Developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games, Borderlands 2 is the highly anticipated first person shooter/role playing game hybrid sequel to 2009’s surprise smash hit Borderlands. Taking its cues from a bevy of solid shooters and the legendary Diablo series, Borderlands 2 brings back the addictive action and nearly subversive humor which made the first game in the franchise so wildly popular. With a bigger budget this time and a passionate team of individuals behind it, this game has all the components necessary to become a huge success and extend the franchise.

Once again taking place on the alien planet Pandora, Borderlands 2 allows gamers to choose from four new Vault Hunter classes with incredible abilities who are tasked with stopping Handsome Jack of the Hyperion Corporation from ruling the world. Salvador the Gunzerker can duel wield any weapons for massive damage, Maya the Siren uses her Phaselock ability for enemy crowd control and elemental damage, Axton the Commando can deploy his Sabre Turret to turn the tide of firepower in a battle, and Zer0 the Assassin can project a hologram of himself with Decepti0n to escape sticky situations and spot enemy critical hit points. All of these abilities and a bazillion different guns will be needed to stop Handsome Jack and his never-ending robot army, who has taken credit for the actions of the Vault Hunters from the first Borderlands game.

Many of the upgraded features found in Borderlands 2 are a direct result of fan input after the release of the first game, creating a more satisfying and immerse experience. A mini-map has (finally) been added to the HUD, and all of the player menus have been streamlined to make it easier to sort and compare all of your loot. Speaking of loot, any items you find this time around can be transferred between characters on your profile, so there’s a better chance of getting the most powerful item combinations available no matter who you decide to play as. Also of note is the massively improved campaign narrative, as well as the infinite Badass Point system that adds stat increases across all characters on a player’s profile.

If you’re still on the fence about picking up Borderlands 2, know that there is an incredibly fun and action-filled time to be had for years to come. The game is best enjoyed with up to three other friends in a co-op session no matter what system you decide to play on, as both the enemy and loot quality ramp up. Borderlands 2 is one of those rare games with near infinite replay value, and there are still more character classes and content on the way with four planned downloadable content packs. Grab some friends and be sure to get some sleep in beforehand – once you pick up Borderlands 2 you’ll have many long nights ahead.

Borderlands 2 is out now for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

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