The Title Card: The cutscene that plays when you first encounters tells you two things about them: 1) they are quick, savage combatants and 2) they’ve possibly gone mad. More specifically, their dedication to their cause—rooting out the corruption of the Abyss—has taken on a distinctly Highlander vibe:
Design Notes: Shortly after the Deacons of the Deep, we’ve got another variation on the “mob” boss. In the first phase, it starts out simple with one Watcher, but the longer this phase goes on, the more of them appear. Unlike the Deacons, these guys aren’t push-overs; they fight aggressively! This is a smart way to escalate the tension without swarming you right at the start; any confidence you might have had early in the fight drains out as you face more of them. I did learn after beating them that they will start in-fighting as their numbers grow—just like the intro cinematic—so that’s a neat little wrinkle.
In the second phase, well...you saw my clever Highlander joke above: you get the Quickening and then face off again a meaner, stronger version of the small-potatoes Watchers.
Challenge Level: Not to be underestimated. After failing to dispatch the clone Watchers fast enough in the first phase, I upgraded my weapon until I could take these guys out in a few hits. If you can finish off the lot before they have a chance to spawn, you can force the second phase early; I think I only had to deal with three Watchers in the first phase this way.
The second phase turns this into a standard one-on-one fight, with an enemy that wouldn’t feel out of place amongst Bloodborne’s Hunters: all offense, no defense expect for a sidestep.
Very Speculative Lore Notes: Guarding against the Abyss never seems to end well in this series, does it? They don’t actually seem corrupted by the Abyss—not in any immediate visual sense—but they do seem driven mad by their zealous mission...and possibly some magic. If you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail; if you’re an Abyss Watcher, you’re bound to see the Abyss in everything, even your fellow Watchers.