The action skills are too closely tied to a character to only liek them on their own, at least that is what it is like to me. Also I can’t really judge by any artistic or ‘mental’ standards, but rather by looking at a skills effect. But here goes:
I really like maya’s phaselock. Its not just because how you pick out an enemy and he can not do anything against you as he will be encapsulated in your bubble for the next few seconds and the feeling of power you get from that, but also because the animation feels … credible. Just like Bulletstorm’s electric whip this movement of her arm makes the skill feel more powerful. Add to that the amazing slag capabilities and the unparalleled crowd control awesomeness of converge and you’ve got yourself one fine action skill.
Salvador isn’t really useful for his action skill but for his other skills. Also, if there were no pimpahab or DPUH so you would have to actually aim, he’d suck.
Axton has his moments when you stand right in between your two fully upgraded turrents - a feeling of power only rivalled by krieg, who doesn’t need any tools (besides his axe) to wreak havoc on the entire planet.
Gaige didn’t do it for me. I am not the robot kind of person and the visual and gameplay glitches of deathtrap along with her distinct weakness in every regard as long as you don’t have 200+ stacks of anarchy made me dispose of her as soon as I finally got her to OP8, a goal I set myself for every character.
Zer0, just as krieg, becomes attractive because of his melee capabilites, at least to me. There is nothing better than to swiftly sprint from one enemy to another and leave only dead bodies behind. That is the whole idea behind melee - going up to someone to fight them, making it close and personal. The added benefit of not getting hit and enemies being confused is just the topping. Sniping isn’t for me and it doesn’t emphasize on his action skill all that much, kunai and that’s it.
In the presequel, I like the characters for their character and don’t have a specific preference for action skills. I do however dislike athena’s shield. I still get killed a lot and the enemies shoot me only when my shield is down so I by no chance have accumulated enough damage on the aspis to kill something with the throw. I also see flaws in captain america’s choice of weaponry, so it’s not exclusive to her. Also her melee is worse than zero’s, especially because her action skill doesn’t revolve around it as much.
Nisha’s action skill is more of a real ‘skill’ than the other characters’ abilities (digistruct technology, shield, drones etc) and the color change is nice at first but can turn bad and visually obstructing pretty fast. Wilhelm’s drones are superb, healz, aggro draw and even a function to let wolf attack a certain enemy - a pet class in perfection. Jack again is appealing mainly due to his character and other skills, namely leadership, although (in my experience) his jacks get things done much quicker than wolf does. Aurelia’s skill is nice but that is mainly due to cryo being as awesome as it is. Not much love for any of the action skills in tps for me.
You might be wondering why I left out claptrap. That is due to my decision to treat him the way the game describes him - a mistake. I seriously loathe half his action packages and his other ones like pirate ship mode or gun wizard sadly can’t make up for that.
tl;dr - I don’t specifically like TPS’s action skills and I like deception with melee, krieg as a whole, and phaselock.