Man on fire: an afternoon with Borderlands 2's new psycho class



May 4, 2013

Ultimate Badass Savages? These guys don't sound like they're going to go down easily. Yet with Krieg the loveable psycho - he's Borderlands 2's latest class, and I added the loveable bit myself - they're despatched in a matter of seconds. This is because of Krieg's action skill - a neat little piece of classic Borderlands design called Buzz Axe Rampage. Press that bumper button, and Krieg produces his signature psycho axe. Melee power and movement speed are both given a serious boost, and he can even lob axes around like some kind of deadly and deranged hot dog vendor, pacing the bleachers at the world's bloodiest ball game.

As if throwing axes around wasn't enough of an incentive, there are a couple of additional tweaks going on with the skill, too. When you're in the midst of a buzz axe rampage, scoring a kill builds up your health, while taking damage whittles away at the interminable cooldown. You're basically encouraged to dance on the very edge of your comfort zone, taking all the lumps you can while strategically finishing off the odd baddy now and then to keep yourself alive. It's a truly psychotic way of playing.

That buzz axe move is backed up with the standard three skill trees - Krieg's are called Hellborn, Mania, and Bloodlust. Mania focuses on damage for the most part: boosting it, boosting the extent that incoming damage reduces the action skill cooldown, allowing you to drop grenades when killed, and offering other treats like the option to attack yourself, to transform into a mutant when you enter buzz axe mode with limited health, and even to replace the standard fight for your life sequence with the ability to dash around with a fizzing stick of dynamite or twelve as you bleed out.

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