Sequels. In every form of media, there are sequels. Generally, the more of them there are in a series, the worse it is. Even the first sequel can come with numerous problems that make the original still hold value. Borderlands 2 is not one of them.
Borderlands 2 builds on the addictive formula from the original. In fact, I can't think of any possible way where the original is better. It's bigger, it's prettier, it's funnier, it's more fun, it's thought out, and has even more superlatives than that! There was rarely a time when I thought there was too much of something, and when I did, I realized that I was just going around the same place many times for quests. You aren't running around a huge junkyard in the middle of the desert the entire time like you were in the original.
The writing is good, and I was chuckling at the small things everywhere. This is yet another game that doesn't take itself seriously. The story itself isn't bad or stellar, but it gets the job done. Since the end of the last game, Hyperion, an in-game manufacturer of stuff, has mostly taken over everything. The villain is their CEO or something. It's quite obvious what he's doing and what he wants, and that's pretty much what happens. The villain thinks he's the good guy, which is hilarious by itself, and calls you up every once in a while to make himself annoying.
The gameplay is more varied than the first. The character classes are rough analogs of the ones in the first game, but they are more extreme. You get to play new characters, and the ones from the old game are primary characters in this one. There are a greater variety of bandit enemies, instead of the psycho and brute guy combo. There are a few more kinds of creatures. You will even find yourself up against Hyperion's robot and infantry forces from time to time, just to keep things interesting.
The guns are more diverse. One of the leading headlines for this game is that it has X bajillions of guns. Far as I can tell, it's true. Each manufacturer has a different gimmick, only makes certain weapons, and has a distinct appearance. Maliwan weapons always have elemental effects, and have colored stripes. Jakobs weapons have a vintage look to them, and do more damage per shot than any other. Vladof weapons fire very fast. Bandit weapons have super huge magazine sizes, along with misspelled names, and look red. Torgue makes everything explode, and often have a checkerboard motif. Hyperion weapons get more accurate as you empty the clip faster. Dahl weapons fire in bursts when using the sights. Tediore weapons are cheap, but reload fast for reasons I won't share here.
Only in taking a screenshot for this post did I turn on Nvidia Surround. This is a feature that allows multiple monitors to act as a single display. In my case, my three monitors turn into a 5760x1200 single ultra wide view. I had to crop the screenshot you see in this article down quite a bit, because 48:10 is so ridiculously wide. I decided to turn down the shadow settings to get things running close to 60 FPS, and I think with a little more tweaking I could get it running even better. I remember trying this out for Blood Dragon, but I decided not to somehow.
Borderlands 2 also has some CUDA features. When turned on, the contents of barrels turn into a sort of goo puddle that has fluid dynamics, and there are cloth banners everywhere. I found this bling unnecessary.
I remember being on a podcast talking about this game. Borderlands 2 and the podcast were both new at the time. Some people on that episode still haven't finished this game. That was about two years ago. What a shame. I remember looking at the games I wanted to play and realized that they were all depressing, so I went with this instead. What a good choice.
Coming up, Telltale Games are doing "Tales from the Borderlands", an adventure series set in this universe. Just this week, 2K Australia is making a "Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel" that happens between Borderlands 1 and 2.
To anyone looking to start playing this series, you can skip the first one and go directly here. Unless you really want to know what happened, there is no real reason to play the first one. This one does build off the first, but in a way that makes knowledge of the first unnecessary. From the DLC I've played, that's great, too. So go get it!