Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty
Pirates and vault hunters have way more in common than they’d care to admit—they both kill lots of people and take their stuff, and both are always on the hunt for some buried treasure. In that vein, the first DLC add-on for Borderlands 2, Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty, makes complete sense. The add-ons for the first Borderlands ranged from great (The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned and The Secret Armory of General Knoxx) to so-so (Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution) and finally awful (Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot), so where does Captain Scarlett fit in that pantheon?
Downloading the DLC adds the town of Oasis to the fast-travel map. Players that teleport there will find Oasis overrun by pirates that need clearing out. Once that’s done, players meet the town’s only surviving inhabitant Shade: a Hunter S. Thompson lookalike who is lonely to the point of being delusional. He hooks the vault hunters up with the titular Captain Scarlett, a surprisingly friendly pirate lass that has a lead on some buried treasure out in the sands. All that’s needed to find it is a compass to point in the right direction, at which time she confesses she’ll stab you in the back. At least she’s honest about it.
Oasis itself is a charming little resort town on the sea, minus any actual water. For all of the DLC’s pushing of its pirate theme, the entire area is bereft of any life-sustaining H2O save for an underground grotto. Despite the landscape being inhospitable dirt and sand, the denizens don’t feel the need to change their lifestyles. There are plenty of sand skiffs and no shortage of buried treasure in keeping with the theme. An actual ocean on Pandora might’ve made for a totally unique change of scenery, so it’s disappointing that this add-on sticks to the well-worn tropes of the series.
Like most of the Borderlands DLC before it, this add-on keeps close to the winning formula of the main game: lots of colorful characters need things found and/or killed and you’re just the one to do it. It’s a lengthy episode full of side missions to compliment the main ones, including some challenges reserved strictly for those capped at level fifty. Low level players should be warned that before they even attempt thwarting the pirates of Oasis, they must be at least level fifteen to even stand a chance.
Bandits have been reskinned with tricorn hats, swords, and flintlocks even, but they mostly stick to the predictable patterns of attack from the main game even if they look way more fashionable than before. There are a few new enemies players need to contend with that have entirely different patterns like the cursed pirates that steal health with every hit or the dead-eye pirates that take aim from afar. Meatier enemies such as the anchormen are tough enemies who fling their massive anchors at the vault hunters, reeling them in for big damage while whalers are content to harpoon players to death.
Another new feature is the introduction of a currency beyond cash and Eridium—Seraph crystals. These pink crystals won’t be available until the main missions are completed, but once enough have been collected they can be exchanged for a bevy of new guns and items to play with. Not that there aren’t plenty of tantalizing chests scattered about that are full of worthwhile loot, including the final treasure room, but as always the best is saved for last.
Much of this new content is immaterial as players will be more preoccupied with the quality of the loot they’ll procure as opposed to the quality of the content, but overall it’s quite high with an appreciable amount of quests tinged with the unmistakable quirkiness found in the main Borderlands 2 campaign still intact. Missions find players doing odd things such as covering up a vapid valley girl’s pirate roots (including killing her pirate grandmother’s pet stalker) or cleaning up the offensive filth on Pandora to satisfy a robot obsessed with censorship. Ironically, Captain Scarlett is the character most grounded in reality when compared to Shade (who has rigged up every dead body in Oasis with a microphone for a morbid ventriloquist act) and Herbert, a man obsessed with the captain.
As the first of four slated add-ons for Borderlands 2, Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty sets the tone for what players can expect—more places to explore, enemies to kill, quests, and of course loot—and in those areas this DLC delivers. There’s a substantial amount of content packed in that’ll keep players busy for a while to come, and hopefully tide them over until the next DLC drops. It might not be as substantial of an add-on as The Secret Armory of General Knoxx was for the first Borderlands, but vault hunters hungry for more will find this DLC satisfies their lust for loot quite nicely.
Eight out of ten