As you can read in my review, I loved Borderlands 2 for its sharp writing, impressive world and engaging gun collecting.  The main game is filled to the brim with missions to complete and references to discover, and the first piece of downloadable content for the game, “Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty,” adds a host of new content to explore.  It may not necessarily represent the best of what the main game has to offer, but if you’re simply looking for more of Pandora to explore, then there’s plenty of booty to discover.

To gain access to the content, you must be at least level 15, but once you cross that threshold you can fast travel directly to the land of Oasis and its neighboring territories, a desert of a Pandorian landscape devoid of much life or sanity.  First arriving in the town of Oasis where seemingly the town’s only denizen, Shade, greets you with a little too much enthusiasm.  Shade will inform of a long-lost treasure that the pirate Captain Scarlett is searching for, and soon your vault hunter joins the pursuit as well.

Don't worry, Captain Scarlett needs you to find the lost treasure. She won't stab you in the back just yet.

Your treasure-hunting escapades will lead you through a number of desert locations, tracking down compass pieces and a host of bizarre wasteland dwellers.  Scarlett is first and foremost who you will interact with the most as both your companion and the villain of the content, and though she is amusing, she sadly does not live up to Handsome Jack’s charm.

Shade is actually the most hilarious character and is a great addition to the cast, but “Pirate’s Booty” ends your interactions with him too quickly and only returns to him in the end.  His strange obsession with the player and his interactions with the not exactly live townspeople are sick and hilarious, and Shade definitely earns a place alongside the weirdest of Pandora.  Scarlett and others like the Hermit are amusing in several moments but they, and likewise the narrative of the piece, don’t quite live up to the storytelling strengths of the full game.

Oasis is home to one particularly deranged citizen and little else, but it's a worthy pitstop.

That is not to say the content is without interesting set pieces, a cavernous area truly earning the name “Oasis” is a particularly fun portion.  The climax of the pack is enjoyable as well, taking you from the heights of a tower to a battle with some brutal sand worms.  Other than these sections, however, Oasis lives up to its desert moniker, feeling devoid of many intriguing monuments.  Exploring on a hovercraft is certainly a nice change of pace from traditional vehicles as well, but the overworld feels less like a place to explore and more a series of areas to navigate.

“Pirate’s Booty” definitely has some interesting moments along its story, and also comes with a smart way of using sidequests.  Scattered throughout each location are messages in bottles that may not reference The Police’s perennial hit but instead lead players on treasure hunts.  The mechanic fits into the aesthetic well, but may become somewhat repetitive considering how many quests in the main game you have completed.

Enemies like the Anchorman and reskinned pirates are indicative of the best and worst of the DLC.

Considering my time with “Pirate’s Booty,” I notice a familiar theme running in all aspects – there are certainly great moments, but it does not quite live up to the heights of the main quest.  Many of the pirate-themed enemies are simply re-skinned iterations of the bandits and psychos found in the original content.  Still, a few enemies, including references to BioShock and the Anchorman shake up combat in interesting enough ways.  Along with new enemies to fight you’ll also find a new currency to interact with and some powerful optional foes to contend with for players who tackle the DLC at much higher levels.

“Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty” may not exemplify the best of Borderlands 2, but it has such a solid foundation to build upon that if what you’re looking for is more of Pandora to explore, more loots and more amusing excursions into the world, then there’s quite a bit of treasure to unearth.  It may just take some unearthing to find the buried gold beneath the more average portions of the DLC.

Here’s the Rundown:

+ If you’re looking for more Borderlands 2 to explore, you’ve come to the right place
+ Adds a few hilarious characters and beautiful locations to explore
+ Some more fun references and quests to uncover
- Many of the characters/locations don’t live up to the main game’s caliber
-  Lacks an intriguing narrative to keep you engaged
- Barren desert and reskinned enemies are disappointing additions 

 

7 and 7.5 represent a game that overall manages to be worth a playthrough, just not worth the full price at launch. These scores are for games that are relatively good or even really good, but generally worth waiting for a sale or picking up as a rental when possible.

“Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty” was developed by Triptych Games and Gearbox Software.  It was released on October 16, 2012 at the MSRP of $9.99 on the PC and PlayStation 3 and for 800 Microsoft Points on the Xbox 360.  A copy of the game and additional figures were provided by the publisher to RipTen for the purposes of review.