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All Borderlands games ranked (2022)

The Mad Max-esque open-world FPS/RPG series is one of the most popular in gaming today (Image via 2K)
The Mad Max-esque open-world FPS/RPG series is one of the most popular in gaming today (Image via 2K)

Borderlands is undoubtedly one of 2K's most recognized franchises yet. The sci-fi open-world FPS series of games pioneered the looter-shooter genre, ushering it into the mainstream spotlight.

With its latest release, Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, the iconic IP has enjoyed over a decade of critical acclaim, at least for the most part. Not all entries in the series have been well-received after all.

This article ranks all the games released in the series thus far, from worst to best. Readers should note that "worst" does not imply that the games are bad; in fact, none of them are. However, they do not live up to the better entries either.

Note: This article is subjective and reflects the opinions of the writer


Borderlands 3, The Pre-Sequel and other Borderlands titles ranked from worst to best

Disclaimer: These games are ranked on the basis of combined factors such as writing, gameplay, content and so on. This list also includes spin-offs and side entries.

8) Borderlands Legends

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The only smartphone entry on this list, Legends is an RTS game in the Borderlands franchise. It was released exclusively for iOS platforms in 2012 and features the four main Vault Hunters of the first Borderlands: Lilith, Mordecai, Roland and Brick.

As it is a real-time strategy (RTS) experience, its gameplay is isometric and requires micromanaging several characters simultaneously

Players must tactically employ the Vault Hunters throughout each randomized map to defeat waves of enemies using unique skills. Brick can draw aggro from enemies, while Roland can deploy healing for the team.

While enemies do not drop loot like in mainline games, gear can be purchased from shops between each level.


7) Borderlands 3

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This was the last mainline entry dropped in 2019, seven years after the previous one. As such, fan hype for this game was insurmountable.

The new Vault hunting adventure takes new faces across the galaxy to track down potential riches while dealing with the villainous Calypso twins Tyreen and Troy.

The game features many key improvements, especially with regards to gunplay and mobility, but it disappoints in other areas. The writing is very poor with forgettable characters and flat humor. Orange rarity loot drops way too often, cheapening their Legendary tier status.

The DLCs are fairly lackluster as well, and the boring map design with their vast stretches of nothingness doesn't help either. However, the title offers a lot of content for players who want to kick back and mow down foes, and the new Vault Hunters are very fun to play.

The game is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.


6) Tiny Tina's Wonderlands

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Released earlier in March 2022, Tiny Tina's Wonderlands expands upon the foundation set by Borderlands 3.

Taking place after 2014's Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC, it is a new Bunkers & Badasses adventure where the Fatemaker arises to strike down the evil Dragon Lord.

With Tiny's iconic narration and humor in tow, players customize their avatar, pick a class and set off on a fantasy adventure. Despite having a lot of quality-of-life improvements, including a good story, Wonderlands suffers from a content problem. The rogue-lite-inspired endgame and horde-based DLC drops are not enough to keep players invested.

However, for those who fancy the iconic DLC this game is based on, it is worth picking up. It is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.


5) Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep: A Wonderlands One-Shot Adventure

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Fundamentally, this is Borderlands 2's Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC campaign repackaged as a standalone experience.

Players can join Tiny Tina's Bunkers & Badasses tabletop RPG session to save the Queen and defeat the Handsome Sorcerer. Minus the addition of new skins, it is the exact same experience as the 2013 DLC on the same engine.

Unique weapons like the fan-favorite Magic Missile grenade make a comeback and so do fantasy-themed enemies like skeletons, wyverns and golems.

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands fans need not play this one to get into the 2022 rendition, but it is still as iconic and engaging as it was almost a decade ago.

Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep: A Wonderlands One-Shot Adventure was released last year. It is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.


4) Borderlands

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The game that started it all, Borderlands focuses on a group of four Vault Hunters, who travel to the distant planet of Pandora to search for a Vault. This hidden location is rumored to contain advanced alien technology and other priceless riches.

However, the Vault Hunters aren't alone in their endeavor as the corporate Atlas' private military force is also on the hunt under Commandant Steele.

This first-person RPG journey forms the foundation of subsequent games. From gunplay and skill trees to colored tier loot drops and unique humor, it has it all.

However, it is also functionally the weakest game of them all, with dated mechanics that bog down the experience. While it should be picked up these days by only the most hardcore fans, it would be unfair to deny its accomplishments.

The game is available on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.


3) Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

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A controversial pick for the #3 spot, The Pre-Sequel is probably the most underrated main game. This is to Borderlands 2 what Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is to 3. These titles are new experiences using their predecessors as a foundation for gameplay.

However, Pre-Sequel also adds novel new mechanics like low gravity, laser weapons and the Cryo element. Narratively, it centers around the rise of Jack, from being a Hyperion employee to the sadistic antagonist Handsome Jack, who is so beloved by fans.

The new set of Vault Hunters is also very creative. There are also two returning villains from the previous game: Nisha and Wilhelm (yes, the boss from Borderlands 2). Additionally, Claptrap is playable for the first time ever. The moon of Elpis is certainly a fairly boring setting, but everything else makes up for it.

The game is available on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.


2) Tales from the Borderlands

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Another spin-off game, 2015's Tales from the Borderlands is developed by Telltale Games. It follows the same gameplay format as the studios' other offerings, like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us and Minecraft: Story Mode. It is a third-person graphic adventure game.

Set between Borderlands 2 and 3, it features a brand new cast of characters, particularly focusing on the adventures of Rhys and Fiona.

Tales from the Borderlands returns to storefronts February 17! Set between Borderlands 2 and 3, Tales from the Borderlands follows the stories of Rhys, a Hyperion suit, and Fiona, a con artist, on a quest borne of greed but destined for greatness. https://t.co/6L1O5fTm0i

Telltale fans will feel right at home with this one, thanks to the QTE set-pieces, dialog choices and linear exploration.

However, Borderlands fans are in for a treat too, thanks to the strongest writing in the franchise, which doubles down on the style of the FPS/RPG series without missing a beat.

The game is available on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.


1) Borderlands 2

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No contest here; Borderlands 2 is by far the best of the bunch when considering writing, content and gameplay.

With villain Handsome Jack aiming to open the Vault on planet Pandora for his own nefarious use, a new group of Vault Hunters must band together to take him down.

The title improves upon the original game's writing, loot system and gunplay. This results in an FPS game that is still fun to play despite newer entries dominating the scene.

The content is also of the highest quality yet, with six playable characters (Krieg and Gaige as DLC), five Headhunter mission packs and four story DLC campaigns.

The game is available on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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