Warframe sets the standard for online cooperative shooters. It won’t be the most graphically stunning game you’ll play this year but that’s okay because it offers so much more. The gameplay is what kept me coming back again and again. Even when I was receiving recommendations from the system to potentially take a break, I couldn’t help but embark on yet another quest.
The gameplay is smooth, fast paced and varied. I enjoyed alternating between my melee and ranged weapons to combat the enemies in my path. I was always clear with my objective and in which direction I was meant to be going. I quickly discovered that the game rewards you for exploration and it pays to explore alternative paths in search for loot.
There are three classes to choose from. These being Excalibur, Mag and Volt. Each have their own pros and cons. I chose Excalibur for the most balanced experience. I appreciated being informed of the class progression system at the beginning. This helped me to make a more informed decision whilst also ensuring that I wouldn’t regret my choice later.
The graphics are reasonably good but at times do appear to be outdated by a console generation. In fairness to Warframe, the game was initially released in 2013. Textures zoomed in on can lack detail compared to more modern games. I also found that textures in the distance can become blurry too.
The game has very smooth input. I found the game most enjoyable when using a keyboard and mouse over a controller. I felt the controller slowed down the pace of the gameplay slightly. Although it’s also still worth knowing that Warframe is well optimised for controllers and provides an excellent gameplay experience.
Straight forward keyboard mapping was also available to create a more personalised experience that suited my preferred style of play. There are also many more options available to customise the game for the best possible gameplay too which is a positive.
The experience system is very rewarding and encourages versatility. Your weapons will gather experience the more times you use them. Warframe also does an excellent job at using experience to promote squad gameplay. Experience was also gained from the actions of my squad members. This not only helped me level up quicker but also supported me on more challenging quests. Taking part in squads enabled me to overcome increased waves of enemies that I would have certainly struggled to take down alone.
In-game chat was very traditional with a box at the bottom left side used to communicate with others. Completing a quest offers the usual in-game item rewards and credits that can be spent on developing your character.
The health system slightly reminded me of Halo with a regenerating shield that would protect your core health. This enabled me to combat my enemies with an increased sense of confidence knowing that any damage up to a certain point would be quickly restored. I consider this decision to be crucial to the fun factor that the game provides.
The variety of enemies are acceptable but can also be slightly repetitive with the majority appearing to be the same individual. This is an area where I would have liked to have seen more creativity.
Warframe finds the perfect balance between complexity and simplicity with indepth mods and upgrade combinations that can keep you pondering for hours whilst offering basic fun and addictive gameplay at the same time. Examples of this would be the system hacks required to open new areas of the map. The game didn’t make me feel overwhelmed and also made me feel like it was okay to gradually learn as I play.
I initially didn’t care too much for the plot. I found that the opening was too fast paced to gather a core understanding of the events that were taking place. I don’t really feel that the story is well explained. I found the characters to be stereotypical who also lacked personality. Early on, I found Vor to be a boring and repetitive villain. The holograms of Vor that appear on the right side of my screen failed to engage. The silent protagonist was also a minor disappointment. My perspective changed when I met Ordis who added humour to the game with its inability to suppress its opinion whilst attempting to remain professional. This allowed me to warm up to other characters as I continued playing. Warframe is a very social game. You can rely on other real-world players to provide unpredictability and companionship as you venture through the world.
AI (Next level)
The games’ AI is inconsistent. I was initially impressed when I hid behind a steel crate to perform a stealth attack. The enemy remained unaware of my location which was positive. I was also impressed with how enemies would follow me across increased distances in groups. However, there were also times when I would run behind an enemy and they would not become aware of my presence.
To contradict this, there were other occasions when an enemy would see a glance of me and start firing which impressed me.
I also experienced an issue where I could stand in front of an enemy and they would remain unfazed as if I wasn’t even there. This isn’t meant to happen. I also encountered other issues such as enemies walking through props in the environment along with my own character swinging a sword through a crate as if it wasn’t there. I also noticed that snow would fall within internal environments. Text clashes would also occur between subtitles and in-game recommendations on the bottom left side. The biggest problem I encountered was that I had to manually adjust the in-game resolution along with small temporary lag in popular areas of the game.
Pay To Win
Pay to win is certainly not the case! The business model the game uses is something that I support. The game supports micro transactions for cosmetic items which suits me just fine for someone who just wants to play through the game. This is a model that many, including myself, wish that other companies would adopt.
To conclude, Warframe is a game I would recommend to consumers who aren’t satisfied with the Destiny product or who are looking for a fun cooperative shooter RPG that’s also very addictive. The game clearly has its imperfections but they’re forgivable because of the amount of fun that the gameplay provides. There is also a team that has continuously developed this game with new patches designed to create an optimised, fresh and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
The best game isn’t always the most beautiful game and Warframe is a perfect reminder of that. It also fills me with optimism and excitement of the types of products we’ll experience in the future if future companies choose to model Warframe. I’d give it a solid 4.5/5