If you’re like me, then you’ve lost hundreds of hours to Gearbox’s incredible Borderlands 2. Seeing as they have made one of the funniest, colorful, and exciting co-op experiences available, I had no regrets about returning to Pandora and losing another dozen hours in the world. That value is per character, by the way (please help me).
Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty is the first downloadable addition to Borderlands 2. After meeting the clearly insane Hunter S. Thompson Shade in the town of Oasis, you’ll form a fragile alliance with Captain Scarlett, an off-kilter pirate captain who is searching for the treasure of Captain Blade. She recruits your little group of Vault Hunters to go find the pieces of his compass to reveal the location of his treasure, defeat the monster guarding the aforementioned loot, and plunder yourselves silly. It’s the plot of the first game in fast-forward. Normally, I’d say this was a bad thing, but it’s such a spectacularly written experience that I wasn’t even bothered. Scarlett constantly chats with you over the ECHO Network, making mention of how she will eventually stab you in the back. She’s one of the great characters the DLC introduces, along with the clingy self-proclaimed “BFF” Shade, and Scarlett’s disturbingly creepy stalker Herbert.
A big problem with Scarlett is the world it presents: a big, brown, dusty desert. You may already know this, but there’s an enormous difference between a grass knoll with a creek flowing down the hill and a desert. One is exciting to explore, and the other is a boring, brown desert. My impression while exploring this Borderlands 2 DLC was akin to the first game: entertaining to experience, but bland to look at. Thankfully, there are some incredibly pretty areas to explore (though they are few and far between). On the bright side, the soundtrack is spectacular; while I can’t say it fits the pirate theme, the songs provide great percussion to battles. While exploring the deserts of Oasis and Wurmwater, you’ll find all sorts of new enemies to do battle with. Most of the pirates are just re-skinned bandits, but a good number of the baddies are interesting variants of old foes. Anchormen fight in a “get over here” style, using their anchors (obviously) to pull you to them, while enemies like Cursed Pirates sap your health with each successful hit (this is very, very annoying). Hell, there’s even Ninja Pirates (who are incredibly flimsy little buggers).
One of the main attractions of Scarlett is the new vehicle: the Sandskiff. If you’ve seen Return of the Jedi, you’ll recognize the Sandskiff almost immediately. Being able to glide across the desert landscape with a man on the gun and two buddies on the front is as awesome as it is effective. While the ‘skiff (understandably) cannot be used in the main game of Borderlands 2, it’s a very fun vehicle to use.
Overall, the DLC is of good length. While the main quest is rather short, you’ll be laughing alongside the stellar writing that Borderlands 2 is known for. There are plenty of side quests as well, though most chalk up to “go here and kill this” or fetch quests. They’re still backed up by excellent writing, but they’re not as interesting to play. One of the more interesting parts of the DLC is the Message in a Bottle quests. You’ll find these hidden throughout the world, and picking one up leads you to an area where you can dig for treasure. Your reward is a new piece of equipment with an awesome ability (it explodes into dozens of heat-seeking grenades!) and a massive drawback (they’re seeking you!). These weapons and items were fun to search for, and even more fun to toy around with.
Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty is a great addition to Borderlands 2. While not perfect, it has plenty more of the Borderlands 2 feel. Environments are boring to look at, but you won’t concern yourself with that while you bust a gut at Herbert’s audio tapes or the hilarity that is C3n50r807. If you’re still playing Borderlands 2, you’ve probably already purchased this. However, if you’re on the fence about whether or not you should drop $10 on this add-on, it’s certainly worth your time.