The months after the first Borderlands was released offered a treasure trove of DLC that kept players coming back to the backwater planet of Pandora long after the first vault was opened. Borderland 2 seems set to continue this trend with it’s first DLC continuation less than a month from the games release.
“Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty” takes place outside of the main story, with the vault hunters visiting the settlement of Oasis and the dried up seabed that surrounds it. This adventure begins with the promises of riches beyond wildest imagination to the one(s) that find Captain Blade’s lost treasure of the sands amid the wreckage of run-aground ships and dried up basins.
The content expects players to be well experienced when the teleport to the new location to start the hunt. Characters around level 30 will be in perfect range of the challenges that present themselves as enemies do not scale themselves to what the player is. This can sadly lead to a player who has finished the game being too high a level for the content to hold much of a challenge or the loot being of much worth. This is unless the game is played on True Vault Hunter mode, but those looking for a challenge that isn’t overly demanding had better be within the expected level bracket.
The new content has players introduced to a small handful of new characters including the Hunter S. Thompson inspired Shade, helpful but creepy Herbert and the titular Captain Scarlett. These characters help adorn the 4-6 hour campaign with the main games humour, but some jokes fall flat as the characters beat the same jokes into the ground over and over again. Shade is starved for human contact and his sanity falls south of normal, but after the third rant about how lonely he is just doesn’t create the same grin as the first. Captain Scarlett however is highly amusing, with her upfront promises of betrayal. One other worthy mention is the surprisingly deep character of Captain Blade who is only known through a series of side-quests which reveal his life through audio tapes found across the seven new areas.
These areas don’t provide much in the way of contrast or originality however. The majority of the areas cover the usual desert and cave interiors any experienced vault hunter hasn’t already seen, with a few occasional moments of genuinely beautiful vistas or landmarks. Travelling across these lands though in the new sandskiff vehicle makes the points between A and B thoroughly more enjoyable. Skidding across the desert sands and shooting harpoons at passing sandworms makes the trek across the sands slightly more interesting.
At first, enemies are the common bandit ilk but re-skinned and renamed with a more sea-faring slant, such as Corsairs and Buccaneers. Newer variates of bullet fodder include a plethora of sandworm’s that pop-up whenever a player jumps into the dusty recess’ of Oasis and anchor-throwing bandits the shell out huge amounts of damage while defending themselves with metal plates and lumps of iron best used for weighing down ships.
Loot items drop at the abundant rate that’s expected, but much like the level balance if you didn’t come in at the right level, most of it will be vendor trash. The best loot comes from the quest rewards, which come with side effects such as damaging the shooter and firing in the pattern of a skull and crossbones. It does add however a new tier of weaponry called “seraph” that is unlocked with it’s own currency earned by beating the new end game “raid” bosses which provide a challenge even to the most battle worn residents of Pandora.
“Captain Scarlett and her pirates booty” has a bit of a problem. While it comes with a hefty amount of content, it doesn’t hold up to the same standards as the main game. Imaginative enemies and a fun new vehicle only do so much to stop the slowly lapping tide of boredom in environments that fail to plumb the depths the rest of the game goes to to seem fresh and exciting. Occasional moments of brilliance make this DLC worth buying, but only just. Just make sure you are at the right level to experience this booty-licious adventure.