After weeks of waiting for the newest character class to be added to Borderlands 2, Gaige the Mechromancer has finally landed a week earlier then we expected and is now playable in the vast world of Pandora. But what exactly is she about and how does she fair against her fellow vault hunters who’ve joined together to stop Handsome Jack from potentially destroying Pandora.
With an already wide variety of different play styles that Borderlands 2 vanilla characters offer, one would ask, what exactly does Gaige the Mechromancer have to offer to players who are further looking to expand their Borderlands 2 experience and what exactly does she bring to the table. For starters, Gaige the Mechromancer seems to easily fill in the void of what Mordercai and his pet Bloodwing brought from the very first Borderlands with the whole ‘sending-out-a-pet-to-to-aid-you-in-battle’ aspect. However, this time around, Gaige and her pet Death-Trap are simply more fulfilling and give you a much better sense of accomplishment. With each slain baddie, you feel much more ‘Bad-Ass’.
There are a lot of things you can do with your pet Death-Trap. For instance, if you go down the Little Big Trouble skill tree, it allows Death Trap to practically become an elemental tank for you which will wreck havoc on anything it comes across and melt any foe like a hot knife through butter, even during the True Vault Hunter Mode.
In addition to having a bad-ass bot as your disposal, Gaige herself seems to act like an older Tiny Tina which can be either good or bad, depending on what you thought about Tina. However, she more then makes up for it with some of her call-outs such as calling her co-op buddies “noobs” as she’s reviving them and yelling out the famous phrase from Unreal Tournament, “M-m-m-monster Kill.” She also has possibly the best customized heads at her disposal that range from making her looking like a zombie to a deranged bunny and a few characters from the Mass Effect series.
But that’s not all Gaige the Mechromancer is capable of. She’s perfect for fitting any type of play style and more thanks to her very unique and versatile skills that can be found through out each of her three skill trees. Speaking of her skill trees, let’s get a brief run-down of each below:
Best Friend Forever
This first skill tree for Gaige, which is primarily designed for first time or casual players of the Borderlands series, may seem to make the game easier for you and could be considered “easy mode” for a lot of people. But this skill tree contains a lot of hidden gems that even the most advanced players of Borderlands 2 would hesitate to pass up since they go great with skills from the other skill trees.
One of these hidden skill gems is definitely her Upshot Robot. This allows Death-Trap to stay out for a much longer period time, as long as you or Death-Trap are able to take a foe. Doing so will add another five seconds that Death-Trap is able to stay out and help you in the fray of battle and tank for you and your fellow vault hunters.
Another great skill is Gaige’s Close Enough skill, which when fully maxed out, allows any bullet you fired but missed your target to have a 50 percent chance to bounce back from any surface and into the nearest baddie. Even though this may seem like it’ll make the game a little bit too easy, Close Enough is plagued with a 50 percent bullet damage reduction for any bullet that misses it’s initial target and hits a different target. But, with a high Anarchy stack, it can offset the damage penalty of Close Enough and can allow for a very interesting combination that allows you to easily clear any room.
This brings us to the game changer of the Best Friend Forever skill tree, Sharing is caring. This skill allows you to give your buddy Death-Trap a copy of the current shield that you have equipped which can come up with very interesting results. For example, giving Death-Trap a copy of the ‘Impaler’ shield sends outs damaging spikes to any foe who’s shooting at you and Death-Trap, as well as attacking you with any type of melee attack. This literally let’s you dish out more damage than you’re receiving.
Overall, if you’re planning on maximizing the true potential of the Mechromancer class, you may want to invest in a couple of skill points for this tree to ensure you will survive a little longer, as well to make each and every bullet fired count.
Little Big Trouble
The second skill tree for the Mechromancer offers a lot of elemental damage boosts, as well as adds a ton of different elemental abilities and attacks for you and Death-Trap that are capable of dealing massive damage to any baddie. Even though Gaige gets to inflict tons of electrical, fire and even slag damage with some of the skills found in this tree, she still would be missing the most important elemental in the game, corrosive. This you will need if you plan on beating the game with more ease since corrosive damage is almost necessary to deal with those pesky Hyperion robots.
With the many skills that are in the Little Big Trouble skill tree that boost your elemental attacks and give you the ability to up your damage per second, there are a few that shine above the rest, the first one being Shock Storm. This skill practically turns any baddie killed by a critical hit into a light show of electricity and is capable of harming any of their friends near by. Due to its area of damage that Shock Storm is able to cover, it goes great paired with the Electrical Burn skill which deals fire damage to any baddie that’s been hit with an electric weapon.
