Gearbox you magnificent bastards. It’s only been about three weeks since the launch of Borderlands 2 but we’re already seeing our first content filled bit of DLC with Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty. A spot on bit of bandwidth, the tale of Captain Scarlett is a true natural extension the existing game. Not some random offshoot that drags you away from the Borderlands you know and love.
One thing that can’t be praised enough with this nifty little package is its timeliness – it’s just spot on and should really stand as an industry benchmark. So many developers botch the release of DLC. Either dropping it far too early, often as some sort of ‘special collector’s pack,’ which leaves regular buyers feeling shortchanged. Or they dangle insignificant, overhyped, snippets that ultimately fail to meet expectations and fall flat after months of anticipation. (Looking at you Mass Effect, you dog.) Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty, however, comes at a perfect time, where I, much like many players the world over, find themselves a few levels from the cap and a few quests shy of True Vault mode completion.
Right on cue Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty introduces players to an entirely new quest zone called Oasis. Once a top Pandorian tourist destination, this former sparkling jewel is now a dry dust bowl ripe with Sarlacc-style worms, shifting dunes and, of course, pirates. (`Pirates? Without water?’ I hear you say. Well they’re sand pirates. And they’re unionised … apparently.) It turns out there’s an ancient treasure chest buried somewhere in the desert (shock) and there are many who would turn the sands red with blood in search of it.
Enter Captain Scarlett. A fiery haired lass who needs help building a special compass to reveal the treasure’s location. With the aid of Scarlett and her … dusty crew, you’re given a quest to uncover that sweet sweet booty and set sail for adventure in true Borderlands style. (That is, an adventure packed with batshit insane characters, nonsensical plot twists and LOOT!) Despite the fact the words `Captain Scarlett’ are right in the banner headline, she’s actually not the star of the show.
In your travels you’ll meet a hefty selection of new NPCs. Including a crusty old hermit who is madly in love with the pirate queen, an apathetic descendant of a famous `sea bitch’ who engaged in child `schmaffoking’ and `schmanabalism’ and the Raoul Duke/Hunter S. Thompson inspired Shade. Each is performed admirably and help add to the already robust, and exceptionally well written, cast. You’re also not just getting a single new quest area in this pack but a whole six. Ranging from lush underground caverns, to dead coral reefs and robot junkyards. And each one is riddled with hidden nooks and more crannies than you can shake a peg leg at.
Enemies are also retuned to fit the swashbuckling setting. Some of the earlier foes are simply psychos with pirate hats but as you delve deeper into the story you’ll face off against nautical themed goliaths with anchors for weapons, undead sailors and cannoneers to name a few. While they aren’t ground breakingly original, many of the new enemy archtypes have unique attack patterns, forcing you to abandon the old muscle memory tactics and mix up your approach.
In addition to the characters, the fresh zones also give rise to a new vehicle, the Sand Skiff. More than just a reskinned runner, the Skiff looks and handles like a cross between a sailing ship and a hovercraft – allowing you to bank around corners and strafe while circling an enemy. It’s a nice touch that, together with the new-ish enemies, helps make Scarlett’s Booty feel like a complete and cohesive package.
Now how bout that red hot Oasis loot? Well I entered the zone, looking a bit ragged in my ramshackle green-gear, and left decked out in some of the finest items luck would allow. Playing as a melee focused Assassin, I felt my options a bit lacking in the main game. Once you get a weapon with + melee damage you’re pretty much locked in for the duration. Pirate booty, however, was a constant progression. One top item to the next. Shields with bonus melee damage, guns with + 200% melee damage. I was in ecstasy.
You’ve also got a new currency to toy with once you reach those higher levels. Seraph Crystals, obtained by defeating the raid bosses, allow you to purchase some truly epic loot. Six zones, story missions and bounty boards combined, you’re looking at about 30-odd new quests with change. Once you smash through the main plot, (which took me eight friggin hours, god damn that’s big) you’ve got two five-man raid bosses to contend with, a slew of new Badass challenges to complete, weapons to farm and a handful of Vault Symbols to find. This is one BIG package.
The decision to smack this DLC on to your existing copy of Borderlands 2 is a pretty simple one. If you enjoyed what the original game had to offer and are looking to spice up that second/third/ninth playthrough, this’ll do it. And then some. Based on the quality work Gearbox was able to deliver in the main game, I had high hopes for the DLC. But I was, legitimately, blown away by what Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty had to offer. The only gripe I can find is that the ending fell a little flat.
- Reviewed On