Borderlands 2 (PS3/Xbox 360/PC)

Developer: Gearbox Software

Publisher: 2K Games

Release date: Sept. 18

Price: $59.99

Score: 8/10

Borderlands is back for another go, and if the first game was an unexpected hit, the second one at least has the hype train going at full speed. There's not a gamer out there who's unaware of its impending arrival, and it's definitely one of the most anticipated games of the fall—and that's saying something, considering games like Black Ops 2 and Halo 4 are on their way as well.

Can it possibly deliver on all that hype? For one thing, it's clear that Gearbox understood the first game's shortcomings (repetitive missions and a lame plot). Characters and their stories are at the forefront of Borderland 2, and more voiced dialogue makes each quest feel more distinct. You'll still be running in circles a lot, but at least you'll do it with a purpose this time. And the ending, though not spectacular, at least isn't the let down that the last one's was.

What these improvements amount to ultimately is a greater degree of polish, while the core game remains ultimately the same. Borderlands 2 is an iteration on, not an evolution of, the Borderlands formula. Stock up on side quests, assail countless screaming, spitting foes, and comb through mountains of loot until you finally find something worth opening the menu for. Rinse, repeat, enjoy yourself.

But is that enough?

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