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The best Borderlands games in order

best Borderlands games
(Image credit: 2K)

Ranking the best Borderlands games is difficult, mostly because of how varied each game is. From Telltale's narrative, choice-driven slant, to the OG all-guns-blazing FPS foundations the series was built upon, there's plenty on this list to suit the preferences of all players. Each one boasts the games' unmistakable cel-shaded aesthetic, of course, and, rest assured, is chock-full of over-the-top weapons, explosions galore, and a healthy dose of razor-sharp humour. Here are the best Borderlands games available now, ranked from our least favourite to our most hailed.  

The best Borderlands games are...

8. Borderlands Legends

Best Borderlands games

(Image credit: 2K)

Platform(s): iOS
Developer:
Gearbox
Release:
2012

You've probably never even heard of Borderlands Legends, but those who managed to avoid it should count themselves lucky. This mobile tie-in to the original Borderlands game isn't… terrible, but it's far from the kind of experience you'd normally expect to see from the series proper. Controlled from a top down perspective, you'll look after all four of the original Vault Hunters at once in Legends, taking on missions from a Bounty Board to fight bandits and outlaws in Borderlands' best impression of X-COM.

Sadly, the RTS format isn't a great fit for Borderlands, as the series' sense of speed and chaos is lost via the genre's more strategic paradigms. The game's impressive graphics do a pretty good job of replicating Borderlands' iconic visuals for the small screen, while there's almost just as much loot to be found as that of the mainline title (albeit in a more simplified format), but, nevertheless, Legends is still the weakest entry in the series so far, even if that's essentially by default.

7. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Best Borderlands games

(Image credit: Gearbox)

Platform(s): PC, PS3
Developer:
2K Australia
Release:
2014

The only mainline title to not be developed by Gearbox directly, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (opens in new tab) feels like a somewhat inconsequential "filler" entry in the series, released primarily as a way to tide fans over until Borderlands 3. But more Handsome Jack is always a good thing, as far as I'm concerned, and getting to explore the man behind the mask made for an interesting "fall from grace" story that wasn't afraid to get dark in charting the character's transformation into the villain we know and love today. 

That being said, while there's fun to be had in exploring the new setting of Pandora's moon, Elpis, the Pre-Sequel's low gravity environments lends a floatiness to combat that takes the edge out of its shooting mechanics, and the less said about some of 2K Australia's in-game jokes, the better. More than anything, The Pre-Sequel feels like an expansion to Borderlands 2 (opens in new tab), rather than a full game in and of itself. Perfectly enjoyable, yet lacking a certain sense of relevance and panache, especially when you consider the events that come to pass in Borderlands 3. 

6. Borderlands 

Best Borderlands games

(Image credit: Gearbox)

Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch
Developer:
Gearbox
Release:
2009

The original Borderlands will forever have a special place in fans' hearts, as the game that started everything all the way back in 2009. More than that, when you consider the history of how Borderlands came to be (opens in new tab), and Gearbox's last minute decision to switch to the series' now iconic art style, you'll be even more impressed with the game's achievements for its time. 

With its scrappy nature and unique "FPS meets RPG" elevator pitch, Borderlands instantly captured our attention, and there's still something alluring about it's off-kilter space western vibe. Sure, the story is threadbare at best (with a near unforgivable cop out of an ending), and Gearbox's now famous formula for infinite guns is at its most rudimentary here, but all the most successful strands of the series' DNA made their debut in the original Borderlands, and for that, we're eternally grateful. 

5. Borderlands 3

Best Borderlands games

(Image credit: Gearbox)

Platform(s): PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One
Developer:
Gearbox
Release:
2019

Borderlands 3 improves upon almost every line of the signature franchise recipe, but seems to forget about some of the most important ingredients in the process. The game is a bit of a poorly optimised mess, for starters, especially when playing on PC or in local splitscreen, and though Borderlands 2 was just about able to get away with its unique sense of internet humour in 2012, that same brand of juvenile comedy just doesn't quite land as effectively seven years later, especially with two villains – The Calypso Twins – nowhere near as memorable as Handsome Jack. 

