I gleaned from watching the video on normal mode is that there’s actually a subtle pattern/rhythm to this sequence.

Rather than just aimlessly mashing the circle button to no avail (what I kept trying to do for what seemed like forever), there’s a point in the middle of this sequence where you’re supposed to hold circle down for longer (or harder?) once and then resume spamming the button. It might take a few tries to get this pattern right but after I watched that video and tried it out, I finally got lucky and triggered the bite once and pretty soon thereafter the fight was over. It’s hard to get it right and might take a few attempts but if you play around with it a few times and make a concerted effort to transition from mashing circle around 4-6 times, then pressing down on it more emphatically/longer once, and then immediately going back to mashing it a bunch of times, Nathan should finally bite Talbot.

Not long after that, the sequence where Talbot switches the knife to his other hand also finally triggered for me (luckily as others mentioned you don’t seem to have to avoid getting cut here to progress, just make sure he doesn’t slash you a second time on "crushing" difficulty unless you want to start it over again for the 573rd time but who’s counting at this point haha).

Then, after a few more counters (triangle), offensive strikes (square), or the other pattern where you just button mash circle as fast as you can to ward off the knife, you’ll get to the point where Talbot has you pinned near the edge and for the rest of the fight the game will now automatically give you on-screen directives regardless of difficulty.

it’s spamming the circle button as fast as you can, which you should be a pro at by now.

I am not sure which if any of the other sequences are necessary to successfully complete the fight, but I don’t think you can progress until you bite him once and that was by far the hardest task for me since simply hitting circle as fast as I could would only end with Talbot rolling Nathan away instead of Nathan biting him.

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