Borderlands was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2009. It was a game that, on many levels, should have failed. It wasn’t contemporary, or military, it didn’t have a competitive multiplayer mode, it tried to incorporate action-RPG/Diablo mechanics into a shooter and, most dangerous of all, it was “sent off to die” as Michael Pachter put it, by going up against Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Despite everything it had going against it, word of mouth and some addictive game design kept Borderlands afloat, and it became the sleeper hit of 2009. Three years later, the sequel comes with high expectations and hopes for more foliage and less desert. It meets them.