Sunday, May 18, 2014

Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and her Pirate's Booty

    Captain Scarlett And Her Pirate's Booty is a deliciously fun romp which parodies a lot of mass-media while remaining entirely consistent with the Borderlands mythos. That's quite the accomplishment and something which makes the story all the more fun as you can say it honestly adds to the setting's mythology.

    The premise is a simple one, which fits with the fact we are Vault Hunters in the game. There is a treasure, a monster guarding it, we want it, Captain Scarlett wants it, and we're going to kill the monster to get it. Captain Scarlett and the player character are forced to work together to both find the treasure as well as kill the monster--neither side having any illusions about how long such an alliance will last. Hint: It's in Captain Scarlett's introduction she's going to betray you.  

    The DLC introduces a new area for Vault Hunters to explore, consisting of a vast desert area and a new town called Oasis. Oasis is, sadly, underpopulated with only a single insane NPC trying to pretend the entire town hasn't died of dehydration. This becomes confusing when heretofore other NPC starts giving you quests to destroy her grandmother's legacy.

Oasis is a delightful town--I just wish it was populated.
    The shout-outs are tremendous, starting with the fact you are capable of using Jabba the Hutt's sand skiffs to travel around the area with Captain Scarlett's own "pirate ship" consisting of a replica of the Hutt's vessel. Sadly, there's no use of Midgets as Jawas or Bandits as Sand People in the DLC. As to be expected since it's the case in every science fiction game set in a desert since forever, you also get to fight sand worms. This includes one gigantic one which is foreshadowed at the beginning of the game called the Leviathan.

    Plus, of course, pirates! DESERT pirates.

    So, with all this, I should love the DLC, right? I do, but there's a couple caveats which need to be brought up. The first is the game has a lot of fat on it. More content is a strange thing to complain about but there's a lot of mediocre unfunny content which brings down the entire experience. 

    There are dozens of side-quests in this game which are just not worth the effort to play unless you are obsessed with experience. The side-quests involving Captain Scarlett and her crew are fun, the aforementioned grandma ones are great, the ones with Shade are hit and miss, while the ones involving Hyperion robot porn (don't ask) are just jarringly out of place. Each part of the DLC also has a hidden treasure but after the first couple of times, it just becomes boring.

The amount of attention to the art and feel of the setting is tremendous.
    The final boss is also a disappointment for a game which had built up the Leviathan for much of the game. The creature barely bothers to attack you and, instead, sends little sand worms to assault like you've been fighting the entire DLC. It is also extremely vulnerable to attacks against certain parts of its body. I confess, having felt the controller shake during the adventure several times due to the movement of the monster, I felt cheated out of an epic battle.


    Hell, it gets worse with my discovery the Leviathan doesn't re-spawn indefinitely. You can only kill him once and visit the treasure room of Captain Blade twice, which is a serious error for a game about treasure hunting. I can understand why Gearbox did this but it devalues the experience. 

    The other bosses in the game aren't particularly interesting either. Captain Scarlett, herself, doesn't get a proper boss battle. Still, I enjoyed the majority of them and also liked the re-skinned bandits that are now a collection of pirates. Fans of Borderlands gear-hunting will also note the game has numerous quest-rewards capable of dealing out spectacular amounts of damage. One of the drops inflicted about 21,000+ points of damage, which is impressive given the next highest I possessed only did 6,000+.

I love these things. I do.
    No review of the DLC would be complete without a discussion of Captain Scarlett herself. Colleen Clinkenbeard does an amazing job at portraying a lovable rogue who is, nevertheless, definitely on the side of the Devils. She's hilarious and one of the best characters to come out of the Borderlands series. I applaud the writers for creating such a memorable antagonist/ally. I will say, though, I was a bit disappointed with the finale of her arc and wanted to see a more final conclusion. Oh well, maybe next crime. 

    The story of Captain Blade, the most fearsome desert pirate of Pandora was also quite entertaining. It was interesting to see, in a world so filled with complete bastards, there was a guy who was almost as decent as Roland. His story is one which gets you right in the gut, like a chest shot.  


    The only character I didn't much care for was Shade. The aforementioned insane owner of Oasis, his story is tragic but not to the point you really care for him. The fact he looks like Raol Duke also is a missed opportunity. I would have loved to deal with a Hunter S. Thompson figure on Pandora rather than just a visual homage.
The re-skinned bandits include some winners like the Anchormen and the Cursed Pirates. Others, not so much like the Grog Men (Suicide Psychos with fire).
     In conclusion, definitely pick up this DLC. Just be warned there's a lot of irrelevant side-quests and the final boss battle is a disappointment.


1 comment:

  1. The robot porn mission is a callback to the first Borderlands where there was a mission to collect a bandits....magazines.