Welcome back to Pandora. Gearbox has been expecting you. The studio is not blind to the hype and expectation that has built up around Borderlands 2 - Randy Pitchford and friends have spent a lot of time ensuring that this is every bit the sequel that it should be, while maintaining everything that made the 2009 predecessor stand out from the crowd of FPS games.
So, what's new? For starters, Gearbox has added a number of gameplay features that can help you out in a pinch - the most direct one being a special perk that can be activated by hitting the trigger buttons. As a Level 25 Gunserker, my big perk was a rampage mode that allowed me to dual-wield weapons and unload tonnes of ammo clips into any enemies that walked into my paths.
When youre not pumping lead, your ammo is replenished over time too, allowing you to go on a proper killing frenzy when youre nearly down and out. Insta-Health vials will only go so far this time around.
What could potentially change the game - in a good way - is the introduction of Badass ranks. While characters still have a level cap of 50, Badass ranks dont have such a limit. When you level up in this manner, you earn a Badass token, which can be used to spend on increasing a number of base statistics. The genius here is that tokens spent to increase stats are applied to every single character you have on your profile. Add the mystery of golden chests, and the secret golden keys that require special actions to obtain, and you have a sequel that puts a lot of emphasis on the RPG side of things.
Gearbox have obviously put a lot of extra care and attention in Borderlands 2. On the surface, its business as usual - familiar graphical style, familiar locations, familiar storylines. But players get to be involved with the inhabitants of Pandora in a way thats not seen in the original game. The amount of improvements in Badass points and golden keys also shows that Borderlands 2 will be a much deeper and rewarding RPG experience to complement to intense FPS action.
With this Game of the Year Edition players get a wealth of additional content that wasn't on the disc when it was first released. There's a load of DLC packed in there - players will get all the season pass and Premiere Club content, with everything from in-game kit such as the Gearbox Gun Pack to new chunks of gameplay such as Captain Scarlett and her Pirate's Booty.