Borderlands 2 developers Gearbox have earned quite a reputation for releasing worthwhile and expansive DLC (and we're not talking those <a class="active" href="http://www.complex.com/video-games/2014/02/sexiest-nude-mods-in-video-games/borderlands-2" target="_blank">nude mods</a>, you pervs). Just ask players of the first game's "Zombie Island of Dr. Ned" or "Claptrap's New Robot Revolution" expansions what the meaning of value in DLC is.
So we were particularly excited to get our hands on the first downloadable content for Borderlands 2, a series of new missions and areas arriving less than a month after the game's release.
Is the content in "Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty" worth the extra $10? You'd better believe it. Read on to find out why.
Borderlands games may be addictive because of their loot, but the real heart of Borderlands 2 lies in its characters. "Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty" adds plenty of memorable faces to the game's cast. The first person you'll see when you reach the barren new town of Oasis (after killing about 100 bandits) is Shade, a twisted human taxidermist who's arranged the deceased denizens of the town in grisly poses and employs a complex PA system to get them to talk to you. He even proposes to one. It's fucking creepy.
The absent-minded Aubrey gives you quests to erase all evidence of her family's embarrassing pirate past from Oasis's bounty board, and the love story between Scarlett herself and a half-blind hermit named Herbert will touch your heart before ending quite…explosively. There's even a censorship-obsessed robot (to match the one obsessed with becoming human in the main game) spouting lines like "MURDER THAT PERSON VIOLENTLY, BECAUSE MORALITY."
In addition to new NPCs, there are a ton of new enemies, including a metric shit-ton of pirates. Standard bandits have been replaced by Buccaneers, Rapscallions, Corsairs, and Cabin Boys, with larger Anchormen, Minelayers and life force-sucking Cursed Pirates wreaking havoc on the battlefield.
No ancient-sea-turned-barren-desert would be complete without sand worms large and small, and new varieties of teleporting stalkers—now with three projectile-spewing tails instead of one—prove as challenging as they are annoying. There's even an appearance by a miniature Rakk Hive (that giant vagina-mouthed thing from the first Borderlands)—with a pirate passenger—and a spectacular cameo from another 2K Games series icon. Let's just say his name rhymes with "Rig Baddy."
TONS OF NEW QUESTS
The most important question when it comes to DLC is how much content you're getting for your dollars. No one likes feeling ripped off, and considering Borderlands 2 isn't even a month old, the money value of the "Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty" DLC is a huge concern.
Thankfully, you can lay those fears to rest right now. With almost every side and story mission completed, our time with the expansion totaled somewhere around eight hours. At $10, that's a massive value—some entire $60 games are only eight hours long. Granted, a number of these new missions boil down to extended fetch-quests—many weren't quite as imaginative as some in the main game—but it is Borderlands, after all. And these quests will take you all over a half-dozen or so enormous new areas, with plenty of hidden side stories and easter eggs along the way. There's even at least one new level 50 mega-boss, and it drops a new crystal currency—though we've no idea what to buy with it, since we can't beat the damn boss. How's that for replay value?
HITCHING A RIDE
Some of the original Borderlands' DLC added new vehicles, but those mostly boiled down to faster cars or more powerful tanks. Before now, nothing as unique as this expansion's Sand Skiff—the new lightning-quick vehicle—has ever been featured in Borderlands.
Put simply, this thing is a joy to pilot. It looks like a dilapidated boat, but it's more of a hovercraft than anything. It can reach some insane speeds, and hitting a slope at the right angle causes it to glide through the air for awesomely unrealistic periods of time. You can even drive it up into pirate lairs and other locations that the game's more traditional vehicles could never go, and its rockets, rapid-fire saw blades and exploding harpoons make it ideal for taking out entire swathes of swashbucklers.
Sure, it's only a two-seater—one player to pilot and another on the chain gun turret—but extra players can simply jump up on deck and hang on for dear life (it helps to not move at all) while using their normal guns to chip away at passing pirate skiffs and sand worms. Experimenting with the Skiff is definitely half the fun in "Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty."
THE TREASURE ROOM
No matter what else happens, Borderlands fans are always going to be obsessed with one thing: loot. So there's no bigger draw than a room full of it. Just ask players of the first Borderlands' DLC "The Secret Armory of General Knoxx." After the disappointment of opening the first game's vault to find a giant monster and zero treasure, Gearbox gifted players with a massive armory filled with mountains of the stuff. The only problem was the timer ticking down to the room's destruction.
Hopefully it's not too big a spoiler to reveal that there's no such limitation on the treasure room in "Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty." From the beginning of the expansion it's clear that you've travelled to Oasis for one thing and one thing alone: treasure. And by the end of the DLC we had found some seriously superior weaponry. Thanks for giving us what we wanted, Gearbox!