Borderlands games ranked, worst to best (2024)

Borderlands games ranked, worst to best (1)

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  • 8. Borderlands Legends
  • 7. New Tales from the Borderlands
  • 6. Borderlands 3
  • 5. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
  • 4. Tiny Tina's Wonderlands
  • 3. Borderlands
  • 2. Tales from the Borderlands
  • 1. Borderlands 2

We've yet to see how good or bad the long-in-the-works Borderlands movie adaptation is, but chances are both die hard fans of the sci-fi video game franchise and more casual gamers are looking to play the games in the coming months, and there are plenty to pick from by now. To that end, we've ranked all the Borderlands games from worst to best, so you can enjoy your time on Pandora.

For the most part, the Borderlands video games take place on the unruly planet of Pandora and are set in the distant future. Mega-corporations seek control of entire planets to colonize and exploit, yet some colonists have turned their back on them. Pandora is special among these colony world's though due to the presence of mysterious, advanced alien artifacts which could be the key to incredible technologies (and riches). Enter the mercenary 'vault hunters' looking to make some money and the vicious gangs of bandits trying to make a name for themselves through violence.

If you're looking to jump into more legendary sci-fi FPS video game franchises, you shouldn't skip Halo games ranked and Half-Life games ranked lists. We've also put together a list of the best space settlement games available today in case you just want to relax with something far more peaceful.

8. Borderlands Legends

Borderlands games ranked, worst to best (2)

  • Platforms: iOS
  • Developer: Gearbox Software

Borderlands Legends was one of those odd experiments that publishers often try when they have a huge IP on their hands, trying to expand into a new genre to find a wider audience (that maybe isn't there). In 2012, the Borderlands franchise reached the peak of its popularity with a killer sequel, Borderlands 2. At the same time, Gearbox and 2K tried their luck with a top-down action-RPG/strategy hybrid that didn't really come together.

Some core systems and mechanics were solid enough – the idea of a tactical, top-down Borderlands game isn't entirely bad – but most of the stuff that made Borderlands special was lost during the transition to a downsized mobile experience. The fact it was released only for iOS didn't do it any favors either.

7. New Tales from the Borderlands

Borderlands games ranked, worst to best (3)

  • Platforms: PC, PS4/5, Xbox One/Series X/S, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Gearbox Studio Québec

Borderlands fans shouted for years that they wanted a sequel to Telltale Games' surprisingly great, narrative-focused take on the IP. Fast-forward to late 2022, seven years after the original spinoff's final episodic release, and New Tales from the Borderlands landed with a thud (mixed or average reviews).

For the most part, the most obvious issue was that Gearbox Software was no Telltale when it came to building and writing a modern graphic adventure game. It needed more interesting choices and compelling characters, not just colorful jokesters and badasses. Moreover, the actual story was nowhere near the level of its predecessor, which resulted in New Tales feeling like too little too late.

6. Borderlands 3

  • Platforms: PC, macOS, PS4/5, Xbox One/Series X/S, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Gearbox Software

While many veterans were upset about Borderlands 3, which arrived roughly seven years after Borderlands 2, it's by no means a bad game. In fact, its core gameplay and systems could be considered the most refined in the whole mainline series, and the new group of playable vault hunters was striking to say the least. So, what went wrong?

Well, the comedic writing and tone the series is known for (and the story as a whole) feel completely off in this one. Yes, Borderlands isn't famous for heavy-hitting drama or thoughtful commentaries (quite the opposite), but there's a reason why it's become so popular over the years — the tone, the irreverence, the wit. This time around, the gameplay was great, but the comedy and writing just didn’t hit the same, resulting in Borderlands 3 feeling a bit soulless. In short, it's still a decent game, but the vibes were off.

5. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Borderlands games ranked, worst to best (5)

  • Platforms: PC, macOS, Linux, Android, PS3/4, Xbox 360/One, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Gearbox Software, 2K Australia

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel landed two years after the second mainline game and kind of started the series' age of experimentation with big-budget spinoffs. Gearbox was tasked with the tricky mission of giving fans more mayhem and content that felt similar to the other shooters while also adding new ideas of its own, resulting in some unique gameplay mechanics and the off-Pandora setting.

Like most prequels, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's story feels greatly limited by the game that chronologically comes after it, but witnessing Handsome Jack's rise to power and some of the events that lead up to Borderlands 2 is pretty great. Moreover, the characters and fresh mechanics have fun twists that, to this day, feel unique to this entry.

