Bruisers are large, hulking and very muscular bandits. Regular bruisers are bare-chested, wearing surgical-style masks, goggles and have a mohawk hairdo. Badass Bruisers wear full-face masks crafted from metal. Bruisers in Borderlands 2 use the first game's Badass Bruiser appearance.
Bruisers number among the many former convicts brought to Pandora as cheap labour. Casting off their shackles along with the other bandits, they quickly joined in with the pillaging of Pandora's civilian population. Bruisers bear traits of both the regular bandits and the Psychos, being both sane enough to use guns effectively, yet also being physically enhanced like the larger psychos. Their size may be the result of exposure to the same source that mutated the psychos.
Bruisers are the slow, heavy weapon specialists of the bandits. They move at a walking speed with no regard for their own safety, preferring to rely solely on their own physical resilience rather than seek cover when under fire. This makes them relatively easy to fight in a tactical sense in that they can be avoided and have their line of sight blocked, but also present a protracted engagement due to their high health. They rarely carry shields, so Incendiary weapons are very effective against them.
Their armaments are usually SMGs and Combat Rifles. They will use these weapons as part of their primary attack strategy. If a Bruiser is approached within melee range he will switch to a secondary attack, lashing out with his enormous left fist.
It is often preferable to run in close and score critical hits with high powered close range attacks. Although attackers may sustain some damage, a bruiser can be eliminated quickly with this method. Scoring critical hits on them with accurate projectile weapons from long range can also be an effective tactic, with the bruiser's size and slow speed making it a relatively easy target.
If a Bruiser is encountered at close range, it can be effective to use melee attacks as they will have a slightly longer recovery animation than the player; a string of melee attacks will render them unable to retaliate. This is best used when there are no other enemies in the area.
As the game progresses medium to long range combat will be preferred over close range, due to the increased health and firepower they gain as well as approaching a bruiser exposes characters to other enemies.
Badass BruiserA Badass Bruiser is a very large, badass, armored Bruiser that rarely equips a shield mod. In the second Playthrough, they are replaced by BadMutha Brutes, which are in turn replaced by SuperBad Bullies after completing the second Playthrough. They can be easily recognised as a Badass due to their signature glowing eyes, larger goggles, and significantly larger size than normal Bruisers. Their weapons are more powerful than regular Bruisers and they can often be found firing Rocket Launchers.
- On Playthrough 2, Bruisers are called Brutes; on Playthrough 2.5, they are called Bullies.
- On Playthrough 2 (and 2.5) Bruisers tend to spawn a little more than regular Bandits making a small group of them extremely dangerous.
The number of bruisers in Borderlands 2 is relatively low, sharing the heavy assault role with Nomads. They spawn infrequently, and are mostly encountered in highly concentrated areas of bandits. The bruisers of Borderlands 2 usually wear helmets that bear a striking resemblance to the Badass bruisers of Borderlands.
In combat, these bruisers will occasionally raise their hands or fist in the air to rally other bandits, leaving them open to head shots. They will also charge when ordered by a Nomad Taskmaster, albeit at a very slow speed. Another change in behavior is that they will begin limping when they are critically hurt. Bruisers use mostly shotguns and assault rifles, and very rarely, if ever use rocket launchers.