Five years after the events of the first Borderlands, a dude named Handsome Jack now rules the planet of Pandora. He even took credit for your heroic deeds in the original game. You and your cohorts, instructed by the Guardian Angel satellite, must rescue the original team (all of whom return as NPCs) from Jack's clutches and kill him.
Although a lot in Borderlands 2 is similar to the first game - the distinctive design style, the point tree upgrade system, character classes, and the ability to play with up to four players at once, locally or online, this sequel offers tons of new material as well, including brand new classes, a more customizable weapons system, expanded vehicle usability, and additional side quests.
The biggest difference I noticed right away was the landscape. Hyperion City is very much a metropolis, littered with architecture, foliage, and statues of Handsome Jack. The whole game reflects his industrial development. So rather than being surrounded by desert 24/7 like in the first game, there are a variety of environments.
The enemies are just as diverse as the environments. They're also more interesting to fight thanks to improved A.I.. They band together and even heal each other. They'll also find ways to reach you no matter how far you go or how difficult the terrain.
The demo we played was one of the side quests available in the game, where the goal is to destroy the Handsome Jack statuary around the city. We quickly learn they are bullet proof, so we go activate a giant robot to take the statues down while we protect it with our weapons and special class-based powers. I played as the Lilith-like Siren, Maya. Having only watched the first game at length, the controls were very foreign to me at first. But after myself and my co-op buddy failed the first time around during statue take-down number one, I cracked the code and got the combat down to a science. Had we had a little bit more time, we would have so accomplished that mission, damnit. Maybe.
Although I'm not yet convinced I would want to dedicate much time and money to this game, I'm at least considering it after such engaging gameplay. Borderlands 2 hits shelves September 18th for Xbox, PS3 and PC.