In 2009, Gearbox Software sent players on the hunt for a mysterious Vault, said to be stocked with alien technology and weapons. Little did players know at the time, but this trip to the feral planet of Pandora would blossom into an expansive series of spin-offs, sequels, remasters, and collections. Like any series, though, Borderlands is marked by its highs and lows, the experiences we hold onto for years and those we wish to forget moments after putting them down.
This list is all-encompassing, ranking the series from worst to best, and will include mobile options that some players may appreciate.
Without further ado, here’s all seven Borderlands games, ranked:
7. Borderlands Legends
While Borderlands lived and thrived on consoles and PC, Gearbox opted to try something different with Borderlands: Legends. It was an admirable effort in many ways, but being a mobile-only experience stunted the game’s growth and kept it from being anything substantial. Leaving behind the first-person viewpoint for a real-time strategy experience, Legends supported up to four players and integrated much of the series’ humor and charm.
Compared to the base games, Legends was quite simplistic, providing little to no challenge with an equally disappointing amount of content. Had Gearbox really sunk some effort into this mobile outing, it may have carried some weight in the series. As it stands, though, the game is largely forgotten and overlooked in favor of its more robust brethren.
6. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
When players first dove into Borderlands, it was unlikely they expected to still be exploring the series’ lore five years later. And yet, the zaniness that unraveled on Pandora wound up being exactly what Gearbox Software needed to follow up its beloved Brothers in Arms series (and salvage the bad taste of Aliens: Colonial Marines).
The Pre-Sequel proved the staying power of this quirky first-person shooter, though it lacked some of the variety and scope of the core trilogy. If anything, it felt too similar to the original Borderlands, which isn’t much of a compliment, given it released five years after the first game and in the wake of the far-superior Borderlands 2.
The Pre-Sequel is certainly worth playing, so long as it doesn’t hinder diving into any of the other Borderlands games.
The title that started it all. At the time, it was hard to grasp whether Borderlands would be a one-and-done game or something sure to spawn an entire series. It was fun if not a little repetitive, the loot was largely rewarding, and the story provided players plenty to sink their teeth into. But was it enough to warrant returning?
Clearly, yes. Psychos and creatures of Pandora alike provided just enough variety in Borderlands to pique interest in a follow-up. It may not be the best in the trilogy, but it laid the groundwork for the very successful sequels and spin-offs.
By the time we were done with the Vault Hunters’ journey, it was hard not to want more, especially since the minor faults of the game could easily be fixed in a sequel.
4. Tales from the Borderlands
Following the success of The Walking Dead, Telltale Games could do no wrong; whenever the studio released a new title, players were wise to pay attention. Combine the developer’s penchant for storytelling and interactive fiction with Gearbox Software’s world-building, and you have an almost guaranteed hit.
And Tales From The Borderlands was certainly a hit. Though the core trilogy often overshadows it, Tales From The Borderlands is a unique telling of the events that unfolded between Borderlands 2 and its sequel.
Whereas the first two games put an emphasis on action, Tales From The Borderlands is all about the story. The point-and-click-style gameplay Telltale Games is known for works surprisingly well in a universe we’re so used to blowing things up in. Sure, there’s a bit of gunplay, but it’s nowhere near as fluid as the rest of the series.
Still, the five-part episodic experience serves the universe well, utilizing new and recognizable characters of Pandora to flesh out the hunt for access to Vaults scattered across the galaxy.
3. Borderlands 3
It’s very easy for a series’ popularity to taper off after the second entry—especially if that sequel simply wasn’t entertaining. Thankfully for Gearbox, that wasn’t the case, and Borderlands 3 was every bit as anticipated as its predecessor. Still, Gearbox was left with a challenge: How do you improve upon what players already loved?
The answer was simple: Improve the loot system. There’s a lot to love about Borderlands 2, but the shared loot system left many players without a sizable score for their efforts. Borderlands 3 ensures everyone gets a cut, which creates a more balanced multiplayer experience.
Borderlands 3 is an enjoyable game all around, but a largely forgettable story drops it down this list a little. However, the addition of vehicle customization, smooth combat, and, of course, improved visuals really pump up the final entry in the trilogy.
2. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Tiny Tina was one of the most memorable characters of Borderlands 2 and 3, and Gearbox leveraged that popularity with the series’ most unique entry yet. Replacing the typical Vault Hunters with multiclass, customizable heroes and swapping out the streamlined first-person view with a blend of FPS action and a tabletop overworld, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands caters to a diverse player base. It’s fascinating to see how Gearbox worked the two genres together, creating a sort of Borderlands Dungeons & Dragons first-person shooter.
