Not a week out from the arrival of Gaige the Mechromancer, Gearbox Software has released the first of four planned story-driven DLC packs for Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty. As the name implies, this pirate-themed content involves plenty of swashbuckling stereotypes and more of the tongue-in-cheek humor that the Borderlands franchise is known for. Carryover hype from the initial release of the game aside, the important question still remains: if you haven’t already purchased the Season Pass, is the Captain Scarlett DLC worth the $10 price tag or is it a monotonous collection of fetch quests and pop culture references?
As soon as you arrive in the sandy town of Oasis, you will be delightfully reassured that Gearbox Software has not lost their flair for delivering memorable characters in Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty. Shade, the Borderlands equivalent of Hunter S. Thompson’s classic drug-induced character Raoul Duke, is your quirky guide throughout this DLC and provides quests from his disturbingly charming Kitty Kream hut. The eponymous Captain Scarlett appears after a few quests, and she makes no bones about stabbing you in the back later on. Spoiler alert- she does. There are a few other minor characters that have roles in this DLC, but their shelf lives are considerably short.
What most gamers will probably take away from the Captain Scarlett’s DLC are the enemies, specifically the ramping up of their difficulty. Traditional bandits and marauders have been re-skinned as pirates to keep in theme, but the standout enemies as far as humanoids go have to be Cursed Pirates, which are Psychos with life-draining capabilities. As you hover around around on your new Star Wars-inspired Sand Skiff vehicle (complete with optional harpoon) you will run into (and over) Sand Worms, in addition to more familiar enemies like skags, stalkers, spider-ants, and an array of Hyperion bots.
Raid boss difficulty does not disappoint, which among them include the appropriately named Hyperius the Invincible and the tricky Master Gee the Invincible. Neither of these raid bosses can simply be overwhelmed with firepower, bringing a much more MMO-like feel to the Borderlands 2 end-game. The raid bosses in this DLC are also MUCH more challenging as compared to Terramorphous the Invincible, who is now laughably eliminated in seconds thanks to a few key item combinations, but that’s also where Captain Scarlett’s starts taking on water rather quickly.
For all the stress that you will go through taking out the raid bosses in Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty, the rewards don’t really justify the effort. Weapons of the new Seraph rarity level can be purchased at Oasis with Seraph Crystals that drop off raid bosses, but their effects aren’t as impressive as some of the legendary level weapons already included in the main game. All that Eridium you have saved up, by the way, is only good for entering the lair of these legendary creatures- like a stack of singles at a high end gentleman’s club.
Even though I am a huge Borderlands fan there are gaping points that have to be brought up, specifically the lack of a level cap increase or storage capacity increase in this first DLC. Those issues aside, which will surely be addressed in upcoming content pack releases, Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty is an enjoyable experience in Borderlands 2 universe that has plenty of difficult enemies and beautiful scenery to keep you and your fellow Vault Hunters entertained for hours. Here’s hoping that Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage will be a much more fulfilling ride to catch.
Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty is available now for $10 or 800 Microsoft points on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Steam.
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