By GARY CHOOI
FANS who loved the shoot and loot extravaganza that was Borderlands won't have to wait long as the sequel is set to hit the Xbox 360, PlayStation3 and PC next month.
The campaign is set five years after the events of the first game and players are tasked to take down Handsome Jack, leader of the Hyperion Corporation, to stop him from awakening the mysterious Warrior.
The journey this time will be more colourful. Instead of the desert wasteland of Pandora, you will get to explore varied environments like freezing mountain tops and lush jungles.
We made a trip to Singapore to get our hands on Borderlands 2. We got to try out different characters in an arena called Robot Slaughter where we had to face waves of increasingly difficult enemies.
The Gunzerker plays like the Berserker character from the first game but his special ability now allows him to dual wield any guns when he is enraged.
His abilities go beyond just showering enemies with lead - the Gunzerker's high hit points allow him to act as the team's tank and absorb tons of damage.
The Siren should be familiar to Borderlands fans and her new ability - Phaselock - allows her to lift enemies off the ground so that her allies can make quick work of them.
Those who loved the Soldier character will instantly take a liking to the Commando. This new character class can also deploy heavy-duty turrets but he has a few new tricks up his sleeves.
He can upgrade the turrets with missile attachments, teleport them closer to enemies and do other cool stuff.
The Assassin, on the other hand, specialises in the art of deception. He can distract enemies with a holographic decoy of himself and try to stab them in the back to inflict massive damage.
The characters we got to play were mid-level and we managed to upgrade some of their abilities to the max, allowing us to see how awesome they really are.
The Gunzerker's ultimate ability lets him dual wield two weapons for an insanely long time while the Commando can unleash a nuclear explosion upon deploying a high-level turret.
Gearbox Software is also working on a fifth character, the Mechromancer, which will only be available after the launch of the game. We saw an early build of her and she is sure to be a favourite among pet class players. She can summon a robot to do the killing.
However, we were not shown much of her abilities as the character is still in development - even the textures were not completed.
We can only assume that her abilites will be focused on buffing up her robot companion into a walking death machine.
Dynamic and deadly
Some of the organic enemies you face in Borderlands 2 will be able to "evolve" as you fight them. Take too long to kill the bugs or skags and they'll change their form into something nastier.
The robots, on the other hand, will have different powers. Some will generate shields for protection while others will be able to fly and even transform for ground combat.
To deal with the baddies there will be an unfathomable number of weapons at the player's disposal such as assault rifles, shotguns, machine guns, rocket launchers and sniper rifles.
The developer took pride in pointing out that the hundreds of thousands of guns in the game will be procedurally generated so no two weapons will be alike.
Players will also be able to customise their characters with new skins and gears. Unlike the first game which restricted players to outfitting their characters with different coloured armour, Borderlands 2 will allow players to go crazy with more customisation options.
For the fans
Gamers who pre-order the game will gain access to the game's Premiere Club which will allow them to download a Golden key.
This key will unlock rare in-game items such as a special Vault Hunter's relic item, the Gearbox Gun Pack with a unique collection of guns, and the Mechromancer class after the game's launch.
Diehard fans will not want to miss the Ultimate Loot Chest Limited Edition which will include the Borderlands 2 game, replica loot chest, Marcus Kincaid bobblehead, four lithograph postcards, field notes from Sir Hammerlock, cloth map of Pandora, four exclusive stickers and more.
Borderlands 2 will be released on Sept 21.