Borderlands is one of my favorite video game franchises of all time. Up there with Saint’s Row, the Mordor series, Halo, Gears, Dragon Age, and more! I first got introduced to the series through someone lending me Borderlands, but I never really got into it. I was only around 11. However, when Borderlands 2 dropped I was about 14, and got it for X-Mas. Having matured enough to understand the mature (accepting of all) themes and humor of the series. I however HATED CLAPTRAP! Yet my love was born for the series, and I have played every game since. But which one is the best? Here are the Borderlands games ranked…
7 – New Tales of the Borderlands
With all new game I tend to give them an hour to reel me in. With telltale-like games I tend to watch a walkthrough/let’s play to get an idea of the story. I don’t know exactly what it was about New Tales of the Borderlands, but I just couldn’t find myself engaged in the world. With Tales of the Borderlands, I watched multiple playthroughs and played it myself multiple times. I’ve even recommended it to my telltale loving partner. Yet New Tales of the Borderlands just makes you wish for a true sequel to Tales.
6 – Borderlands 1
The game that would go onto inspire a series; Borderlands 1 was the initial outing to Pandora. With stunning comic book style visuals Borderlands featured an astounding number of unique weapons through its now iconic loot system. The ShootnLoot formula created by this game would go on to be utilized in games such as Destiny, and the wide away of live-service games that swamp the marketplace today.
The original four vault hunters were filled with personality. Bosses were unique, came with comic book like titles and often provided comedy with the subtitle. Such as 9 Toes (he also has 3 balls), the first boss you encounter in you search for the vault. Where Borderlands lacks ,at least base game, is the amount of stuff to do post game. This is where Gearbox would later shine developing on the framework they created and expanding the gaming experience further in each new installment.
5 – Tales of the Borderlands
Tales of the Borderlands features several characters that have previously appeared in the series but choosing to focus on an all-new cast. One of which is voiced by Patrick Warburton, Joe Swanson/David Puddy himself. The finger-gun shoot out scene on Helios station is still one of the best interactions of any game and will have you fall of your chair in laughter.
Fan favorites Handsome Jack, Athena, Zero, and more appear throughout the game. You even get to recruit your own team of vault hunters to raid a vault! Two of the new cast Vaughn and Rhys get introduced into the main series in Borderlands 3. Where Rhys has taken over Atlas and Vaughn was a leader of some bandits.
The story of the game follows an AI of Handsome Jack trying to corrupt Rhys and take over his body. If you want to try a different genre of game set in the Borderlands, you will have to try out Tales of the Borderlands.
4 – Borderlands Pre-Sequel
The Pre-Sequel showed us the somewhat tragic backstory of Borderlands 2’s villain Handsome Jack. With the games’ vault hunters (base game) being characters that appeared in previous games, with two being directly from Borderlands 2. Adding even more backstory and lore to the rich history of the Borderlands. We see that Jack wasn’t always the way he was, he wasn’t ever really the definition of good. Yet the troubled man only tried to save people, even if betrayal and corruption perverted his noble quest.
That’s not taking in mind that according to lore he already had Angel (his daughter) captured by Borderlands 1. Meaning Jack still isn’t winning any Dad of the year awards anytime soon, indicating he was already somewhat corrupted before were introduced to him in the start of the Pre-Sequel.
The game also added some much-enjoyed verticality to the traditional Borderlands gameplay. Utilizing its setting on Elpis, Pandora’s moon, to greatly benefit the player’s experience. It has to be mentioned however that the game sets up a cliffhanger at the start that only gets prolonged into a bigger cliffhanger after the climax of the game. Which never really got a proper follow up in later games, leaving fans like myself wondering what the original direction was.
3 – Tiny Tina’s Wonderland
Tiny Tina’s Wonderland is the royal purple coated spin-off from the main series. Expanding the ideas that premiered in the Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep DLC. The new entry follows a cast of heroes voiced by none other than legends Andy Sandberg and Wanda Sykes with Will Arnett staring as the antagonistic Dragon Lord. Meaning every line of dialogue is sure to entertain you, through the casts expertly, phenomenal performances.
The gameplay is fast, fluid, and just really enjoyable for hours on end. The weapons are creative as always, and the abilities and classes delve deeper into traditional RPG traits. Allowing for greater customization and freedom for different class setups in the post-game. The game is also abundant of really engaging enemy types, both in gameplay and visually. My favorite being the shark creatures that swarm several areas.
2 – Borderlands 3
In Borderlands 3 we were finally given the ability to explore multiple vaults on different planets. Finally, the story picked up from the cliffhanger of Borderlands 2, where Lilith activates the Vault Key Map. The story however fell apart as quickly as a cardboard shield under fire of multiple Browning machine-guns. Having (SPOILER) multiple fan-beloved characters die in such cheap deaths angered fans.
Image Source: Forbes
The DLC however picked up the slack the main story left and actually managed to deliver four separate but equally amazing stories. Three of which focused on beloved fan favorite characters returning to the series.
The game reverts back to the original formula of only 4 playable characters. With gearbox executives making clear that no character DLC’s would be appearing through out the games life-cycle. Their reasoning as research suggested most people only play with their preferred character.
1 – Borderlands 2
The BEAST of all Borderlands games, Borderlands 2 set the bar for all that would follow. Of which many fans will swear never come close to topping the heights of 2. Especially in terms of story and character development. Although the later games will always have the newer re-tweak game mechanics, and better gameplay they won’t have the original Borderlands (1+2, and comics) writer Randy Pitchford. The story is the best one we have ever got and probably will ever get. With the original writer having left Gearbox due to health reasons.
The amount of DLC we got for this monstrous game was enough to make EA have a heart-attack. Yet instead of being cash-grab rip-offs every DLC was rammed packed with content, being absolutely worth your hard-earned cash. Borderlands’ DLC sets the standard for value-for-money.
All the classes were amazingly fun to use, which lent the game to multiple playthroughs. Piled with the quest for ultimate vault hunter and you can find yourself “finishing” Borderlands 2 several times. I myself have finished the story around 13-16 times, across various consoles and characters. The is no question that Borderlands 2 reigns supreme.