Borderlands 2 'Booty' provides wealth of content, actual wealth

By Steve Watts, Oct 18, 2012 9:00am PDT

The first Borderlands was a reasonable hit at launch, but it truly stuck the landing on downloadable content. When DLC was more of a wild west concept, it was one of the games that did it right. The content was substantial, relatively inexpensive, and added value to the product as a whole. It set a high bar for Borderlands 2, making its first expansion, "Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty," a proving ground for Gearbox to show it still had the old mojo. And while it certainly isn't the game-changer of the free Mechromancer class (for Premier Club members), Scarlett adds quite a bit of booty for your buck.

This content is about wealth, in more ways than one. The new treasure chests sometimes poured money, and I found enough guns to sell off that I nearly doubled my banked funds in only a few hours of the main content. Money isn't scarce in Borderlands, but if you blew a lot of money on New-U Stations in the midst of a tough battle, this will certainly replenish your funds.

More significantly, the DLC offers a wealth of content. It starts off in an unassuming area of Oasis, but it doesn't take long for the content to show its colors. Plenty of new environments and a legion of new enemies in bright pirate garb greet you -- by trying to kill you, of course. Some of these are minor variations on old enemies, but the original ones stand out as fresh and exciting. Anchormen and Harpoonmen offer a legitimately frightening new threat, and the explosive-toting Powder Monkey offers a one-hit kill solution that requires care not to get too close when you finish the job. One mission even gives a sly nod to the Big Daddies and Little Sisters of BioShock.

Captain Scarlett serves as the main protagonist-ally, though that term might be too charitable. She is a pirate, after all, and she's honest enough to constantly remind you that she plans to stab you in the back as soon as you're no longer useful. The mission structure is very direct: Scarlett wants help finding the lost treasure of Captain Blade, and she notices the Vault Hunter is particularly good at murdering those who stand in her way. Hence, you're tasked with finding a compass that will lead to the booty. Arr.

Along the way, it introduces a cast of colorful new characters as well, and a wealth of associated side-missions that I've barely had a chance to crack into yet. The main story, revolving around Scarlett's hunt for the treasure, fizzles without much of a resolution. I would have liked to see more closure, but at least Gearbox wisely made good on the promise of loot. The treasure trove waiting at the end rivals the end-game, assuring at least a few useful weapons and plenty to sell off besides.

This may sound like a point of quantity over quality, but the DLC delivers on that front, too. The missions were varied, the humor was spot-on, and the enemies offered new tactical wrinkles to the combat. Gearbox hasn't outlined its plans for all of the upcoming expansions, but if they're as substantial as this one, Season Pass holders will be busy with the game for a long time to come.

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