A very, very, polished, slow, dull, repetitive game.
On the surface, Borderlands 2 is a very good-looking, witty, polished shooter that seems like it would deliver everything the first game had to deliver, and some more. However, beneath that charming exterior lies an extreeeeeemely slow and repetitive shooter that makes anyone with a working gag reflex to put the game down and play with Microsoft Excel instead.
I loved the first Borderlands, I would play and play before sleep (and then not go to sleep), I loved the gameplay; the RPG and the First Person Shooter combination was unlike anything I ever seen, I remember thinking that Borderlands was everything I wanted Fallout 3 to be. So, what went wrong with the sequel?
First of all, do you recall the tutorial section of the first Borderlands where Claptrap escorts you around the bandit camp? That section took around 15 minutes and the game threw you into an open world, giving you a few quests to start yourself off. In Borderlands 2, someone thought it would be a marvelous idea to expand that 15 minutes of tutorial into a span of 2 hours, 2 mundane hours of you going through the same, boring, ice environment, listening to that poor excuse of a "funny little robot" called Claptrap yelling in your ear through the whole thing. I don't know about you, but I didn't find any gameplay in Borderlands 2 before reaching Sanctuary fun in any way shape or form.
Gameplay remains the same as the first Borderlands: Shoot and loot, there are tons of different guns with different stats, you can swap them in and out at any time in your inventory, you can equip different shields and grenade mods too, for those who have played the first game, this will feel familiar to you. Speaking of shoot and loot, the shooting is the main course of the game, it begins to feel repetitive and boring killing the same type of enemy over and over and over, with the occasional "badass" enemy or miniboss thrown in to slow you down, looting remains the same; you go to anything that has a green light and mash the loot button to loot stuff, although, 99% of the time, you won't find anything that's better than what you currently have and you'll end up selling the loot instead, which begs the question of why not just have cash as loot instead in the first place if it's not going to be better items.
My main complaint about Borderlands 2 is how slow the game feels, quests seems to drag on and on over long stretches of maps that feels longer than they should be, and to make maters worse, the quest rewards don't seem to be ever worth it; let me give you an example: I'm level 25 and I need 15k EXP to reach level 26, I look up some quests on the billboard that are around level 23 to level 25, and how much EXP do they give? 1000 EXP? Are you kidding me? That's not even 10% of what I need to reach the next level! The enemies barely give any EXP worth mentioning, so in the end, it's all just a huge waste of time. In the first game, you would be rewarded EXP for completing challenges, so maybe that's why this game feels so slow in the leveling compared to the first, I don't mind the "Badass Tokens" system they implemented in this one for completing challenges, but why can't we have EXP on top of that?
My final gripe of this game is the so-called "humor". I'll be honest, I didn't find the humor in the first game funny, but the writing was tolerable, in Borderlands 2, the developers seemed so pleased with themselves that they decided to rub the humor in so hard that it will forever leave a shameful imprint of claptrap on your face. I watched a stream of someone playing the game for the first time and as soon as the "0 as a number" appeared in the intro, about 15 people in the chat went "Lol, that is so clever!"
Not... really... It was kind of uncomfortable to witness and I was surprised my brain didn't slip out of my nostrils to escape further humiliation.
In conclusion, I would say that Borderlands 2 is not worth £40 (I paid £60 for the Collector's Edition...), maybe pick it up at £15 if you really want to, but I say stick with the first game, if you haven't played the first one and you're really aching for a quirky, first person shooter with RPG elements, then I say definitely pick this up.