Being a Space Ninja, in Space, doing in Ninja stuff can definitely be fun – but does it stay fun?
In Warframe you play as a Tenno, member of an almost-extinct race, enslaved by the Grineer, and able to wear the Warframes, or battle-suits, making you effectively a 1-man army.
The game is developed by Digital Extremes as a sort of non-sequel to their previous outing in Dark Sector, reusing assets and a few story elements.
Warframe opened its doors in an Open Beta in March 2013, initially for Windows PC, and later for Sony’s Playstation 4 and most recently for Microsoft XBox One, and is actually still in Beta, putting out semi-regular updates.
Following the Free-2-Play (F2P) structure that has become commonplace in modern gaming, players can easily pick up the game, but will be constantly faced with the option to put money into it to keep it fun.
As of late June, news broke of Perfect World looking to acquire all outstanding shares in Digital Extremes, but as the nature of these things, none of parties involved are able or allowed to discuss this matter while talks are ongoing.
The gameplay of Warframe is focused almost exclusively at arcade-style Player-vs-Environment (PvE), with most games taking 5-15 minutes from you start a mission until it is complete, and the exceptions taking up to an hour for the best players in Endless Defence or Endless Survival game-modes. This means you can start it up for a couple of quick missions, or hook up with friends and randoms for a longer game-session.
The latest versions have added non-consensual Player-vs-Player (PvP), in an asymmetrical game-mode none-the-less, branching out from the pure arcade-PvE and adding another layer to the game.
With about 18 game-modes, or mission types, there is a pretty wide range represented, and with additional conditions such as Nightmare Mode, random secondary objectives or being attacked by an assassin, there is enough variation for a while, though it is not enough to guarantee longevity for all.
|Solar Rail Conflicts||PvP||Mission|
The wide range of Warframes, or suits, weapons, modules and stances for melee weapons, means that there is also a lot of play-styles to try out, though after a while you will likely find something that feels right and stick with it. You may prefer the commonplace Rhino-with-a-Boltor, or perhaps an Oberon, wielding a great big Scindo axe?
Equipment requires leveling up, and grinding resources, and is one of the areas where you’ll quickly be inclined to spend money – buying gear with real money means skipping some of the grind, and unlocks more ability in the gear by having it come “pre-fitted” with a booster aka an Orikin device.
The game-modes, the weaponry all work to hold players interested in the game and in the grind, and this is good, because there is yet still not a lot of story going on. Sure, there is a backstory about the Tenno (space-ninjas), the Grineer, the Corpus, the Lotus, and all the other parties, and the backstory is reflected upon ingame, but the game itself does not really tell its own story. This is perfectly OK, as it is still in an Open Beta state, and Digital Extremes are still adding to the game; meanwhile, they are holding small mini-events around story-segments where players compete to mine the most “Cryotic”, or have to figure out the meaning behind horrible rhymes.
The Open Beta state of the game is largely the biggest issue it has – it is a VERY pretty game, but it is also a VERY buggy game. Prior to making this piece, we made an attempt at a video showing various funny bugs and glitches, but simply couldn’t keep up with the rate at which new things were discovered. These range from spawning in without a head(!) or weaponry, over text showing up in the wrong language, to just constantly falling without being able to do anything. Cosmetic glitches are trivially outnumbered by game-breaking bugs, and while these types of things can be expected in a Beta, Digital Extremes, and by extension Sony and Microsoft are happily charging money for parts of the experience despite all. It does look like a case of chasing the content-rabbit to keep the players engaged, at the cost of proper testing and bug fixing.
Other issues include the constant grind for Blueprints and resources, that quickly dominate your gaming, and the PvE regular, the speed-runners, who may join your (public) missions and complete it for you before you have really noticed what is going on. could you not draw a link between the thirst for new content being driven by the community? the bug fixes are just not possible as new content takes priority
Then, is Warframe a good, fun game? It is, especially if you’re looking for something that you can pick up and play with a few friends without commitments or long investments. Playing solo will quickly become tedious, but advancing through gear, through missions and planets, and through Mastery Ranks with your mates can be a lot fun through cooperation and competition. For those groups looking for more, there are also clans, through which you can build homebases (Dojos), and launch attacks to conquer Solar Rails.
I’m giving it a 3-out-of-5 – it is not yet released, and there is still a lot of things to be addressed before we are looking at a complete game.
The game was reviewed on the Playstation 4, Beta-versions 13 through 14.8.
Responsible for many of the day-to-day operations, for messing up website code, and generally for whipping the rest of the team into an odd shape, G took on the Evil Overlord title because the rest ran around like headless chicken. He doubles as the other main host on Rated-R, when actually around and awake.