Oct 29, 2012This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Let me start by saying that I have spent way more hours playing in the Borderlands than I care to admit. I absolutely love the gritty Heavy Metal-esque (magazine) style world that Gearbox created, which is why this release was so disappointing to me. The first handful of quests seem as if they were outsourced, unvetted, or turned over to interns for development. I know it's is odd to criticize anything in the Borderlands universe for a lack of subtlety, but this add-on tries so hard to be over the top, it often falls flat.
***POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW***
Oasis looks cool as you enter, but within a few minutes, you meet the first character, "Shade", a rubber-stamp copy of Johnny Depp in Fear & Loathing. I know that the core of Borderlands Universe is rife with pop cultural easter-eggs, but up until now every character felt like it emerged naturally from the Borderlands universe, Shade, with his giant sunglasses, large rimmed hat, and long cigarette-rocket-thingy, feels like straight up plagiarism. My first half hour in Oasis was also a bit of a disappointment. One of the early job board quests involves a disaffected girl who wants you to kill her grandmas pet and destroy her ship. The voicing of the character is so flat, it just feels like the voice actress gave up. It again breaks the illusion of a world that the rest of the franchise worked so hard to set up. I found the choice of model-reuse from the main game to be odd. The crystal merchant in Oasis is just the Crazy Earl model, re-skinned with a purple crayon. I would have preferred (assuming the dev team was short on resources), that they just reused Crazy Earl, (or gave him a fake mustache ala Dr Ned, the totally not made up brother of Dr. Zed) and not tried to pawn him off as 'new' content. I had no problem with the "blue" crystalisks you encounter later, They were also recycled models from the main game, but they were believable contextually as enemy variants, and were at least competently re-skinned.
Regarding level design, unlike the main game, I have in several places encountered areas where the collision meshes did not line up with the visible geometry resulting in my character running in to invisible walls or walking on invisible outcroppings. As the DLC was released less than a month after the core game, I assume this sort of issue can be patched, but in contrast to the perfect alignment of the core game, the breaks in suspension-of-belief were jarring. One of the cool things about Borderlands is the ability to climb on things, and explore. Also generally levels are clearly laid out, and if there is a question about where to go, the level designers usually have big neon arrow that points you in the right direction. In several places of the DLC, I found big neon arrows that seemed arbitrarily thrown in as level 'decoration' without any apparent reason. This minor lack of cohesion to the main games level-design philosophy was disappointing.
On a positive note, the cavern level beneath Oasis is gorgeous, the land speeders are fun, and Captain Scarlett and her ship are all up to the traditional BL standards. There is a lot of fun to be had in this pack once you get past the initial swallow.
I am being somewhat overly critical by giving this DLC a 3, but only because I see Gearbox going in a direction that veers away from it's track record of pure awesome. It got 90% of everything right, but like a perfect veal milanese sprinkled with feces, the choice of garnish makes a huge difference in one's enjoyment of the experience. Experience: Ultimately, the experience of the game is what one is left with, and playing the first part of the DLC after finishing the main BL2 story was a big let down. It feels like the target audience shifted from everyone's inner sex addled 15 year old, to a potty-joke loving 7 year old. It's still sort of fun, but I felt a little insulted. It was like watching a magician perform a perfect set, and then watching his kid come on stage with a card trick and flub the encore, I pray that Gearbox, with this DLC is just using classic misdirection, to set us up for a flawless finale by lowering our expectations early so that we are again bedazzled by the excellence we have come to expect from this series.… Expand
Awards & Rankings
Jan 14, 2013Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty is a very well made DLC, but it's not for everyone. Fans of the first game, people who love the constant grind and looking for better loot, will have the most fun. If you want to complete this DLC once (and only for the story) you'll be disappointed. The plot is really cliché and without anything special, and fighting the same opponents between episodes can be a bore. What is more, the notice board has some really dull side quests. All in all - even though guys from Triptych Games missed the goal here and there - this DLC is a must buy for every Borderlands fan.