The third and final (for now) Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel character deep dive brings us to our friendly, neighborhood lawbringer. Nisha brings some variety to the stable, with a melee whip and some nifty two-gun action.
Nisha’s special ability, Showdown, lets her hone in on enemies. When activated, you’ll automatically aim at enemies and gain bonuses in gun damage (except for sniper rifles and rocket launchers), fire rate, reload speed, accuracy, and bullet speed. You can quickly cycle to the next enemy by holding the left trigger or L2 and flicking the right stick.
Nisha isn’t really a team player. She doesn’t offer up any skills that benefit her teammates. Instead, she has three different flavors of hot lead.
Skill Tree: Fan the Hammer
- Saddle Up – Killing enemies increases movement speed and gun damage
- Ruthless – Kills during Showdown extend its duration
- Magnificent Six – The last six bullets in non-elemental weapon clips deal extra damage
- Short Fused – Killing an enemy adds explosive damage to your shots for a short time.
- Faster ’n You – Killing increases reload speed, weapon swap speed and fire rate
- Pickpocket – Melee attacks steal up to six bullets from enemy and instantly load them in your magazine. No cooldown, doesn’t work with rocket launcher.
- Hell’s Comin’ With Me – After reloading or topping off your gun with Pickpocket, your weapon has a chance to fire twice.
- One for Each of Ya – Nisha’s Fan the Hammer capstone skill puts a duplicate pistol in her off-hand. Have a sweet handgun? Now you’ve got two.
Play Style: Aggressive gunslinging
Fan the Hammer is one of the most synergistic trees in the Borderlands series. Lots of kill skills that boost Nisha’s core abilities make her deadly with a pistol (or pistols once you get to One for Each of Ya).
Once she gets on a roll, she’ll be faster and deal more damage until there’s nothing left. If you’re playing solo, or just want to be the team damage dealer, Fan the Hammer is a good bet.
Skill Tree: Law and Order
- Law – Increased shield capacity and melee damage
- Order – Each time you take 15 percent of your maximum health in damage, you gain a stack of Order. Based on the number of Order stacks, you have a chance to instantly heal double the damage taken. These deplete quickly out of battle.
- Rough Rider – A slam augment that increases damage by 25 percent. Each enemy damaged awards five stacks of Order.
- Wanted – When an enemy would cause you to gain an Order stack, it gains a Wanted stack. Dealing damage to that enemy consumes the Wanted stacks and deals bonus damage based on the number of Wanted stacks and your level.
- Discipline – Once you reach 10 Order stacks, your shields are restored to full. While at 10 or more Order stacks, you gain increased melee damage, gun damage, and reduced shield recharge delay for each Order stack.
- Blood of the Guilty – Killing an enemy gives you an Order stack and restores five percent of your health.
- Rarin’ to Go – Killing an enemy gives increased reload speed and gun damage based on Order stacks.
- Thunder Crackdown – Law and Order’s capstone is a melee override that creates cone-shaped shock burst that deals increased damage (25 percent) for each Order stack.
Play Style: Up close, methodical killer.
Unlike Fan the Hammer, which is focused on gun damage, Law and Order mixes in some melee skills. As you can tell from the list above, this talent group is all about building up stacks of Order. As you level up, you’ll have more ways to do that.
This tree requires players to know how to keep those Order stacks flowing, which means mixing slams into your repertoire and keeping your kill count up. If you don’t want to obsess over the Order stacks, look elsewhere. For those who don’t mind the micromanaging, there is a lot of power in Order.
Skill Tree: The Riflewoman
- Snap Shot – Firing from the hip grants increased accuracy and recoil reduction.
- Bona Fide Grit – Killing grants bonus critical hit damage and health regeneration for a short time
- Unchained – Shooting an enemy grants a stack of Unchained, which increases fire rate. A stack can be gained once per second and all are lost if you don’t shoot an enemy for 10 seconds.
- Quick Shot – Reloading grants increased gun damage and fire rate from the hip.
- Crack Shot – First shot from a fully loaded magazine causes bonus damage. If an enemy is killed with this shot, it explodes causing area of effect damage.
- Impatience – Killing an enemy grants a stack of Impatience, which increases reload speed by 20 percent for each stack. All are lost after reloading.
- Hot Lead – Critical hits with non-elemental guns deal incendiary damage and have a high chance of igniting enemies.
- Tombstone – Killing an enemy boosts Critical Hit chance for a short time.
- The Unforgiven – During Showdown, shots that connect with enemies ricochet toward other enemies. When Showdown ends, all enemies hit suffer an explosion.
The Riflewoman is largely about shooting from the hip, emptying a magazine quickly, and reloading frequently. With skills that boost critical hits (making Hot Lead even more useful once you get to it), this version of Nisha is more about calculated reloads to keep Unchained stacks building, which keep you firing faster and faster.
On a team, Nisha’s biggest benefit is that she wants the non-elemental loot. While your friends will fight over sweet new elemental gear, you’ll be content to deal high damage without shocking, sliming, igniting, or freezing your foes.
Nisha plays differently than a lot of the other characters, which might appeal to those looking for a very different Borderlands experience. Within the fast, heavy damage archetype are three skill tress that are vastly different spins on the concept. Whether you’re looking for dual wielding, fast and precise firing, or something a bit more up close and personal, Nisha’s got it.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is out on October 14 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Be sure to check out our Athena and Wilhelm deep dives for more. You can also check out our preview from E3.