Out of curiosity I thought I’d spend a little time with Warframe, Digital Extremes’ free to play PvE phenomenon that’s steadily evolved over time into a game with quite the following. Now that Destiny 2 has taken a similar route and gone FTP it seemed worthwhile to see what kind of experience I’d get playing a game that on the surface shares some similarities. I’d barely touched the game previously (maybe an hour) so my return again feels like a completely fresh start. It’s changed a lot in that time too so every visit really has been like playing a new game!
In Warframe you take on the role of one of the Tenno – a race of warriors who use bio-mechanical suits known as Warframes to take on a number of factions that you soon find yourself at war with throughout the Solar System. Not a great or original storyline but it keeps it simple. The game itself is a third person action game that is part melee fighter and part shooter depending on how you want to fighter and lets you invite a group of friends to help you take on the challenges presented to you. The game eases you into the world initially by sending you off on what I’m assuming are introductory missions to unlock parts of your ship which become a major part in your progression throughout the game.
The missions so far have been good in throwing a pile of enemies at you regularly who will chase you down once they spot you. I found that out after spending too much time fiddling about in menus – like Destiny even if you’re playing solo the game won’t pause. I learned that quickly enough! Interestingly the game runs with the concept of “lives” during the course of these missions of which you have five. Every time you have to revive it will cost some of your hard earned credits. Though it might seem like the odds are against you the tools at your disposal from here can make you a formidable opponent and soon enough you’ll be carving through enemies with ease and look good doing it too.
One thing I really like about my time with Warframe is that the individual missions I’ve played so far are in bite sized chunks making it a very easy game to pick up and play. Most of these missions have taken at most fifteen minutes each and that makes for a nice friendly experience that you can take on in your own time. The maps themselves are large enough to require you to explore a little but not so much that you lose track of your goals. Best of all the load times are fast so you are into the game with little to hold you back or get you frustrated.
The gun play is much better than I had expected too and is good fun. My guy started off with a bow, a pistol and a staff and I am getting a lot of use out of that bow surprisingly thanks to it being quick to draw and VERY kind with the aim assist. Tomb Raider has nothing on the shots you can make with this bow! Being able to hit enemies with powered shots that pin them to walls doesn’t get old either. All your gear accrues experience so if you commit to your starting gear it seems they might last you a long time, though the option is still there to purchase or build other weapons to fit your changing play style.
All of this doesn’t mean the game is something that’s going to be a quick and easy run to the end. I still encountered enemies who made short work of me and my little Warframe and needed to steer clear of in the open maps. Judging from what is available to unlock and construct you’re going to have to grind hard to get anything substantial or powerful but apparently (almost) everything you can purchase can be earned too which is pretty neat. I don’t know yet how far I might go in that respect but it’s nice to have some options.
Visually the game looks pretty good with the Warframes and their customization options really standing out. Seeing as you spend a lot of your time watching it from a third person it makes a lot of sense they look good. Environments are nicely detailed and it’s cool seeing some of the verticality in areas where you can head down to engage enemies on the ground or climb through pipes to take them out from above.
Something that I’ve seen already is how open and cool the community is. I’d only be playing for a couple of hours and people would pop onto the game’s public chat channel and offer help to anyone needing assistance. Almost every other game you’d find trash talking or abuse but here it seems people just want to help you in getting the most fun out of the game. It was said so nicely too I just had to thank them for asking. Incredible!
I can’t really “review” Warframe because I know I’d need to spend some substantial time to have any depth of knowledge to back up my words. But I can at least say that I am enjoying it so far and it looks like there’s plenty of content here for players wanting to devote their time to a single game or who are looking for something familiar to jump into with friends. That you can do so with little investment up front does make it something worth checking out and seeing for yourself. 🙂
Warframe is out now for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Switch.