Borderlands 2: Krieg the Psycho Bandit Review

Developer: Gearbox Software / Publisher: 2K Games / Played On: Xbox 360 / Price: $9.99 / ESRB: Mature [Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol]


As the latest character DLC of Borderlands 2, Krieg has a bit of Salvador and Brick about him, especially when it comes to proficiency in melee combat. The twist is that he’s a psycho bandit; he looks just like one of the countless bad guys you’ve spent hundreds of hours killing throughout the series. Gearbox Software isn’t merely handing you the controls of any ordinary psycho; Krieg is fitted just like any other playable Borderlands character, which his own unique skill tree and abilities to complement any co-op foursome.

Whereas the Mechromancer DLC character often felt like a loyalty reward that appealed to advanced Borderlands 2 players, Krieg the Psycho Bandit caters to all experience levels, and especially to players who get off on high risk-high reward experiences. An ability like Buzzaxe has an unusually long cool down period, but that time is shortened with every hit you take. It’s as if the game is encouraging you to embrace your inner psycho and go nuts with melee attacks in the expectation you will get hit in the process. Furthermore, a reactivated Buzzaxe replenishes a bit of health with every kill. To say it’s a vicious cycle is an understatement.


As one who enjoys dealing melee kills in every practical instance in first-person shooters, I felt positively drunk with power when using Krieg. If the Buzzaxe cycle of death wasn’t enough, going down the Mania ability path only amplifies this lifestyle of close quarters combat. This not only includes a 250% damage increase on melee kills, but also added boosts when you get hit.

Bloodlust and Hellborn are the two other ability paths, and they’re more technical compliments to Mania. They help boost various kinds of damage as well as provide fire-based enhancements. Hellborn is especially fitting for Krieg’s psychotic tendencies since many of this tree’s skills sets him on fire, for his benefit of course.


Krieg can’t be a true Borderlands 2 psycho unless he is as suicidal as he is homicidal. His ‘Light the Fuse’ skill gives the middle finger to ‘Fight For Your Life,’ allowing him to blow up in the hopes of taking others with him. It’s a creative and fitting twist to the series’ ‘second chance’ feature. ‘Light the Fuse’ is just one of the many benefits Krieg has to help round off a four player squad, especially if that team is in need of a fearless melee maniac. As such, I got way more enjoyment out of him when I played co-op as opposed to solo, partially because my friends found it entertaining to watch Krieg’s frantic actions.

Making the most of Krieg requires more situational awareness than other Borderlands 2 characters. Between watching your health and cooldowns in your UI while dealing melee kills in crowds, there’s a lot to handle. What you do get out of Krieg is a palatable rush regardless of how often you die, and at least dying gives you the chance of taking enemies with you.


+ Close quarters paradise

+ Encourages high risk for high rewards

- Tough for non-multitaskers

9 / 10


  1. 9/10? He’s just a bad version of zer0. He’s quite awful solo which means he’s not a contributor in team fights. He needs at least 1 tanking tree so his melee can serve a purpose. His gun tree is pretty weak in comparison to others. If you want a melee class, go zer0. If you want a gun class, go anyone else.

  2. That’s fairly inaccurate vantis. I’ve played him solo only and he is incredibly successful. His gun tree is weak compared to others because he is practically the only melee only vault hunter. I’ve played extensively with Zer0 bloodlust (when i had to quench my melee thirst before krieg came out) tree and it is incredibly lackluster. In fact I found Zer0 to be nigh useless melee due to the fact that a melee attack when his special is active auto ends it (if you get a killing blow once the last perk on bloodlust is bought you continue it but it’s harder than you think,). Zero only has %600+ melee buff on a special that lasts only 5 SECONDS which ends the second you melee attack, where as Krieg has a %500 melee buff that can be renged, in close, lasts a while and you can attack as much as you want, (a certain tree allows you to even strap explosives to the thrown buzzsaws) . As the review says, you’re probably not used to multi-tasking because Ive played all hunters (excluding gaige) and found that krieg is the funnest (subjective) and most powerful melee (objective) hunter there ie.

  3. I think a 9/10 is a bit much, I feel the other characters are better in most of the things Krieg brings to the table. If I reviewed this I’d give it a 5 or 6.

