Fifteen men on a golden chest.
Hidden amongst the depths of this thus far fantastic October month of releases was the leak and subsequent reveal of the first proper piece of Borderlands 2 DLC, after the Mechromancer, which was technically a pre-order bonus which turned up a little late. Dubbed Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty, nothing has ever sounded more Borderlands. In a similar vein to the first Borderlands’ approach to additional content, each outing now aims to cover at least 8 hours of extra gameplay and much like its sequel Captain Scarlett is bigger and badder in every respect.
Booty doesn’t just mean bum when it comes to Borderlands 2, this little venture also contains pirates and at its helm is Captain Scarlett herself. She’s a sexy peg-legged pirate queen who’ll probably almost definitely betray the vault hunter/s at some point, tasking them with recovering three additional pieces of an amulet to recover a lost treasure. Her dialogue is as sharp and snappy as we’ve come to expect from Borderlands, Captain Jack Sparrow with the voice of Elizabeth Turner nee Swan. It also depicts the ‘Bri’ish’ pirates startlingly well, pirate bandits known as rogues will quite convincingly yell out such colloquialisms as ‘where’s me bloody shield gone?’ without making an entire nation flinch with embarrassment.
Rogues are your run-of-the-mill pirate, a thoroughly reskinned bandit with appropriate companions. Midgets are now cabin boys and goliaths have turned buccaneers as well as everyone’s favourite genre-smashing pirate ninja. Our pirate friends have been somewhat neglected in recent years, if we simply ignore Risen 2, so it’s nice to see the little swashbucklers at least get a run out. Just you wait, give it 2 years and we’ll be pining for zombies again. Even existing beasties have also been given additional upgrades, with the introduction of the horned and elder skags.
Captain Scarlett isn’t the only star of the show; Shade, the predictably insane sycophantic ‘mayor’ of Oasis, a town ironically bereft of water. Requesting you ask his ‘friends’ for spare parts to a Catch a Ride Vehicle, a simple enough errand which tickles and torments in equal measure. Shade’s rabid appearance, a limpet-like attachment to the vault hunter/s and a Sander Cohen size slice of crazy make for a thoroughly interesting character and missions to match.
The aforementioned vehicle is a sandskiff, a hoverboat available from all Catch a Rides, possessing the standard machine gun and sawblade weapons, as well as a third explosive harpoon. Whilst it may match the theme perfectly, the over-sized reticule combined with the ever-moving nature of the hoverboat makes it virtually redundant; its raw explosive power doesn’t make up for the lengthy reload time and general inaccuracy. Harpoon aside, the hoverboat adds a element of manoeuvrability not previously present and will become the vehicle of choice for most players.
If Captain Scarlett and her Pirate Booty continues on this trajectory, it’s sure to be another successful DLC for Gearbox. It extends the core game beyond existing parameters in way which both compliments its existing personality but takes it to new places. At £6.99 it’s well worth an investment, if you can just pull yourself away from XCOM: Enemy Unknown or Dishonored.