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