Content Type: Gaming Guides
The Freaks are the first gang encountered in the game, and their unique goons reflect that. All of the Freaks, from brawlers to minibosses, have simple mechanics and can be defeated just via simple use of game mechanics (even after becoming Veterans and Champions later in the game). That said, that does not prevent them from being dangerous threats: not only are they more frequently found in large numbers, but they also require focus on many different things at once.
Members of the Freaks drop Polymer, Industrial Solvent, Accelerant, and Programmable Nanocapsules. They tend to be found in North Gotham, at the top of the map.
Firestarters are special Freaks goons but are not any more powerful than regular Brawlers and Shooters as far as damage or health goes (in fact, they replace Shooters on the Freaks’ roster). Instead, they exist to occupy a sort of loose area-denial niche. Their main attacks, fire bottles, will show as red crosshairs on the ground at your feet as they target you. This will track you, but once a bottle is thrown, the crosshair will become a circle and remain in place. A little over a second later, the bottle will land, damaging anyone in that circle. So long as you dodge out of the way once the crosshair becomes a circle, you should be safe.
Similar to Brawlers and Shooters, then, these enemies serve mainly as distractions and interruptions. While it is easy to dodge their bottles alone, you can easily be hit by them if you are swarmed by tougher enemies, or they might force you to dodge away from a target you are trying to focus on. As such, the same advice applies to them as applies to Brawlers and Shooters: you should take care of them first, so they don’t interrupt your fights with stronger enemies.
Despite being the first miniboss you will fight, Bulldozers remain a threat no matter when they are faced. Though their mechanics are simple, requiring you to merely dodge and guard break in order to damage them, their huge health pool makes them a bit of a chore to get through. As well, their charge attack is notoriously difficult to dodge and deals a surprising amount of damage for a first miniboss. Even at high-levels, these early-game baddies are not to be scoffed at.
When fighting Bulldozers, the main thing you should be aware of is whether you are at risk of being attacked. If a Bulldozer is far away, he might charge – and you really need to be ready for them to charge so that you can dodge. If they are near you, you have to be careful not to try to hit them with light attacks, or else they will counter with high-damage shield swings, which can prove difficult to dodge if you are in the middle of an attack. So, what can you do?
If you are actively engaging with a Bulldozer, you should be making absolutely sure that you are consistently breaking his guard. Whenever you see the shield symbol that indicates he is blocking, you will need to break his guard again: wait for an attack, dodge, and then come in with a heavy counter-attack in order to stagger him. Get a few hits in, and then expect his shield to come back up. Rinse and repeat until dead. You can also make use of Momentum Abilities, especially Guard Break and Area-of-Effect Abilities, to deal damage to him immediately.
If, on the other hand, you are trying to deal with other enemies while a Bulldozer is still around (such as a swarm of Brawlers or Firestarters), then your main concern should be making sure you are ready to dodge out of the way of his deadly charge. So long as you are not mashing the attack button, you should have plenty of warning when a charge is coming. Just be sure to time it correctly, and then you can use your counter-attack to either begin chipping away at his health, or to return to beating your way through the weaker targets.
Juicers are interesting. While they are unique units, they are not much tougher than regular enemies, and can be taken out relatively quickly. They have long attack combos, ending with a large, telegraphed thrust of their knife (somewhat similar to the Mob Godmother), but can be punished very harshly for them. Their ability to buff and heal allies (and, even, to resurrect them) is usually wasted on Brawlers or Firestarters who take only a moment to dispatch even after, and even when they provide healing for Bulldozers it only does so much.
With all this in mind, Juicers are actually pretty easy to deal with. It is best to take them out after the regular Brawlers and Firestarters since those enemies can still serve as distractions. But, you should also target them before taking out Bulldozers, who can benefit more from their healing. While you are fighting Juicers, beware of their knife attacks: while their combos aren’t particularly hard to dodge, they do require more focus than regular Brawlers, and can do some decent damage if they manage to connect. So long as you keep up the heat, though, you should be able to keep them stunned until they are taken out.