Already capped out in Borderlands 2? Looking for an extra challenge? Don’t worry yourself, because Gearbox is about to launch its first downloadable content campaign - and as you might expect from the world of Pandora, it’s suitably huge, wacky and at times horrifically odd.
In Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty
, you get to shake hands (metaphorically - one of her hands has been replaced with a metal hook) with the one-eyed, titular female swashbuckler, and do her bidding in the unlocked deserts of Pandora. Well, officially you’re working with her, but she seems to think you’re a convenient new addition to her pack of minions.
The objective? Scarlett is looking to complete a compass that will lead her to a buttload of rare treasures. The problem is that this compass has been broken up into four parts. She already has one piece, but it’s your job to hunt down the others. You do this by invading the domains of rival pirates, scouring the sands of the Docks and beyond, and living it up in the dilapidated holiday resort of Oasis.
You’d probably think that a location with the charming name of Oasis doesn’t have an awful lot going for it. You’d be right - it’s designed like your typical generic Spanish holiday town, with coloured houses and villas built into the mountainside and a boardwalk leading to nothing but dry sands. Its population is a lonely holiday clerk that goes to great lengths to be your best buddy. To the point of hacking your ECHO device to speak to you. Awkwaaaarrd.
Did I mention that this clerk in particular is so lonely that he has taken to mannequinning a number of already-dead residents, slapped megaphones to them and acts ‘in character’ as these people as if they were alive? Yeah. You save his life from a gang of ninja pirates though (or are they pirate ninjas?) and he owes you a favour to progress in the campaign, so thankfully he ends up being relatively harmless.
You spend a lot of time exploring Oasis before you even get to meet Captain Scarlett - in order to reach her, you’re tasked with building a special new vehicle for the Catch-a-Ride system, known as a Sand Skiff. These are like hovercrafts that can glide effortlessly over the sands of Pandora. They’re also good for mashing up small sandworms. Unfortunately, said sandworms are just part of the troubles you’ll need to face in order to find all the parts necessary to build the Sand Skiff.
During my time with the new DLC pack, I had a chance to get to grips with a maxed-out Mechromancer. Gaige became available to download over the weekend, and let me tell you, when she reaches Level 50 she’s a real force to be reckoned with. Rocking her floating killer robot, Deathtrap, the Mechromancer can unlock insane perks to beef herself and her mechanical friend considerably.
Such perks include giving Deathtrap the ability to restore shields to allies, shoot laserbeams at long-range enemies, and even the chance to be fused with elemental powers - provided you shoot him with an elemental weapon first. He can help restore health, and give Gaige an added shield bonus when out on the prowl.
At a slight expense of positive stats, your class can also increase other stats dramatically - Anarchy Stacks build up when you kill an enemy or unload your clip without manually reloading, and offer improved gun damage at the cost of a slight accuracy reduction. Similar perks include a damage boost in favour of a smaller magazine size. Ultimately, she’s far from the “Girlfriend Mode” that has been described of it, and to me feels like one of the most interesting classes in the game.
You’ll need all the power you can muster, whichever class you rock as, because Captain Scarlett doesn’t exactly attract the prettiest crowd. As you can see from the screenshots, there are some new enemies contained in the DLC pack that all have new movement patterns, resistances and strengths. Be it the Anchor Men - beefy guys with spike anchors for hands - the rotund Buccaneers or the Super Badass Shock Skags that dwell in a rival captain’s cavernous hideout, your skill will be tested.
If nothing else, this is clearly only the start of Gearbox upping the ante on seasoned Borderlands
players. I imagine future DLC packs will be similarly tough - and twice as satisfying to complete.
Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirates’ Booty
is released tomorrow.