When I played the original Borderlands back in early 2010, I ended up being more impressed by the game's potential than the final product. Combining fast-paced first person shooting with RPG statistics and gotta-keep-playing loot mechanics seems so brilliant and obvious now that it's almost hard to believe that it had never been done before 2009. For the first several hours of Borderlands, I was a believer: it was a game with a brilliant concept executed with extreme competence. Unfortunately, I eventually grew bored of it. Borderlands' biggest problem in my mind is repetition: dungeons and enemy encampments all blended together very quickly in the original game, weapons all looked like pallet swaps, and dumb AI made encounters themselves just as dull. The game seemed to be on the cusp of greatness, but just missed the mark. Obviously, my opinions about the game are far from universally held as Borderlands is a well-loved game and fairly lauded to boot. This made everyone very excited about the sequel, but I was hesitant. I actually found myself in a bit of a tricky situation: reviews and comments about Borderlands 2 have been extremely positive with the general caveat that it was a refined and polished version of its predecessor, but not much more. “If you like Borderlands, you'll like Borderlands 2, and vice versa,” or so I heard. The problem is that polish and refinement are really all that held me back from really liking the first game, so I went back and forth for a while on whether it would be a good game for me to get. Obviously, I bit the bullet, and my first tentative steps back into Pandora have thankfully been positive ones. Combat mechanics feel largely the same, but with a polish that the previous game lacked: in particular, I find enemies to be a bit more intelligent than the idiots previously featured. Where they would previously run straight at you, they now bob and weave to dodge your shots and react to gunfire, making the task of hitting them much more difficult and engaging. What's more, the areas are more interestingly laid out, allowing for flanking maneuvers and more verticality than before, especially when you have a buddy to draw some fire. Much the same treatment has been given to the loot, which has much more visual variety than before (I haven't seen a single visual repeat yet) and often has varied enough stats that you actually have to consider the merits of each gun before upgrading (in the original, you would often find guns that would just seem like upgraded versions of your current weapon, better in nearly every way). It will take some time to figure out if these improvements are enough to make me stick with the game, but as they basically cover every peeve I had with the original, I wouldn't be surprised if it is.