4. Tiny Tina's Wonderlands

Borderlands games ranked, worst to best (6)

  • Platforms: PC, PS4/5, Xbox One/Series X/S
  • Developer: Gearbox Software

After the Borderlands 2 DLC titled Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep (which was later offered as a standalone, bite-sized game), Gearbox and 2K chose to double down on the fan-favorite character of Tiny Tina with a full-blown FPS game. The gameplay was still in the vein of Borderlands, but it takes place in a fantasy-themed tabletop RPG as ‘mastered’ by Tiny Tina herself.

The result is a really fun time, as Wonderlands somehow manages to be even zanier and more playful than the 'core' Borderlands games. Not every element came together though, and there are some recurring annoyances when it comes to wobbly rules and the structure of quests. It's a formula that could greatly benefit from a second go after learning some valuable lessons, but Dungeons & Dragons and Borderlands fans should have a ball with it regardless.

3. Borderlands

Borderlands games ranked, worst to best (7)

  • Platforms: PC, macOS, PS3/4, Xbox 360/One, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Gearbox Software

You can't go wrong with the original looter-shooter. Borderlands was a genre-defining FPS that took the best elements from Diablo-like RPGs, first-person shooters, and open-world games that were just starting to take off in the late 2000s. The result was a refreshing blast of gunfights and sci-fi madness that still holds up today. It's a cohesive and well-measured experience throughout its entire length.

The quirky humor works, its darker story moments pack a punch, and the original roster of characters — while not as fun to control as some of their successors — is unique and memorable. On top of all that, Borderlands isn't a massive time sink of a game even with all the DLCs added on top of the base adventure. You should totally start with the first one if you're coming fresh into the franchise (there was a 2019 remaster, which is the one we'd actually recommend).

2. Tales from the Borderlands

Borderlands games ranked, worst to best (8)

  • Platforms: PC, macOS, iOS, Android, PS3/4, Xbox 360/One, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Telltale Games

It speaks volumes about Telltale Games' distinct take on the IP that we're ranking Tales of the Borderlands second on our list. The studio simply nailed the world of Pandora and the universe surrounding it. The humor and characters have never been better, and the end result was a game as beloved by fans as the mainline shooters that came before it.

Rhys and Fiona's unreliable narration factors into Telltale's signature storytelling style and only makes each choice and possible outcome funnier. Furthermore, Tales from the Borderlands adds a lot to the post-Borderlands 2 chronology, to the point where it kind of feels like one of the most important video game spin-offs ever made. Don't skip this one.

1. Borderlands 2

Borderlands games ranked, worst to best (9)

  • Platforms: PC, macOS, Linux, Android, PS3/4, PS Vita, Xbox 360/One, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Gearbox Software

Borderlands 2 is Borderlands at its purest and most effective state, firing on all cylinders. Gearbox learned all the right lessons from the first entry and then cranked up the scale and coolness factor for their second rodeo.

It didn't change a lot of mechanics or systems just for the sake of it. Instead, the developers looked at what needed refinement, and doubled down on the bulletproof 'bigger and better' approach to sequels.

The cherry on top was the introduction of Handsome Jack, the series' most memorable main villain by a landslide; he makes sure the story never feels dull, constantly insulting your band of vault hunters. He's the exact type of show-stealing baddie that you love to hate every time he's on-screen.

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Borderlands games ranked, worst to best (10)

Fran Ruiz

FranRuizis our resident Star Wars guy. His hunger for movies and TV series is only matched by his love for video games. He got a BA of English Studies, focusing on English Literature, from the University of Malaga, in Spain, as well as a Master's Degree in English Studies, Multilingual and Intercultural Communication. On top of writing features and other longform articles for Space.com since 2021, he is a frequent collaborator of VG247 and other gaming sites. He also serves as associate editor over at Star Wars News Net and its sister site, Movie News Net.

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1 CommentComment from the forums

  • Freqmode

    Tales is an okay game but there's simply no way it ranks above 1,2,3 or TPS. It's fine story wise but otherwise it's boring compared to any of their looter games. I might rank it above tiny Tina but that's it. 2 probably is the best I'd have a hard time between 1 and 3 for second place. 1 is nostalgia for me and 3 is great gameplay wise. Even the pre sequel was fun just not as good as the others

    Reply

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