Wonderlands is all about building the best hero to bring down the Dragon Lord. To build that hero, players will need to engage the enemy in random encounters, secure loot, and complete quests. The old-school RPG elements work surprisingly well, and Gearbox once again delivers on a fun story that is replayable, thanks to the variety in spells, guns, and heroes.
1. Borderlands 2
As stated above, all of the minor faults of Borderlands were fixable. All Gearbox needed to do was invest in a sequel—which it obviously did. And as suspected, many of the problems players had with Borderlands were rectified in the action-packed follow-up.
Not only did Borderlands 2 offer a better experience, but it felt bigger, with a sizable roster of weirdos who help flesh out the universe. The introduction of Handsome Jack and Tiny Tina were game-changers for the series, and the new Vault Hunters were more dynamic than those in the original.
Unlike Borderlands (and even Borderlands 3), the sequel is replayable without feeling like you’re experiencing the same thing over and over. It’s a testament to the amount of content Gearbox integrated into the bigger story, and the more robust and diverse assortment of firearms on offer.
With more engaging characters, and a story that never lets up from the opening intro to the credits, Borderlands 2 winds up being the pinnacle Vault Hunter experience.
There you have it—the Borderlands games ranked from worst to best! May this ranking help you decide which game to try out first in the franchise. If you have differing opinions, do let us know in the comments below.
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agree totally with this rank list! the powers of the heroes in borderlands 3 were significantly fun but the story was so easy to drop off and forget
Switch Borderlands and Tales from the Borderlands
I dont, i think bl3 is better then wonderlands. Theres nothing to do wonderlands
I felt that Borderlands should’ve been closer to 1 than borderlands 3 but that’s just personal preference
No. Borderlands 3 had weaknesses but is leagues ahead in terms of gameplay. I would’ve put Borderlands 1 at the last spot, it’s just not fun to play nowadays, even with the remaster.
I agree 100% to this list, although I do admit I never played Legends.
Absolutely trash list. BL 1 being ranked 5th? What kind of drugs was the person who wrote this or anyone who agrees on? On principle alone BL1 should 100% be at worst #2 and that’s only if you had a stroke while typing this. BL3 being 3rd? Does anyone remember how everyone was absolutely ripping the devs apart on that game? It had the worst game play, an overly drawn out story due to an excess of forced following sequences and don’t forgot Moze who would more than likely take Sal in a fight. Tales from the Borderlands being anything… Read more »
Cry harder bruh
Yo agreed bro. Out of the 6 ive played, i rank em
1. Borderlands 2
3. Borderlands 1
1000. Borderlands 3
1001. Borderlands pre sequel
1120. Tales of the Borderlands
Idk where legends goes, haven’t tried it
You wanna bitch any louder ?
Borderlands 1 was not a very good game and aged terribly and you saying Borderlands 3 has bad gameplay nullifies your entire comment. If there’s anything it did well it’s the gameplay.
No, don’t remember anyone ripping the devs apart over BL3 , it’s easily the best game in the series. Not just my opinion but majority of players and the factual numbers. I mean it has higher rating than 2, higher metacritic rating, higher game score, more positive steam reviews, more units sold, etc list goes on. List honestly should have been #1 BL3 #2 Tiny Tina #3 pre sequel #4 BL2 #5 Dragon Keep standalone #6 Legends #7 BL1 #8 Tales. Before you try to argue your opinion. Reviews and numbers wise, BL3 is the best in the series and… Read more »
Is that why bl1 has a higher user rating on meta than bl3 does? Hmm…
I totally agree with u my man. BL1 should be #1 on the list. Tales and legends shouldn’t even qualify. Wonderlands should be #2. Bl2 should be 3 and Bl3 next.
Bl1 is too low and tiny Tina’s is too high
Your out of your mind. Almost everyone is in agreement tiny tinas is the best below borderlands 2 in the franchise. It very clearly deserves spot 2. But bl1 deserves spot 3 for sure
How? A lot of people are regretting their purchase with the first DLC.
Tiny Tina is too high and overrated in my opinion. In BDL 1,2 and Pre-Sequal, I liked how I can play side missions to raise my player level before I took on the main mission. That’s lacking in Tiny Tina and I don’t like the medieval environment, and the Role Playing Boardgame gameplay so for me it’s 4th behind Pre-Sequal, BDL 1 and BDL 2.
