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Plugged In

Critics: Borderlands 2 is among the year’s best

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(Credit: 2K Games)

Borderlands 2 is not a game for pacifists. But for those who like combining the loot discovery of Diablo with the guns blazing, shoot-first-never-ask-questions style of classics like Quake or Unreal, it's a match made in video game heaven.

The Gearbox Software game for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 hits stores today and has already charmed critics, who unanimously agree that it's a better game than its predecessor thanks to great writing and strong visual design. With a Metacritic score of 90 -- after 33 publications have chimed in -- it currently stands as one of the most critically-acclaimed games of the year.

Both The Guardian and G4 give the game perfect scores.

"Borderlands 2 is a better game than Borderlands in every imaginable way," writes G4's Adam Rosenberg. "Scoff at anyone who calls it a v1.5 update; this is really what a sequel should be."

Game Informer is nearly as fawning in its review, giving the game 98 out of 100.

"With its unmatched co-op gameplay, intense shootouts, addictive loot collecting, expansive skill customization, hilarious dialogue, and insane level of replayability, Borderlands 2 is one of the most rewarding gaming experiences of this console generation," says reviewer Dan Ryckert.

Despite that complex mix, the gameplay itself is fairly straightforward: shoot the bad guys and score as much loot as you can get your grubby hands on. What makes the game fun, though, is its refusal to take itself too seriously. Sassy robot Claptrap, for instance, is back with a running commentary that will have you laughing even as you face an increasingly difficult series of enemies. Players can also level up their characters by earning tokens that can be redeemed for in-game boosts, like faster reloading and recoil reduction.

If that sounds a lot like the first Borderlands, that's intentional. Gearbox simply tweaked a formula that worked well, and those tweaks are part of the reason EGM says the game is "not bordering on brilliance -- it's a full-blown masterpiece".

Also winning kudos is the game's stellar co-op mode, which is so good it prompted  Joystiq to call Borderlands 2 "easily one of the best co-op experiences out there, and one of the best games I've played all year."

The praise could be great news for publisher 2K Games, who watched the original Borderlands shoot its way to over 4 million copies sold. Analysts believe that the sequel could fare even better — and if the reviews are any indication, it's looking like another big bag of loot for Borderlands.

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