Ever since it first appeared Borderlands has become one of the most beloved game franchises going. There’s just something addictive about the world of Pandora and everything that comes with it. Whether it’s the vast menagerie of creatures trying to kill you or the horde of bandits attempting the same, fans of the games can’t get enough of that cell-shaded action. Sure enough, the ends haven’t been what you’d call satisfying, but the endless grind rarely gets boring as you continue on your quest to grab that delicious loot. After all, who doesn’t love a gun that spits firey death?
If this were the only reason for the outpouring of love it receives then that flame would’ve died a long time ago. No, a game like this only truly reaches legendary status due to its main protagonists. Let’s face it if the classes and characters available to you are paper thin and, worse still, boring then you’re not going to stick around very long. So with that in mind, and with Borderlands 3 on the horizon, it’s time to rank every playable character across all four games so far.
The Best Borderlands Characters
It pains me to have to put Rhys this far down the list because Tales From the Borderlands is still a go-to game whenever the mood takes me but as Telltale have bit the big one, and there will be no sequel to the brilliant first game then here is where he has to stay, at least for now. When Borderlands 3 finally hits the shelves in September this year, then all that might very well change, but until then poor Rhys is just going to have to settle for propping up the table.
It might seem strange to have Fiona higher up the list than Rhys, but there are a few good reasons for this. 1: She has a very fetching hat. 2: She’s a con-woman, even if she isn’t that good at it. 3: She has a sneaky pistol up her sleeve. 4: She’s funny as hell. In all honesty, the last point is the most prevalent as Tales From the Borderlands is a laugh riot from start to finish, but it’s Fiona who stands out as the top comedy turn. If for no other reason than the “Bro” scene where she’s imitating Rhys and Vaughn’s friendship.
It might have something to do with not being able to fully get to grips with the psycho class that means Krieg shows up here. It seems a little bit like a cop-out if you choose what is basically a human tank to hack and slash your way across Pandora and though there may be subtle nuances to his character if there are they’ve yet to rear their ugly head. It might also have something to do with the fact that you could only get him as DLC at the not cheap $9.99 that kind of sticks in the throat. Hell, Netflix is less expensive than that.
Another DLC option for Borderlands 2 but at least Gaige had a little more in her arsenal. First off, if you’d pre-ordered the game, then you’d receive her free of charge which is always a nice little bonus and secondly, she had quite the active Twitter account for a while which is just a clever bit of marketing by Gearbox. The Mechromancer class is a nice touch, and Deathtrap is always useful to have around in the fight, but the best part of Gaige is the ability to choose just how easy or insanely difficult you want to make controlling her through her skill tree.
Claptrap is considered a fan favorite when it comes to the franchise due to his sense of humor and undoubted cowardice, but if you play through the game enough, then you might find that he grates on you just a little over time. If he hasn’t then you can play through Borderlands: The Pre Sequel with him and it’s an exciting experience. His point of view is a lot lower than any other character you’ll come across which can be quite disorientating the first time you use him, but he does have the ability to unlock Action Packages which no-body else does.
More DLC goodness here, or money-grabbing exploitation of fans depending on your viewpoint, and at least this allows you to play as everyone’s favorite megalomaniac dictator, Handsome Jack. Yes, okay, he might only be a look-a-like doppelganger but at least you can take some solace in knowing that if you’ve ever wanted to see Jack get his comeuppance then all you have to do is stand in a room filled with bad guys and let them riddle his body with bullets until he is very, very dead. Oh come on, admit it, we’ve all done it.
Lady Aurelia Hammerlock
The sister of Sir Hammerlock, Lady Aurelia is a great choice of character if you’d rather not see the whites of your victims eyes but pop their heads off from a great distance with a purple quality Jakobs sniper rifle. It also doesn’t hurt that she has the Cold As Ice skill which allows you to throw a Frost Diadem Shard at her potential targets that will continually beat the snot out of them until they’re dead before it moves on to the next person.
If you’re a fan of the gunzerker class in Borderlands 2, then we’re just not going to see eye to eye on this one, and for that, I apologize. But being able to wield any two guns at the same time while going all John Woo on your targets kind of feels like you might have just found the easiest way of playing through the game. Not one for the purists.
Before he was Handsome Jack’s bodyguard and pet loader, Wilhelm was an enforcer and a bloody good one at that. He’s also quite fun to play in Borderlands: The Pre Sequel even if at times he does feel like a bit of a cheat, considering how much mayhem he can cause without really thinking about it. The Wolf and Saint drones are pretty handy to have around as one attacks while the other supports which can get you out of a tight spot. Usually, one you’ve caused yourself.
Considering how much of a hard time I gave Salvador for being the easy setting on the game it should only be fair to treat Axton the same way except that I can’t help myself, I just like the guy. Maybe it’s his rugged good looks or his chiseled jaw that does it for me. Or perhaps it’s the fact that using his Sabre Turret is about placement instead of just point and shoot but here’s one commando that deserves a parade of honor in my book.
If you want to get down and dirty and chop everything you comes across on Pandora into tiny little pieces, then Brick is the guy for you. Just like every other character in the game, he can use whatever weapon he comes across, but it’s with the melee ones that he comes into his own. Slice and dice your way through opponents or blow them up, the choice is yours.
Just like the Hunter class suggests, Mordecai is at his best when he’s picking people off with a sniper rifle. Being able to use precision marksmanship in a game like Borderlands seems almost counter-intuitive, but it’s a blessing in disguise when you don’t want to get swamped by a hundred skags. His pet falcon Bloodwing gets in the act as well, being able to daze multiple targets on the command which allows Mordecai to remove their heads with a simple squeeze of his trigger finger.
The Sheriff Of Lynchwood is a badass. Plain and simple. Packing six-shooters like a Pandorian Clint Eastwood she’s easily a match for any of the criminals and wild animals you come across during Borderlands: The Pre Sequel and will dispatch them with relative ease, especially if you’re using her Showdown Action Skill. The only drawback to her character is that she doesn’t have a horse on which to ride across Pandora.
And while we’re on the subject of total badasses, Roland has to rank right up there amongst the best that Pandora has to offer. A soldier who is quite happy toating any gun he can lay his hands on, though one who is at his most deadly with shotguns or automatic weapons, Roland is the perfect middle ground if you want to play the game with as much freedom as possible.
Yeah, I do not doubt that this is going to ruffle quite a few feathers as Zer0 is seemingly everyone’s favorite character across the entire franchise. And what’s there not to like about him? He’s a Ninja Assassin who comes with one of the best swords in gaming history and can cut his opponents in two before they realize what’s happened to them, but it’s my list, and though I loved playing through Borderlands 2 with Zer0 he isn’t my favorite. Thank God we don’t have a comments section yet.
The former Lance Assassin and probably the toughest s.o.b to ever serve the Crimson Lance, Athena is the definition of Gladiator Class. She can take some getting used to when you first use her in Borderlands: The Pre Sequel but once you tap into her rhythm an style of play then she’s easily the best thing going in that game. Her shield is as deadly in attack as it is in defense and look at that gun she’s holding. It’s nearly as big as she is.
Lilith And Maya
Yeah, sorry, a bit of a cop-out this but I really couldn’t separate these two, and in all honesty, I didn’t want to. Whenever you play a game for the first time, and especially one that lets you pick and choose from a selection of characters and classes, it’s usually the one you pick that gets you hooked on the game and for me that was Lilith. So when Borderlands 2 came around, I played through with Maya, the same thing happened. Besides, if you get tired of freezing people in mid-air and then emptying a clip or two into them, then there might not be any hope for you.