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Video Game Review: ‘Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty’

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“Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty,” in addition to being an excellent title for a late night “Cinemax” title, also happens to be a new piece of pirate-themed downloadable content for “Borderlands 2,” available for a modest tribute on XBLA. Once downloaded, all one needs to do is access a fast travel station and hightail it to newly appearing “Oasis” on the list of travel beacons.

HollywoodChicago.com Video Game Rating: 4.0/5.0
Video Game Rating: 4.0/5.0

Despite arriving with little fanfare (I actually had to Google how to “activate” the DLC after skipping a seemingly unimportant dialog box), the content throws you in combat with some P.O.-ed pirates right away. They put up a tougher fight than a typical enemy, dodging and rolling more than your run-of-the-mill psycho. Once you eliminate the scallywags, you’re greeted by Shade, the first of two would-be Johnny Depp characters to inhabit the land of Oasis. Shade’s clad in an Hawaiian shirt, fishing hat, and cigar holder like a certain gonzo journalist who would likely fit right in with “Borderlands 2”’s acid-trip visual aesthetic. He gives you a series of ultimately bizarre quests that involve meeting all of his “friends” before the content begins proper.

Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty
Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty
Photo credit: 2K Games

After exploring a bit and uncovering the occasional message in a bottle, you’ll eventually come across Captain Scarlett herself, who’s essentially Jack Sparrow with a hook for a hand and a vagina. Same aloof attention to detail, back-stabbing nature, and this-side-of-drunk delivery. And after the initial eye-rolling at the somewhat deliberate rip-off, she becomes a decently quirky personality that you won’t mind chirping in your ear during story missions.

Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty
Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty
Photo credit: 2K Games

But the thing about “Borderlands 2” is that it is repetitive by nature. Run here, kills these crazies. Go fetch four different thing-a-ma-bobbers and return them to that Fat Chick’s Garage / Sanctuary / Creepy Run Down Motel. If you do it enough, you’re rewarded with shiny new toys that ultimately make that run / kill / return loop more exciting and (hopefully) satisfying. I suspect that after 50 levels of this sort of thing, most gamers have had their fill. If you’re a gamer on the fence, and are curious if “Captain Scarlett” contains any revolutionary game mechanics to break up some of the monotony, unfortunately, outside of a new sand-speeder style vehicle, it does not.

However, I am fully aware that there are a bevy of hardcore “BL2” players who chomp at the bit for the chance to add to their piles of loot, and take down even more difficult bosses. In that case “Captain Scarlett” delivers in spades (or planks?). There are two 50-level bosses that you’ll need friends to slay, and a ton of places to explore and new enemies to shoot. It also appears that there are, by and large, far more chests, rare item drops, and Eridium in the DLC compared to the main game. So the pacing certainly picks up for fans of the franchise who are in it for the green, blue, and purple goodies.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. If you’re not a hardcore fan, and are still hovering around level 20 after you’ve killed enough bullymogs to re-carpet every casino in Las Vegas, perhaps your money would be better spent elsewhere. If you’ve beaten “Borderlands 2” and want more, you will be happily satisfied by the breadth, depth, and character present in Gearbox’s first of four planned DLC expansions for the franchise - just don’t expect your timbers to be shivered.

“Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty” was released as DLC for “Borderlands 2” on October 16, 2012. The version reviewed was for the Xbox 360 but the expansion pack is also available for the PS3 and PC.

By Paul Meekin
Staff Writer

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