So I've been playing as the Fencer this time around. I initially started on Normal but then switched over to Hard since the additional Armor and Weapons I got from the Ranger run made Normal a bit boring. It's certainly not boring now
starting to notice the nerfed range of the latter Blasthole Spear models, and find myself using the Spine Driver in many non-cave missions. Sure, this weapon doesn't pierce, but it has more range than either attack of the 2-hit Blasthole combo, and it deals more damage than the first hit of that combo. It also doesn't have any windup or recovery animation, so you can use it in conjunction with say a shotgun. Plus an instashot weapon is always nice to pop the occasional red ant that gets too close.
Speaking of them red ants are easily the most harmless critters so far. Sure, they're the spongiest of (non-kaiju) insects, but they can't really do
much. Their attack has short range, comes with plenty of telegraphing, and is really more annoying than anything else since it doesn't really do a lot of damage.
ants, on the other hand? Fuck, they can really dish out the hurt if they manage to hit with a point-blank acid attack. Their speed can also be somewhat unsettling in underground missions. I recently had one in an overrun EDF base where I was kiting like a mofo, and yet there was always
an ant that managed to not only keep up with me, but actually overtake me.
spiders and their flying counterparts the hornets. Spiders have always been a real nightmare, but I've completely forgotten that hornets might actually be worse
Sure, they're nothing special if there's just a few
of them, but once they reach critical mass they will eat through your armor like nothing. Kiting is also tricky since any
moment you come to a stop for even a fraction
of a second will have you eat dozens
of stingers or webs.
Worst of all the Cannon Shot aka fuckhuge shotgun weapons are few and far between in levels, so my current one just no longer has enough oomph to delete enough hornets from the sky. I keep having to trade my melee weapon for an Arm Hound (fastest missile launcher of the Fencer, and the only missile weapon that gives you a dash) to thin their numbers fast enough.
These two insects wil also give you new appreciation for NPC buddies. They draw a lot
more aggro than you do, so you better collect them like it's Pokemon.
The pillbugs are fucking lulzy, certainly one of the more humorous ways to die. They can thankfully be glitched out somewhat easily in cities since they can't actually destroy any buildings. Better hope there's somewhere for you to hide
Or just get a shield and hide in a corner. They can't knock you down if you have your shield up.
Drones of either type aren't much to write home about. It sucks a bit that the Fencer generally doesn't have great missile options (though the Arm Hound gets very good very fast if you can find upgrades), but so far I have always managed to one-shot all but the red types with as single hit of the Hand Cannon.
Curiously enough the large aliens are the most harmless enemies for the Fencer. Any given short-ranged weapon will tear through them like nothing, and they're nice big targets for a pair of Hand Cannons (easily the best ranged Fencer weapon IMO. Nothing deletes shit from the map quite as fast).
Except for the snipers. Holy shit do they have high DPS.
EDIT: Oh, I forgot sperging about tadpoles and Deroys.
Deroys aren't too bad once you fucked up their legs enough (missile launchers help, as to shotguns). Then you just have to keep moving to avoid their artillery fire. Any Deroys with missile pods are top priority because those missiles are annoying af. Aside from those missiles I'd say they're easier than in the previous game because their head is wider and therefore easier to hit.
Tadpoles are somewhat more annoying than red ants, but certainly the least dangerous flying critter. Just keep moving because they love to carpet bomb the same spot at once.