  4. prime is right in some aspects. Where as Kreigs overall melee is higher, Zer0’s has a chance to be extensive. Where Krieg’s damage output is consistantly high during buzzsaw, giving him reliable dps to simply wail on targets (as lets face it, tossing the buzzaxe kinda sucks), but Zer0 can have insane burst damage against lower level targets or against a large group of weak enemies if you invest in the Bloodshed (right side) tree. His final will allow you to dash from enemy to enemy, and with F0ll0wthr0ugh you’ll be sprinting around the battlefield afterwards.

    That said, Kreig’s mania tree will let him be in buzz axe a good most of the time. I can’t wait until I get him high enough to start mixing in points from hellborn.

  5. Are you’s serious? as soon as you get to level 31 you literally become unstoppable, when you’re low health you just pop your rampage, get full health and immunity while you’re transforming, and you can pretty much 1 shot anyone in your way, refilling your health every time.
    Then if this isn’t enough, once your rampage runs out, it gets instantly refilled at the end of your rampage, so then you basically just deliberately get damaged to get your health low, to then repeat the same process.
    True sometimes you get unlucky and melee yourself twice in a row, downing you, but if you’ve levelled light the fuse you can just take out anyone with low – mid health pretty easily.
    10/10 for me, not the best for bosses that really need to be damaged from a distance, but he’s the best at what he does for sure.

  6. Seeing this I saw that krieg cant be a true psycho because hes not suicidal as much as he is homicidal yet he has a skill that allows him to run around with dynamite to blow himself up with.

  7. Krieg is too weak below level 30, dying too frequently. Many of the skills in the first few tiers are detrimental to survivability without being paired with higher level required skills. I gave up playing him after 15 levels. Was rare that I used his action skill and didn’t die in the process. Too many times enemies are at different elevation levels so his action skill is often useless.

    • After a certain point dying is a GOOD thing. His mania tree will almost assure you can get a kill on lower level mobs and as soon as you as back up, your action skill is ready to go and turn you into a badass psycho, filling your health and letting you do tons and tons of damage. Thats how I soloed the level 32 Pyro Pete the Invincible at level 35. Action skill, do damage until dead, kill a rat to get back up, activate action skill. Repeat until everything around you is jam.

  8. I played Krieg to 21 and gave up. DO NOT use light the fuse at lower lvls because it is GARBARGE. I just decided to use the siren instead and am effective at 10 lvls under the enemies. IMO Krieg is the worst if u r playing under leveled. From what I hear he gets better though.

  9. For those pf you who say krieg is worst than zero for melee, you are horribly wrong. i have a psycho bandit, and he is my favorite character. way better than zero. i hit about 2500k ON AVERAGE with kriegs melee. whoever said zero is better just doesn’t have what it takes to play as krieg. On another note, I’ve hit the maximum hit with kriegs bloodsplosion. i can kill many normal and raid bosses in one bloodsplosion hit. So for those who are saying zero is better, think again.

  10. I’ve played all of the classes and Krieg is the most painful character to play. Krieg’s ability to catch fire can and will get you killed many times even if you didn’t go down the hellborn tree. Krieg is getting more enjoyable after hitting 31 but getting to that point was very difficult and frustrating. Krieg’s mele attacks are lackluster unless you are in mania but being able to fully heal yourself with just one kill in mania is awesome. I recommend trying krieg out if you still love borderlands 2 and want a change of pace.

  11. Krieg is just a different kit to play. Those who complain about him or outright hate him usually have the same problem… Adapting to something new in a familiar game. But I for one love building outside of the “popular” styles. For example, I hate the Bee Shield, can’t stand players who use it constantly on every character. Same goes with the Sham + Rocket builds. But here’s the breakdown by difficulty of how this Psycho plays.

    Normal: lol Mania Tree all day, OSK everything but bosses with ease. Almost mind numbingly easy… Didn’t need a shield at all.

    TVHM: Melee become less effective. However his Elemental Tree (Hellborn) become VERY effective when combined with his Gun/Grenade/Explosive Skill Tree (Bloodlust). But it requires you to completely forget the way you played Normal mode.

    Meaning a build without Mania means Shields are good again. Because once you light up an enemy with Elemental damage you catch fire (which does nothing to shields but boost gun stats dramatically) and very quickly gain Bloodlust stacks which again increases his gun/grenade/melee damage.

    UVHM: Melee is completely useless unless enemies are slaged, which is hard to do when all you can do with his action skill is melee.

    However Blood Explosion is friggin nuts when paired with his Hellborn Tree causing a massive AOE elemental explosion with whatever element it died from. Even if it dies from non-elemental attacks they still pop with explosive as the “Bloodsplosion”. It’s lolz for days of chain reaction Bloodsplosion which will clear a room faster than a Gunzerker packing 2 Rocket Launchers.

