CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Billed by many as "Diablo" meets "Halo," "Borderlands" charmed critics with its unique blend of the hack-n-slash and first-person shooter genres when it launched back in 2009. Still, a few minor issues kept it from achieving what it aspired to. Thankfully, "Borderlands 2" avoids this.
Five years have passed since the original game, and the now open Vault has produced a mineral known as Eridium. The Hyperion Corporation has amassed a huge supply of the new resource, and its leader, Handsome Jack, is now ruling the planet of Pandora with an iron fist. But soon rumors begin to spread that an even larger Vault is hidden somewhere on Pandora, and four new Vault Hunters set out to find it.
While the story is entertaining, if not somewhat cliché, the main appeal of "Borderlands 2" is its game play. Every item you find in the game is randomly generated, meaning you can find a pistol that does corrosive damage and has the scope of a sniper rifle, a shield that absorbs enemy bullets and adds them to your own supply or a grenade modification that causes a black hole implosion that sucks in enemies before exploding. This leads to a ton of fun, as you're constantly surprised throughout the time you spend on Pandora.
The new character classes are great, too. There's the Gunzerker, who can dual-wield any two weapons (Want to wield a sniper rifle and a rocket launcher? Go for it!); the Commando, who can place a turret; and the Assassin, who can create a holographic decoy of himself and turn invisible. The returning character class is the Siren, although this time her ability is to "phaselock," which suspends enemies in the air.
Like the first game, each character class has three branching skill trees that determine your perks. For example, the Commando has three options for his turret: adding a second gun, being able to deploy a nuclear blast or gaining a second turret. These skill trees determine how you want your character to play and encourage two other playthroughs within the character class.
This can lead to you playing the game a total of 12 times. On Oct. 16, a new character class will be released digitally for $10, increasing your total amount of playthroughs to 15.
With its gorgeous cel-shaded graphics, hilarious dialogue, lovable characters and randomized loot, "Borderlands 2" is a memorable experience. With 30-60 hours of content, two player split screen co-op, four player online co-op and four packs of downloadable content on the way, "Borderlands 2" is a game with great bang for your buck."Borderlands 2" is rated M (17 ) for blood and gore, intense violence, language, sexual themes and use of alcohol. It's available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC for $59.99. (Sorry Mac owners!)