The first Season Pass incorporated DLC has arrived for Borderlands 2, and it stars…pirates. You know — yo ho ho, swashbuckling, rum, Johnny Depp and all that?
The star of our show this time around is Scarlett. Captain Scarlett, to be precise, and she leaves hardly a dull moment during the add-on. She’s an enigmatic, back-stabbing pirate who constantly reminds you that she may or may not backstab you during the course of the DLC.
Right away you can probably tell that a lot of the trademark humor from Borderlands 2 — thankfully, most of the other stuff translates, too.
As soon as you install the newest DLC, you’re granted access to the Oasis waypoint, accessible from any fast travel station. Although you can access the new add-on pretty much right away and have it scale to your level, it’s recommended that you at least attempt to finish the game first (level 30 or whereabouts).
It’s even better if you’re level 50, as there’s tons of exclusive max level content to be had, including a four player raid boss, and a level 50 exclusive merchant. Can I just say how much I love that Gearbox started putting an emphasis on long term longevity beyond loot? Alright there, I said it.
The town of Oasis, the starting point of your journey, is probably one of the weirdest areas in the game — which is a perfect way to open a DLC.
It features a “not all the way there” quest-giver named Shade, who is a clear nod to Hunter S. Thompson/Fear and Loathing — which may in fact explain why he’s not all the way there. His quests are wacky, fun, and off the wall, and centralized. But before you know it, you have to move onto the desert wastes — which is where things start to decline a bit.
From this point on, Scarlett’s Booty kind of devolves a bit into your typical “travel a lengthy distance to here, do these errands” quests, starting with some errands from Scarlett herself. While Scarlett’s oddball charm alleviates some of the pain of the quests, you’re going to feel the burn at some point.
The good news is that you can travel to all of these areas in a brand spanking new skiff vehicle — just like the ones Jabba had in Return of the Jedi. The skiff operates pretty much the same way as every other vehicle in the Borderlands universe ever has (and it only accommodates two people at a time in one vehicle), but it adds some much needed vehicular diversity, and doesn’t really overstay it’s welcome.
Then, after it’s all over, after a fairly oddly designed boss fight, it just kind of…ends. If you’re the kind of pragmatic vault dweller who just wants to get his hands on the goods though, you’re going to love this DLC, as it not only keeps on giving until the end, but the end is freaking Christmas.
Loot drops very hard and very fast, and I upgraded nearly everything I had within an hour of the DLC, starting at level 30. Seriously, there were items that were five times as good as the ones I used to beat the game.
The main campaign is going to last you anywhere from three to four hours, but you could easily double that if you plan on doing everything the DLC has to offer, even if you didn’t tackle the level 50 exclusive content. Plus, you should keep in mind that you every subsequent playthrough will benefit from visiting Oasis — especially given the superior loot and XP/level boost.
In the end, Captain Scarlett offers pretty much more of the same amount of fun found in the core game, and it never really progresses any further than that.
Sadly, the desert shtick overstays its welcome just a tad here, especially due to the lack of synergy with the decidedly dull optional fetch quests. Unlike the first game, one of the best things about Borderlands 2 is how diverse the areas were, and how they very sparingly utilized arid or desert-like set pieces.
Still, this is a much better effort than pretty much anything Gearbox has put forward in the past (keep letting Anthony Burch spearhead these, please), and this is a great sign of things to come for the Borderlands universe. Bring on the rest of the Season Pass.
This review is based on a digital copy of Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty for the Xbox 360.