  12. Ok starting off. Have a kreig at lvl 61. Leveled strictly mania all the way and stayed there..

    normal – game was a cinch. Not even remotely hard.

    tvhm – same still easy.

    uvhm – not quite so easy. That being said if you are not supremely aware of your surroundings YOU WILL GET YOUR STOOL PUSHED IN.

    Kreig as a melee expert is meant to be played very close to the wire. He balances a finite point between up and rampaging & fight for your life. If you are mad at this its your fault for failing to adapt to a high risk high reward play style.. I am constantly being put in fight for your life (early vids showed this an an acceptable nuance of his persona) if you are dying you are failing to use the lower level enemies that plague each fight as basic health cells that they are. If you are losing constantly i should probably suggest you go back to your bullcrap duping bee shield bullcrap play style you use for everything in this game. He is meant to be frantic, twitchy and dare i say….maniacal. High risk high reward means that. And if you cant understand that or even comprehend it it is your fault.. Not the mechanics of the game not the devs.. But your short sightedness.

    been playing him 100% legit all the way to my fourth playthrough of uvhm and have yet to run into one single problem that my own short sightedness of a situation wasnt remedied.

    pull up yer big boy pants and stop bitching and learn to play a game you most decidedly probably cheat at anyways, and are mad yer bullshit playstyle / fake gear cant overcome.

    there is nothing wrong with kreig in the least. You just suck

  13. the buzz axe is not the way to go, check out the ultimate lvl 61 psycho build on youtube. Krieg literally becomes a walking nuclear bomb. With 4 people,my friends enjoy watching me clear bandits from the face of the pandora. Kriegs biggest weakness is robots, but adding a rocket launcher and some big time grenades easily fixes that. He’s a blast to play with.

  14. Oh, and don’t waste your time with the dynamite shit or the other gimmicky special abilities. I merely use those to give my friends a good laugh. And if you have a nursing siren as a teammate who can heal you with nukem, you will never die

  15. I truly wish I could get this character. I was excited at first, but I’m apparently no good at melee. Most of my characters (in various games) are casters. That said, I’m crazy about my siren. When I feel like having a sidekick, I use the mechromancer (until I lose 300 stacks of anarchy and get pissed :P).

    For the most part, I enjoy soloing. At least now I know it’s not just me….this character dies A LOT. I honestly don’t think this one will make it to 72. I understand that melee isn’t for everyone, but this character makes me feel like I need to keep my day job…Lol.

  16. I got bored after maxing out my siren and commando to 61 on uvhm and decided to cheat my way with the other characters. I played with gaige until TVHM and finally went in and maxed out all their skills set. For example, Axton had his two turrets with nukes and slag. Out of all the characters I’ve played, Krieg was the worst! SERIOUSLY effing mother load of GOD, worst of the worst.

    First, Maya was amazing. She was my favorite. Her survivability has become crazier. All her skills maxed out except thoughtlock because it was crap. I’d have to say, hands down she was far the best character. Long range abilities, her phaselock has become more deadly with maxed motion tree, she basically eats up health after a kill with maxed harmony tree, and her cataclysm is just phenomenal. All her trees are epic and she’s the best character to mix and max equips all throughout the game.

    Second, Salvador just got boring in a good way because he basically rapes everything. Maxed salvador is the fastest character I’ve played to clean out an entire room. His DPS even with maxed out skill trees doesn’t increase, but all of his skill trees maxed out gives him more survivability. And the fact that he doesn’t need to wear the bee to kill anything makes him the best to play if you’re on a speed run and poor on equips. I got bored with him; he’s just too easy to play.

    Third, Axton’s turrets are superb. Two turrets with nuke, longbow, phalanx shield, and gemini with the slag and double guns, doesn’t make him deadly by all means, but makes him the perfect solo character. Since his turrets cannot kill anything on UVHM, I’d have to say that Axton has finally become functional. No longer are the days where you sit back and enjoy while your turrets tear through everything. NO NO NO! You get to join the fun. He’s finally the aggressive in-your-face commando that we deserved. With his skill trees maxed out, he doesn’t need to rely on his turrets to make a kill. Because once he releases his two turrets, you feel like there are three of you playing in the game and all hell breaks loose. Although equipment reliant, he’s still the overall well rounded character, which is made better. The game designers made great thought in his skill tree.