Still, when it comes to gameplay, this is the best Borderlands has ever been. Shooting feels fast and furious, and every weapon somehow manages to appear handcrafted despite the procedural generation working away behind all those delicious loot drops. Gearbox also took the time to listen to its fans for this sequel, delivering on long requested features like separate loot instancing, talking protagonists, and level scaling for drop-in/drop-out co-op. It's just a shame that a few blemishes hold Borderlands 3 back from being as truly exceptional as its older sibling. 

4. Tales from the Borderlands

Best Borderlands games

(Image credit: Telltale)

Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch
Developer:
Telltale Games
Release:
2014

While Tales from the Borderlands is far from your typical Borderlands experience, it does more than any other entry in the franchise to flesh out the world of Pandora and make you care (like, really care) about its inhabitants. Telltale's point-and-click adventure spinoff is an earnest and hilarious wild goose chase of a story, chronicling the escapades of four unconventional Vault Hunters in the wake of Borderlands 2's dramatic climax.

Telltale's smart writing and lo-fi visuals prove to be a perfect fit for the Borderlands universe, yet the studio leaves its own mark on the series while still remaining faithful to Gearbox's original vision. It's not just the funniest Borderlands game in the series so far, it's one of the funniest games you'll ever play. Despite a few technical hiccups here and there, Tales absolutely deserves to be sat among the best entries in the series to date.  

3. Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep A Wonderlands One-shot Adventure

Best Borderlands games

(Image credit: 2K)

Platform(s): PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One
Developer:
Gearbox
Release:
2021

Originally the fourth slice of campaign DLC for Borderlands 2 - released on June 25, 2013 - Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep was given a standalone version alongside the arrival of Tiny Tina's Wonderlands. To give it its full name, Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep: A Wonderlands One-shot Adventure does not require Borderlands 2 to play, and while essentially the same game, it does include a smattering of extra new features. Set after Borderlands 2, Tina and the first group of Vault Hunters decide to play a game of Bunkers and Badasses, Pandora's take on Dungeons and Dragons. Tina herself dons the role of dungeon master (Bunker Master, in this instance) and changes the makeup of the world as the story unfolds. As fun as it is zany, the standalone version of Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep is almost as good as Borderlands gets. 

2. Tiny Tina's Wonderlands

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands

(Image credit: Gearbox)

Platform(s): PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One
Developer:
Gearbox
Release:
2021

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is an evolution of the series' Assault on Dragon Keep in just about every way. While shooting just about everything that moves in a frantic manner, Will Arnett and Andy Samberg offer their voices in what is some of the silliest and most humorous dialogue you'll find in a video game. At one point the cast of Wonderlands, - which also includes Ashly 'Aloy' Burch as Tina and comedian Wanda Sykes as a robot called Frette - 'kill the ocean', explaining why the sharks are walking. It really is a great cast that effortlessly pulls off a completely absurd premise, which is that this is a game of Dungeons and Dragons being played inside Borderlands. What's not to like? 

1. Borderlands 2

Best Borderlands games

(Image credit: Gearbox)

Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch
Developer:
Gearbox
Release:
2012

Love it or hate it, you can't deny that Borderlands 2 marked an important turning point for the franchise, one where Gearbox whittled away at the contours of its sleeper hit to land on something wholly self-assured in its own identity. The resulting product spawned an entire fanbase of franchise faithful, even as it alienated those who had enjoyed the original game, but weren't so fond of the sequel's amplified sense of humour.

Even with its polarising tone, however, Borderlands 2 still exemplifies the best of Borderlands, and is largely responsible for why the series is still so beloved today. Gorgeously rendered locales, compelling class combat, and a genuinely interesting story with an all-time classic antagonist in the form of Handsome Jack, this is a Vault Hunt that's still being played and replayed by thousands of people today, and for good reason. Sure, parts of Borderlands 2 have dated in all the worst kind of ways, but this is still an exceptional adventure for its time, and one that continues to be the touchstone for the series at large. 

Check out our full list of Borderlands 3 Shift codes (opens in new tab), or watch our Borderlands story recap (opens in new tab) video to catch up on everything that's happened so far.


Alex Avard
Alex Avard

I'm GamesRadar's Features Writer, which makes me responsible for gracing the internet with as many of my words as possible, including reviews, previews, interviews, and more. Lucky internet! 

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