Considering the quantum leap that Borderlands 2 was to the original when it came out in 2012, fans knew it would take a lot – a whole lot – to top it with the next game in the series. So instead of making the inevitable sequel, Gearbox Software teamed up with 2K Australia to instead produce a prequel – or in this case, Borderlands the Pre-Sequel.

This game occurs between the first and second Borderlands games, and explains how the main villain from the popular sequel, Handsome Jack, rose to power. It takes place on the moon, and has you portraying one of four assisting lieutenants completing missions as Jack assigns them, whether it's taking over a moon base or acquiring a special weapon needed to proceed further.

Throughout the hands-off demo that 2K provided, we got the gist of what the game is about – and if you're a Borderlands fan, you're in for a treat. Even though the action takes place in an entirely new setting, it’s on the same level as the previous Borderlands games. A variety of enemies will come at you, ranging from small scattering soldiers to large mechanized behemoths. You'll need whatever weapons you can get your hands on to bring them down.

In addition to the unusual shotguns, assault cannons and sniper rifles you have on hand, Borderlands the Pre-Sequel will also provide a pair of new goodies to play with.

The first is the Laser gun. With this, you have the option to either fire separate shots at enemies, or go all out and unleash a continuous stream, something that'll be quite effective against the bigger, armored types. Note: the stream produces a fantastic effect, but also drains your clip quicker, so make sure you use it at the proper times.

If you prefer something a little bit, ahem, cooler, the Cryo weapon will definitely suit your needs. This gun lets you freeze enemies using an arctic style of ammunition, in which you can use a regular gun or a well-timed melee kick to watch them shatter. This is particularly good for taking down groups of enemies, although again, you'll need to use your ammunition sparingly since it empties rather quickly.

Since you're traveling on the moon, you must contend with gravity and oxygen. Over the course of the game, when you're traveling outside, you'll be able to bounce around like Neil Armstrong did back in the 60s, jumping from crater to crater and getting the jump on foes by shooting their space helmets. By doing this, you'll deplete them of oxygen and even cause them to catch fire, which will distract them as you fire the remaining shots to bring these bad guys down. However, you'll need to keep a close eye on your own oxygen as well, checking in at stations to make sure it's properly maintained for both breathing and using jump jets to clear long gaps.

As this is a separate chapter in the Borderlands saga, four new characters are entering the fray, each with their own special weapons and abilities.

First up is Athena, who took center stage during the demonstration. She's a former assassin that previously appeared in The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, and comes packing plenty of firepower. After all, she needs to back up her assassin skills with the best guns possible.

Next up is Wilhelm. Fans of Borderlands 2 might remember him as one of the better bosses in the game, but can now take control of him here. He's a cyborg that packs a mean punch, and his knowledge of weapons is definitely useful during combat situations.

The other two characters, Nisha and Fragtrap, weren't featured that much, but serve their own purposes in the game. Nisha has a close bond with Handsome Jack so he provided her with plenty of firepower and knowledge. As for Fragtrap, he's a weaponized version of series favorite Claptrap, complete with plenty of one-liners to back up his combat know-how.

No matter who you decide to play in the game, you can expect a "bazillion" guns to choose from once again, as well as level-up capabilities that allow you to unlock special techniques, such as better combat moves and other abilities that will come in handy during your lunar adventure. Like the previous games, you'll also be able to play in co-op, with up to four players in a party.

Even though Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel won’t debut on the newer consoles – it's slated for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 – fans will certainly find a lot to love when it arrives later this year. Be sure to check back with Prima to get more information on classes, weapons and more. 

Get the complete, official guide to Borderlands the Pre-Sequel, available now.

Borderlands the Pre-Sequel Guide