    Fourth, Zero’s melee and sniping abilities combined together are FUN FUN FUN, if . . . you’ve got the right equips. Otherwise, you’ll still be dying. It’s exhilarating because I finally got to snipe while becoming a ninja assassin with everything as I hacked through everyone’s faces. He’ll probably be the best character to those who’s got good eye-to-hand coordination.

    Fifth, Gaige. I ranked her fifth because I don’t have the time to max her anarchy just to get her DPS (without the bee) to at least 400k to 600k or at best, 1 to 2m. With her skill trees, it’s fun to see her pep skill do its action. orange green and blue numbers are cute to see on enemies, although the shit damage doesn’t really matter. And you don’t need to carry a slag weapon because interspeed outburst does it for you (amazing with slayer of terra class mod). The only downside, since most of her skill were bugged and deathtrap skills are mostly useless: the stare, one two boom, and buck up, deathtrap is now incomparable to axton’s turrets. Deathtrap now acts as a distraction, a good one though . . . to at least cover Gaige’s lack of healing abilities while you’re playing. She’s very weak without a good distraction, especially if dying is not an option if you have 600 stacks.

    Lastly, Krieg. I don’t know what to say, but he’s sub par to zero with all of his skills maxed out with the exception of light the fuse and flame flare. He can’t kill baddass constructors, unless he wears the bee and corrosive norfleet. His healing doesn’t compensate his damage to health ratio since his fireballs only does max 20k with burn damage of around 10k (I’m not sure with the math but this was what I remember), and his shield delay doesn’t amplify the use of wearing the bee shield. He’s basically a beefcake with all muscles but no meat. He kills himself with his melee attack, he screams while doing a melee and pauses in mid-air as he waves his axe only to be killed by a loader or be one shot by a laster beam, and his DPS is greatly reduced with loaders and constructors. Overall, he’s good in paper but in actuality, I’d rather play him in TVHM where he mattered. And I agree, he wouldn’t scale well in level 72. Only hardcore fans of him probably would. But to every average gamers like us who doesn’t have the time to spend 3 hours on a single level trying to get past him to the next one — I simply don’t have the energy for that.

  17. I’m rocking a 72 level Krieg and this dude is unstoppable!! Badass psycho buzzaxe, bloodsplosion, explosive expert extraordinaire, and TONS UPON TONS of damage!!! Krieg it’s hands down the best vault hunter and I should know… I’ve pvp verses the other classes and moped up. Great for solo & co-op. 15/10!!!

  18. I noticed that a lot of people seem to crap on Krieg despite his abilities to kick ass. I mean i enjoy to just tear it up with Krieg’s melee abilities. I do see the problem of him being a little vulnerable while a lower level, but I got over it after i saw my friend with him all maxed out. I versed a friend of mine and I was only level 50 and fought my friend a level 60 Axton who hacked and modded. He had every special weapon and every shield. Yet I tore through his shield within three hits and two hits into his health he is already 25% health from my bad-ass psycho perk. That was pretty insane but I had only gone through my mania skill tree so I want to see what it will be like with it all filled out after I reach level 72. So yea hes not all that bad.

    I used the gunserker before Krieg came out so he was OK i liked him but did not have good enoguh weapons so I i had a hard time but with Krieg rare loot popped up more. His abilities were fun for the time being but I had been looking for someone whos in your face and is great for melee. That was why I loved Brick who would punch everything lol.

    I tried Axton but I just could not stand being behind two turrents letting them fight while I am perfectly capable. He seem vulnerable because of his reliance on the turrents but I also can not say too badly about him because I am bad with him so yea.

    I did like the mecromancer because she could summon the robot a bad ass looking one at that but that was my only interest was the robot but I almost always needed it to fight so the mecromaner had her ups and downs.

    I have not tried the siren my friends loved too but I just wasn’t interested. She seemed cool but I rather be close range.

    The assassin seemed cool with his stealth and all and I played him a few times but he seemed kinda cool until I saw the skill trees and how well they did I did not quite like them with it being a short burst for melee and the rest mostly for sniping.

    Don’t get me wrong I mean with my Krieg I always have a shotgun, light machine gun, sniper, and a rocket launcher. I still use snipers even with him so I do icaisionally like to kill from a distance or if im limited too so its good to have. Oh and i also do not like most of the other characters because I am not that good with them myself. But yea you all had good points on both sides so there.

  19. I realize that I made several mistakes with my writing and repeated words a few times too many my apologies for that.

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