Psychos are melee bandits who have gone insane with a freakish obsession for the Vault. Shirtless, wearing a white mask and dressed in orange pants, these outlaws can be immediately identified by their homicidal cries, psychotic laughter and constant desire to get into close combat.
At some point in Pandora's recent past, a discovery was made at the Headstone Mine and hastily covered up. While it has never been fully revealed what was found there, it is known that a Vault key fragment came into the possession of Sledge, a grossly muscled behemoth of a man who later amassed a small army of bandits at Headstone Mine. The discovery at the mine had a surprising effect on many of the convict workers there. Most went crazy and many were physically mutated as well, growing into huge, muscular parodies of humanity, or stunted to dwarf proportions. Many of the "psychos", as they came to be known, donned face masks portraying the object of their collective fixation; an upside down "V" emblem.
Psychos are typically found among the ranks of the bandits that plague Pandora. They are known to act as the close-range counterparts to their more lucid, gun-waving brethren and will rush their targets while screaming all manner of insane comments.
Psychos run very swiftly, vaulting over low obstacles to get into melee range with their intended victims. They often zigzag in their run to avoid weapons fire. Wielding a "buzz axe", they can hack through most shields in one swipe and inflict massive damage if they get close. They typically attack with a double swing pattern, pausing after the second attack.
When hurt, psychos can flinch, letting a player get a short distance away or counterattack in melee. While only armed with a close combat weapon, they are very capable of throwing axes over long distances, although this attack inflicts little damage. They mostly throw their axes when a player is in a unreachable spot or is a long distance away. Should they sustain significant injury, they are known to throw away their axes, pull out a grenade and rush their target in a frenzied suicide rush. This attack is incredibly strong and can easily elimate shields and most, if not all, of a player's health, leaving them highly vulnerable to other foes. Once the grenade is pulled out, killing them will not stop the grenade from going off. Interestingly, they can pull out the grenade even if the player is far away from them, destroying them even before they get close.
The melee attack employed by Psychos forces them to stop running, and can be avoided by moving backward when the animation starts. As a result it is not necessary to run away from Psychos; simply move backward a step or two when they start their attack. It is even possible to move forward and strike first with a melee attack then back away while they are stunned.
Some psychos have adopted a pyromaniac bent and have become known as "Burning Psychos". These psychos deal Incendiary damage, and are also immune to fire as well; fire-resistant shields are therefore recommended as a last resort when they close in. They are often encountered wearing shields. Burning Psychos are distinguishable by their bird-like outfit, including a skull mask with feathers, and the flames that they have leaping off them. Like other Psychos except the Badass version, they will throw their weapon at targets at range. Unlike normal Psychos or Midget Psychos, they do not make suicide grenade attacks. They make the same sound as normal pyschos.
Badass psychos are much larger than the normal varieties, have a disproportionately enlarged right arm and a severely stunted left arm. They never make the suicide grenade attacks that their smaller brethren do, however they are quite resilient and tough to kill.
A useful strategy when fighting Badass Psychos is to shoot them while backing away. This keeps characters from harm while they whittle down the Badass Psycho from a safe distance. The mutant will stop to execute a two-swing melee if they should catch up to the player, allowing a brief opportunity for characters to move out of reach. They are sometimes found without a shield and incendiary weapons can work wonders on them, even with their substantial health. Fast firing weapons can often accumulate enough damage at once to cause them to flinch, therefore a fast-firing incendiary weapon is an excellent choice against these close range behemoths.
Unlike their smaller counterparts, these psychos do not throw their weapon if the target is far away.
Occasionally, when the corpse of a Badass Psycho is returned to, the body will have taken on the physical proportions of a normal psycho but will retain the pale skin colour of its original self.
- Hanz - Partner of Franz and bodyguard to Baron Flynt.
- Roid Rage Psycho - A gross monstrosity of a man, commanding Sledge's bandits in Sledge's Safe House.
- On Playthrough 2, the name Psycho is changed to Maniac, whilst in Playthrough 2.5, they are called Lunatics.
- When shooting at psychos from positions that the psycho cannot reach, they will toss their buzz axes in a ranged attack that inflicts damage and causes knockback. The attack is very long range and incredibly accurate, posing a problem for anyone trying to take careful aim with a sniper.
- Occasionally, the knockback effect may pull a target forward, possibly pulling them from cover or down from their perch entirely.
- Psychos will leap over or mantle low walls to reach targets quicker.
- Ahh, another victim!
- Another walking meat puppet!
- Come closer, I can almost smell you.
- Another slave! To feed me.
- Blood! Blood! BLOOD!
- I wonder what your face, would look like on mine. (reference to Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
- I'll take pleasure in guttin' you... boy. (reference to the movie The Rock)
- I'm gonna eat you when I'm done!
- I'm gonna rip off your arm and beat your baby with it!
- I'm gonna skin ya, put on your face, and say Hi to your momma!
- I'm gonna squeeze you 'til you bleed blood
- It's time, ahahahaha, for another pound of flesh!
- It's time for my pound of flesh! Hahahahahaha! (reference to the play The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare)
- It's time to paint this body with blood!
- Just three more steps, and I got me dinner.
- Keep walkin', keeeep walkin'.
- Look boys! Its some fresh meat!
- MORE! More meat for me!
- No, don't run away, I need your face! (Another reference of Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
- Strip the flesh, salt the wound! (maniacal laughter)
- Time to play! Time to play! (reference to the movie "Child's Play")
- Time to pound... some meat puppies! (actual word is "puppet" not "puppies")
- Why don't you come over here, I got a little present for you!
- Yeah that's right..Closer! Closer!
- Yes, Yes, YES! It's dinner time!
- You remind me of my mother... I ate my mother. (reference to movie The Dark Knight)
- The standard psycho face mask bears the Vault symbol seen in many places throughout the game.
- A psycho is featured on the cover of Borderlands.
- Roland is shown holding a psycho mask on his "Wanted" poster.
- When a Psycho says "Time to pound some meat puppets!", the subtitles will say "puppies" instead of puppets.