Warframe Review

Space ninjas. 'Nuff said.

Free to play. Three simple words that have defined an ever-growing trend in today’s gaming landscape. From mobile games and MOBAs to full, triple-A releases, the movement has come a long away and has already crept onto next-gen platforms.

Developed by Digital Extremes – the same team behind The Darkness II – Warframe is best described is an online co-op shooter with RPG elements. Set in the distant future, players becomepart of an ancient alien race known as the Tenno. Re-awoken in the midst of a galactic war, Tenno agents from across the galaxy are banding together to undo the efforts of their tyrannical rivals, the Grineer.

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It’s a great set-up and one that immediately does away with any meaningless exposition. There are no overdrawn cut-scenes here and no dramatic monologues; within five minutes of booting up Warframe you’re locked, loaded and ready to kick some alien ass.

For an online game, the lack of narrative is understandable but its complete absence leaves something of a void. Warframe’s myriad of operations are spread across a galactic map, broken into planets and their surrounding waypoints. There are no snippets of lore or information when going into these missions and no sense of context or continuity. You’re simply gunning down hordes of Grineer, Corpus and Infested, earning credits in the process.

Missions come in several forms, though each has you carrying out the same actions. You’ll go from room to room, blasting away at your enemies, until you reach a point of interest (prisoners, high-value targets, control node etc.) From here you make a beeline to the extraction zone and prep for the next mission.

It’s fun at first but a sense of repetition soons kicks in. The only missions that felt sufficiently different were survival modes, pitting four agents against wave after wave of enemies. It has a very Mass Effect 3 vibe to it. In fact, there are a number of similarities that can be drawn between Warframe and BioWare’s sci-fi sequel.

Your play-style hinges almost entirely on which Warframe you opt for. These are essentially exoskeleton suits, each with their own pros, cons and unique abilities. The Loki, for example, excels in trickery by placing decoys, whereas the Mag uses telekinetic powers. No matter which Warframe you choose, they will all have access to a primary, secondary and melee weapon, as well as an amalgam of acrobatic moves. These include wall running, sliding, and diving which all look very nice in motion but rarely add anything to the actual gameplay experience.

The shooting itself feels meaty, with both players and enemies having shield and health bars. Abilities such as the Mag’s Pull or Crush (which are mapped to the touchpad) will also require energy, a resource that can be looted from corpses or the smattering of containers strewn about each map. Pursuing its ninja-esque vibe, Warframe also features directional melee combat, allowing for light and heavy attacks. Though hard to time, they can deliver lethal amounts of damage. One of the most rewarding actions in Warframe is slicing an enemy in half with a well-placed blade stroke.

Completing objectives and racking up kills will shower players with credits and affinity. The latter is basically a stand-in for XP, though instead of being universal it filters into each piece of equipment you carry into battle. Credits, as you may have already guessed, are Warframe’s core currency. They are used to buy resources, blueprints, and other trinkets from the in-game Market.

Credits are also needed to use the Foundry. Here, players can use materials and blueprints to produce anything from weapons and Warframes to other miscellaneous items like the coveted Orokin Keys.

Warframe is a solid online experience all-round, though it’s ultimately let down by the amount of time and effort needed to progress. After a while missions start yielding poor amounts of Credits and Affinity in relation to your progress, leading to endless grinding and farming. Even the daily log-in bonuses do little to incentivise continual play.

Of course, there is a way to speed everything up, but it doesn’t come cheap. Warframe features a premium currency – Platinum – which is used to instantly unlocked those items you otherwise have to labour towards unlocking. While micro-transactions are nothing new, Warframe’s are expensive. The smallest add-on, priced at £3.85, will bag you 75 Platinum, just enough to lock some of the store’s lowest-end items.

What’s Good:

  • Plenty of content to sift through.
  • Completely free to download and play.
  • Looks great with plenty of aesthetic variety.
  • Controls are responsive.
  • An in-depth resource/crafting system.

What’s Bad:

  • Micro-transaction prices are obscene.
  • Missions can get repetitive.
  • Advanced mechanics go largely unexplained.
  • Doesn’t take long for the grind to kick in.
  • Lacks a narrative thread/context.
  • The occasional game-breaking glitch.

If you’re looking for a decent online shooter to play with friends, you can do a lot worse. Warframe is a treat for the eyes and though it may lack context, it still plays incredibly well. It’s just a shame that Digital Extremes is so obviously putting the squeeze on anyone fed up with hours of credit-farming.

Score: 7/10

16 Comments

  1. Seven out of ten? Seriously? According to you it has:

    – Obscene micro transactions
    – Repetitive missions
    – Bad explanation of game mechanics
    – Grind
    – No story
    – Game breaking bugs.

    And THIS lands it a seven!? I don’t know about you, but to me that just seems ridiculous.

    • transbaconist, you sound like my maths teacher in school. 10 is perfect and I will take a point off for any mistake, including commas. People use to end up with -20!

      My way of reading the score is that the good things outweighs a bit the bad ones.

    • Free-to-play, that probably saved it from a lower score.

    • What would you give it?

    • As already said, the positives largely outweigh the negatives.

      Though I listed them as “cons” some people will look past the micro-transaction stuff and perhaps even the repetitive mission design.

  2. Tried this game for an evening and deleted it the next day. It looks nice, but its crap to be honest. F2P as usual never seems to deliver a decent experience, and this proves it once again. As bacon_nuts said above, it has lots of problems and I’m not sure how this gains a 7/10 really. I would say 5/10 at most with the problems it has. This review puts it one point lower than BF4? Strange.

    • I did pretty much the same. Downloaded it, deleted it about an hour later.

  3. I’ve had a few games and enjoyed it, but I don’t feel any strong urge to load it up any time soon

  4. I think if I had someone to hammer the coop with I’d be on it a lot. Sadly I don’t do have only played the intro. Will get around to it at some point but those micro transactions sound rather expensive!

  5. I’ve played this a few times as well and really enjoyed it. Its very geared towards micro transactions though, to the point that without that you are disadvantaged which is a no no from me.

    As a freebie it kills an hour or two quite easily but I wouldn’t personally pay for it.

  6. I didn’t mind it, might play it now and again, now Blacklight Retribution, that is awful.

  7. I’ve played it on PC before, and playing it on PS4 was a disappointment. The combat mimicks how you’d play with mouse and keyboard, so you can’t do what feels natural and use the left stick to change attack-direction with melee attacks. You need to aim at an enemy at all times with the reticule.

    I suppose it’s all about habits, but I’d rather play this on PC. It’s not very demanding.

  8. I’ve been playing this and I quite like it. Nothing spectacular but quite good fun.
    I was planning on supporting the devs by buying some gear but then I saw the prices. Just ridiculous! You’d have to buy the 500 platinum bundle to get a few items but that costs £23! And even then that would only buy you maybe 1 or 2 new weapons and a new “Warframe”. So I refuse to pay for anything unless they change the cost of these so-called “micro” transactions.
    I’m glad the reviewer picked up on the costs as it’s good to know I’m not the only one who thought they were too expensive.

    • They really are quite extortionate, aren’t they?

      Players can always earn credits or even find parts/blueprints for Warframes and equipment but this is no short process.

      • From what I’ve read about the PC version you can get most items in game but it takes 100’s of hours of play to get them. I’m simply not willing to put that much time into this game. Spending 10’s of hours using the same gear hoping you might find something better will get boring very quickly.
        They SERIOUSLY need to either reduce the cost of items to buy or reduce the cost of platinum to buy. If they did that then I’d be tempted to buy some stuff and support the game.

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