The original Borderlands was a great game, it featured tight gunplay, fun characters, a unique graphical style and tons of guns. It was a real breath of fresh air in the stagnant market that is the modern first person shooter. I'm happy to be able to say that Borderlands 2 takes all of the first game's great aspects and improves them whilst not differing so much that the game seems unfamiliar.
The game has you choose from one of four classes, an Assassin, a Commando, a Siren or a Gunzerker. I chose the Gunzerker because well, if you can't kill them with one gun why not just kill them with two? You first see your character travelling on a train to work for Handsome Jack, the game's primary antagonist, when he double crosses you in his attempt to wipe out his vault hunting competition. It's a simple premise that sets up a simple story and all of the familiar story elements, such as vaults and strange AI women, are back from the first game. Although the story never drives the game it is better than it was in the first game and doesn't simply seem like an afterthought from the developers.
After surviving the opening scene you are rescued by Claptrap who plays a far bigger role in this game and is funnier than ever. You then set to work doing various quests for him meeting a cast of colourful characters like Captain Flynt and Sir Hammerlock. All of the characters that I have met have been both funny and memorable and there is definitely a large emphasis on humour in the script for this game and, fortunately, it pays off. Characters are interesting and funny and this over top way of script writing fits with the over the top nature of the gameplay.
The gun controls are just as good, if not better, than they were first time around and there is a skill tree to improve your character and his/her use of weapons, and there are a LOT of weapons. Though they often only differ slightly the near constant promise of finding a better gun than the one you own really drives you forward, forcing you to do side quests and explore the vast environments you find yourself. Though this may seem somewhat grindy it rarely becomes tedious because the guns are just so good and if you choose the Gunzerker then you have the added bonus of being able to use two of them. The only problem with the loot is that during the four player co-op it is all shared, I rarely play the co-op though so this is only a minor gripe for me but I appreciate it could a major annoyance for others.
The environments in the game are vast and varied and seem more interesting than they were in the first game. This is helped in part by the game's unique graphical style (at least unique for shooters). The graphics are a more enhanced version of the first game's meaning that they are very cartoony but that the animations show lots of blood, pain and dismemberment. I know some people (Alan included) are put off by this graphical style but I absolutely love it and think that the game looks truly gorgeous.
The sound is also impeccably done with voice acting being suitably over the top and very well done, the soundtrack for the game isn't mind blowing but it fits the action well and does its job. I don't really think that Borderlands is the sort of game people play to enjoy a good soundtrack soundtrack anyway is it?
Borderlands 2 truly is a tour de force in modern game design. It's a shooter that starts with a bang and doesn't let up but strays away from the aspects of other modern first person shooters that makes them so dull. If you like shooters or loot driven RPGs then buy this game, if you like guns then buy this game, if you like none of the above then why are you even reading this?