Blades, speed, long range, short range and a holographic decoy… If you’re in to the art of assassination and using wits rather than firepower on the battlefield, Zero the assassin is the character you’ll want to be playing as in your Pandoran adventures. This was my personal first pick but with three other very enjoyable classes to choose from, let’s make sure you’re satisfied with your initial choice, shall we?
Note: This isn't really a guide. It's more of an overview just to help you choose your character. After all, the game never tells you what a character is capable of in the character selection. If you haven't checked out our review for Borderlands 2, don't forget to check it out here first.
Two is better than one
Every class has a unique ability they can activate every now and then that is unique to the specific class.
For Zero, that’s Decepti0n. This move summons a holographic clone of himself that he can use to trick enemies for about five seconds. On top of the clone, when the skill is activated, you enter stealth mode and enemies ignore you for the allotted time. The longer you stealth, the stronger your next single attack will be. It’s kind of rigged because I waited to the last millisecond to come out of the shadows and I ended up killing a mini boss in one blow to the back.
This skill is a life saver. It helps you get out of tight situations and has aided me in kiting bosses. Also, every tree has some sort of augmentation that enhances this ability in a different way. Whichever you choose is up to you.
Every class has three skill trees, each rather different in concept. You don’t pick a skill tree and have to stick with it. For one, you can re-spec at any safe haven town and on top of that, you can distribute your points in any of the skill trees. So you can focus on the one that gives you the most gun damage for instance, or distribute them evenly between the one that’ll give you more speed and the one that’ll give you more armor.
Zero’s three specialization choices are Sniping, Cunning, and Bloodshed.
The Sniping tree is exactly as it seems. This skill tree focuses on increasing the accuracy of all weapons as well as provide enhancements when using a sniper rifle. I actually enjoy sniping in this game since it’s non-competitive. Headshots also guarantee a critical hit so ends up being like a mini game of popping heads. That becomes even more apparent at max level where every kill you get with a sniper rifle adds up to 999 stacks which permanently enhances your stats but slowly decays the bonuses over time.
Cunning focuses on deceiving your opponents with speed. This class is also the most “true-to-core” specialization in that it gives you a bit of everything, but focuses more on Borderlands’ gunplay. On top of being all-round, Cunning focuses on improving Decepti0n. It gets to a point where you can make the decoy explode and throw kunai like a true ninja!
Bloodshed seems like a really fun specialization. This one augments your melee attacks and enhances your health so you can get down and dirty in the front lines and slice your enemies to bits with your melee attacks. Though I said Zero is the class of wits this one is the more barbaric, charge-in-there and kill or be killed gameplay some people seek.
My most favorite aspect of this skill tree is once you reach max level, you can chain decoys together and keep it going as long as you get kills. On top of that, most of the skills in this tree involve some sort of "increases melee damage by X% every time you kill an enemy" or something. Pretty wicked and this is the class to choose for those who enjoy extremely fast-paced gameplay... or those who can't shoot, that works too.
Using the Assassin
In the grand scheme of things, think of Zero as a primary DPS. He doesn’t hold a specialization for tanking like the Gunzerker or Commando, but he’s fast and can dish out a lot of damage at incredibly long ranges or very short distances. For you to play him efficiently, I don’t really advise mixing your skill points up too much. I guess you can go hybrid, but I recommend choosing to Snipe or Bloodshed. If you want a mix of things, just opt for full Cunning so you enhance core mechanics of general gameplay like reduced recoil and reloading times and add stray points around it.
All in all, if you can’t stand being a slow player on the battlefield and enjoy doings tons of damage over time with the occasional mega burst, pick Zero. I don’t think any of the classes are truly hard to play, but Zero is definitely a bit harder than the other damage classes simply because he doesn’t have a whole lot of survivability, and depending on your spec, you’ll want to be up in the enemies faces to do some hardcore damage. The thing that makes him easy is the ability to immediately stop being shot at when you use your decoy to try and flee.