You, um realize that tiny tinas wonderlands is built around quests…right…there’s more side quests than when pre-sequel came out.
As someone who did side missions and boys fights to get high level before completing the main missions, I don’t understand how it’s lacking in that regard.
Agree tiny wondwrlands is trash baby like game potty humor woke like
2. Bl1 w fixes
4. Bl3 poor optimization
1000. The rest
If you think bl3 is good in anyway then you are part of the problem with the bl community. There’s nothing good about bl3, the story dragged on and the main protagonists were annoying and tried way to hard. The weapon manufacturers became trashy and over the top. Bl1 is still the best bl game in terms of weapons, enemy types and gameplay. Bl2 is better for the story.
You’re so wrong. I’ve been a fan for a decade now, all of you getting mad at BL3 are a bunch of crybabies. It’s definitely better than the first in terms of the interface, graphics, gameplay, etc.
I can tell by your comment alone you either never played the first bl game. Or you started with bl3 or you’re one of those who thinks oh newer must be better. When most of the time newer usually ends up worse.
Furthermore you say I’m the one being mad yet it was you who replied to my comment by getting mad and defensive in the process, rather hypocritical
Sure. You betcha. That’s why it still has a strong and vibrant active userbase to this day. People always invest years of time and energy in trash games they hate. Makes total sense.
People have different preferences. It’s totally valid that *you* may not have enjoyed BL3, but there’s nothing worse than individuals that are so self-absorbed that they think that anyone who doesn’t feel the exact same way as them is crazy or stupid. If you don’t like it, great, don’t play it, but you’re *obviously* in the minority that share that opinion.
Yet you could say that about his reply aswell since hes the one who got defensive and upset about my opinion to begin with. So therefore your whole rant there becomes rather invalid. Next time let him reply instead of stepping in for him.
Furthermore games like fifa and cod have a high player base even though them games are just copy and paste. Only because alot of people play a game, doesn’t make it good.
Strong and vibrant?
Then why did they loose so many fans of the franchise?🤣
I was there when mods kicked people off the forums for their criticism.
Where is bunkers and bada**es
That’s part of bl2 dlc so doesn’t really count. Yes I know that you can get it ad a standalone now but it like i stated it started as dlc.
Where is the frist tiny tina game?
It is not counted as a standalone game. Sure it was released as a one-shot a bit ago, but it is still “just” the best DLC in BL2.
There was no first Tiny Tina game. Tiny Tina’s Assault on the Dragon Keep was DLC for Borderlands 2.
Tiny Tina’s should be #6
Hmm I would put Tales From the Borderlands as third on my list, Borderlands 2 second, and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands as First. I just think they did a really solid job with 2, I also liked the choices of Tales and I freakin love the spells and armor and just the customization of Wonderlands
So you included a mobile game no ones ever heard of, how much did they pay you for that?
They’re numbered for a reason Numbnutz
I don’t want to include the other games because they are different genres
Bl2 swap with borderlands 1. Strictly based on the gameplay difference and dlc. Overall bl2 dlc was better. Bl1 only good dlc to me was general knox.
Tbh, I’d likely bring Pre-Sequel up and yeet takes down, mainly because I just don’t like that style of game
And I liked BL1 enough back when, but nowadays… I just can’t go back to it to be honest. I’ve tried and it just felt bland to me. Couldn’t even keep going.
And I’ve always really enjoyed Pre Sequel.
I agree overall, but would leave out Borderlands Legends and swap Borderlands 1 and Pre-Sequel. Borderlands 1 was a new idea, but it aged terribly. Looks bad, plays worse, if you go back to it from Borderlands 2 or the even better playing 3, it just plays so poorly. Anyone putting Borderlands 1 even near the top 3 needs to take their nostalgia glasses off. Gameplay-wise Wonderlands is hands down the best. After that, Borderlands 3, then 2, then Pre-Sequel. 1 is last, Tales is its own thing. Story-wise BL2 wins, all the other games trade blows. And there’s one… Read more »
Is that why the average meta score is better for bl1 than jt is for bl3?
Strongly disagree. BL2 has the most replayability by far. BL3 just isn’t all that fun to play – You HAVE to have a legendary to actually do any damage. All the other weapons you encounter are completely worthless.
Haven’t played the others.
Who made this? Hahaha Tales of Borderlands should be #7 then the legends, 5 should be tina tinys, the presequel, there 3 the 1 and the #1 2
Flip Wonderlands and BL2, otherwise great list.
Unpopular opinion but: