Borderlands 2 is a great game, and its structure lends itself to DLC extremely well. The original game saw four pieces of downloadable content, and while Gearbox only got to a 50-50 track record there, it should surprise nobody that DLC was a part of the Borderlands 2 plan before the game even hit store shelves (as it was possible to preorder the DLC season pass along with the base game).
After the Mechromancer character, Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty is the first bit of DLC available. Instead of a new character to play as, Scarlett is a full-fledged side adventure. Any character level 15 or higher can fast travel to Oasis and start looking for the fabled lost treasure.
The visuals are different from anywhere else you’ll see in Pandora, the unique enemies are interesting to fun and make for a great change of pace from the main game, and the quest types and campaign length make Scarlett just the in-game vacation you and your character might need. Borderlands 2 can be a somber game, and Pirate’s Booty is much more whimsical which makes the competent gunplay and interesting enemies take center stage, instead of the main campaign’s story beats that drive you forward, anxious to learn the fate of the Crimson Raiders and Handsome Jack.
Just like The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, Scarlett comes with a unique vehicle type. The sand skiff is fun to drive, and different enough from the runners and bandit technicals that I wish they were available from the main campaign’s catch-a-ride stations. I would not always take it out, but sometimes I would rather shoot harpoons than rockets, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why these vehicles (along with the Monster from Knoxx) were never made available in the main games. Gearbox has also made another improvement: Pirate’s Booty features numerous fast-travel stations, which makes the large map size a boon rather than a drawback.
The missteps in the DLC are the same as those in the main game. Gearbox is slowly turning Borderlands into an instanced MMORPG. Pirate’s Booty features two raid bosses that are designed for groups of four high-level characters. One of these bosses is the only enemy to drop the newly-introduced seraph crystals that are needed to buy things at Oasis’s black market. And to make things even more WoW-like, one of the raid bosses can only run once a day. Why, in a game that is only played cooperatively, can I only run a boss once per day? It is a silly decision, and I don’t like what it hints at Gearbox doing with the rest of the DLC packs and the series as a whole. Those who are already running level-50 characters will also be disappointed to learn that the level cap has not been increased. I honestly expected a five-level bump per DLC which would take the cap to 70, allowing all players to level their characters as the packs came out.
As a campaign pack, Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty is great fun, packed with interesting areas, enemies, and friendly character, and well worth the $10 price of admission. The negatives are certainly there, but I had a ball playing it, and will certainly go back in subsequent playthroughs (which is more than I can say about Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot and Claptrap’s Robot Revolution from the first game).
Pros: 30 new missions, 8 new badass challenges, interesting new enemy types, gorgeous locales, sand skiffs to drive around in
Cons: Raid bosses are annoying, can’t pilot sand skiffs in the main game, no level cap increase