This brings us to probably Gaige’s best crowd control skill, One Two Boom. This makes your buddy Death-Trap charge up for a couple of seconds to then release a slow moving electrical orb at your enemy. When it gets shot at by either you or one of your co-op buddies, it releases a huge blast that’s capable of covering a very large area, dealing a massive amount of damage to everyone in it. Additionally, when your character is fully maxed out with this skill, it’s capable of hitting upwards to 390,000 points of damage which pretty much instantly kills any non-badass or boss even in the True Vault Hunter Mode.
Then there’s Make It Sparkle which causes Death-Trap to turn into any elemental you want by simply shooting him with that element type. Doing so makes Death-Trap’s melee attacks deal additional elemental damage and makes him immune to any damage he may receive from that element.
If you’re looking for a tree to boost your damage over time and your overall damage per second with tons of elemental attacks and abilities, then this skill tree is best suited for you since this has the second highest elemental damage output next to Maya. If you play it smart, you shouldn’t have to worry about any non-boss foe being too tough for you. You and your Death-Trap now have the answers to face anything that the game might throw at you.
The third and final skill tree for Gaige, also possibly the most advanced one so far in the whole game, offers a lot of unique abilities that give her a ton of boosts that either trade power for accuracy or shields for health and that can be stacked however many times you please. It can literally be played anyway you want.
First up, and possibly the most important skill in this tree, is Anarchy. Using this skill allows Gaige to receive one stack of Anarchy which each one giving you a 1.75 percent damage boost for every stack you have which can be stacked up to 450 times with the Preshrunk Cyberpunk skill tree. Even though it may seem like a dream come true for people who love to deal massive amounts of damage, the loss of accuracy from the Anarchy stacks will greatly affect your character. After a while, you will have issues even hitting anything farther then 5 feet from you. However, there’s an easy work-around this. You can invest in the Close Enough skill from the Best Friend Forever skill tree or use any Law revolver. Also, if you’re having issues with hitting something at a further range, you can prematurely reload your gun to get rid of all of your Anarchy stack to get your accuracy back. If you wish to not completely lose all of them and want to build your Anarchy stacks back up, then Rational Anarchist will help you out with that. It can give you 25 stacks of Anarchy if you currently have none.
Up next is Blood Soaked Shields. Putting a point into this skill allows Gaige to recover 20% of her shield per kill, but at the lost of one percent of her health. It may seem like a huge trade off, but it isn’t too bad since you can add another point to her Discord skill which nets you health regeneration when you prematurely reload. It can offset any health loss you might experience with Blood Soaked Shields. This skill works very well when Gaige is equipped with the Bee shield which gives you a bonus of 50,000 damage per bullet as long your shields are full.
Then there’s With Claws which is Ordered Chaos’ game changer that allows Gaige to digistruct claws when she melees a foe. It also allows her more health regeneration, except this time, you gain the health equal to the damage you’ve dealt by using With Claws. This should ensure that you never have a need to step back and re-think your strategy and allows you be in the fray of battle for a lot longer.
Overall, Gaige offers multiple abilities and play-styles that can cater to any level of gaming from the casuals, all the way to the hardcore gamers and is probably the second most versatile character in the game if used right. One of the sweetest things about her skill tree, depending on which path you take, is that Death-Trap’s appearance changes, turning him into a more menacing pet. Looks range from additional armor pieces to adding multiple blades across his body that can easily strike fear to any baddie you may come across on the planet of Pandora.
If you’re on the fence about buying this newly released character, or even being bothered by the lengthy task of leveling up Gaige, she’s definitely worth it. She adds a breath of fresh of air to the already great cast of playable characters and adds her own spin to the whole pet class. If you’re one of the few players who tend to go on this lengthy adventure of stopping Handsome Jack alone, you will be pleased to know that Death-Trap makes everything easier for you due to him actively seeking and destroying baddies on his own. He also instantly draws aggro from everyone near him which he can easily brush off due to his huge HP. This allows you to selectively pick and choose which foe you wish to take out without any worries of being attacked.
But as great as she is, she does have some quirks to work out which are mostly due to the pretty annoying screaming that’s caused when you’re hit by an elemental attack. It can irritate you and can get pretty loud at times. There are also some issues of her Death-Trap having sound issues when one of the many creatures of Pandora die to his Robot Rampage ability. Sometimes, the sound doesn’t go away until he attacks another foe or when he dies/the time expires. In addition to all the sounds issue that can plague Gaige, if you’re playing Borderlands 2 on a console, having two or more Death-Traps on screen at one seem to make the game take a huge hit in frames per second which, in turn, lags everything in the game for you and everyone else. However, these are simply minor technical issues that could easily be patched in the future.
Overall, Gaige the Mechromancer gets a solid 4.5 out of 5 from me. If you have the cash or the time to spare for her, she’s definitely worth it.