Borderlands 2 pitches itself as a nightmarish, psychopathic blitzkrieg shoot-em-up featuring unrealistically huge guns, even bigger enemies and frantic co-operative action.
And yes, at its best Borderlands 2, which is released on Friday, is exactly that. It's a funny and finely paced first-person RPG, with a cartoony graphical style that helps it feel both less nervy than other shooters, and inherently more fun.
The explosions are ridiculous, the promised 'gagillions' (or was it bazillions? Or ka-jungermillions?) of randomly generated guns are varied and insidiously horrific in their destructive power, and the story is (usually gloriously) insignificant.
So why does the game also feel like it should come with a spreadsheet, a stack of What Grenade? magazines and an Argos catalogue for murderers?
The reason - perhaps the problem - is that the game serves two separate masters. On one side is the swaggering, bloody sport of combat, and on the other the dark mistress of loot, swag and yoinkage.
That means boxes, boxes, boxes.
Yes, the world of Borderlands 2 - like that of its predecessor - is for some reason utterly resplendent with chests, cupboards, nooks and crannies filled with petty cash, ammo and the occasional massive rifle - and any time there is a brief lull in combat you're compelled to shift through a mountain of them to uncover new weapons, shields and other stuff which you'll usually sell… to buy new weapons and shields and stuff.
It's like this video, in a game.
Or this one.
And, for certain players this is ideal. The constant squirrelling away of ammo and guns is addictive, and every new pickup results in complex, often surprising testing sessions of cool weaponry, and dilemmas about which death-dealers to keep and which to toss. Better still, the mechanics through which you manage this stuff are quite simple and fast to use, and don't feel like they slow the game down moment-by-moment.
Likewise the accumulation of XP and your journey up the skill tree of your chosen character - as either an assassin, a commando, a dual-gun wielding giant or a battle-hardened magician - is fun and satisfying.
And if both sound great to you, Borderlands 2 is virtually a two for one of win. For the sheer abandon of its reckless combat alone, it is among the best FPS games released this year - if not the best. And if you were also looking for a new time-sucking hobby on a level with Football Manager, it's also going to deliver.
But often the two halves of the game don't seem to work in as much harmony as other reviewers of the game have found. The incessant searching of boxes can detract from the blood-letting, and the equally endless accumulation and pruning of your armoury can simply get in the way. (It's also a bit unrealistic when you pause the game mid-headshot to swap your pistol out for something a bit flame-ier.)
And if you're hoping for an engaging story or mission structures in between those two pursuits, you can forget it. Most of the missions rely on following signs and killing something, and while they're presented creatively and with a blunt, toothless grin, they aren't that interesting.
For fans of the original, then, Borderlands 2 is an essential purchase. Multiplayer and co-op modes remain top-notch, and the same blend of loot and extreme, graphical violence is here just as you remember.
But for those not yet sold on Borderlands, take care before diving into the apocalypse. You may come for the joy of battle, but you might leave feeling like an end-of-days supplies manager.