In a free-to-play world, where Ninjas carry guns and always have a sword handy, it’s best not to piss one off.
In developer Digital Extreme’s Warframe, you are a Tenno. An ancient warrior, frozen in time and then thawed out centuries later to face off against several different clans. There are the Grineer, a race of militarized human clones, the Corpus, a mega-corporation and the Infested, victims of the Technocyte virus. The Tenno use an advanced exoskeletal armor system with unique abilities, called Warframes, along with a rifle, a pistol, and the very important and ever so awesome Ninja sword, to complete objectives, capture intel, and slice and dice through their enemies.
Warframe has been out on the PC for around a year and has garnered pretty favorable reviews. With my PC being old and outdated, my only experience with the game has come on the PS4. The game is free-to-play, and can be played fully without ever spending a dime of real money. Weapons and warframes can be purchased with in-game credits you earn or Platinum which can be purchased on the PlayStation Store. Prices for platinum go from $4.99 for 75 Platinum, up to $29.99 for 570 Platinum. There are also some bundles that include a special rare weapon mod with an even higher number of Platinum with a price range of $49.99 up to $149.99. You could end up spending quite a bit on this game, even if it is free-to-play. Then again, you could play the game for days and never spend a real penny.
This is a game with a somewhat unique art style, that uses dim lighting and dark shadows to help create the overall feel for the game. While this isn’t a bad thing, it does take away from the overall graphics of the game. Not that they are bad, it’s just you can’t really see all of the details in this lighting. When the lights do go up, the game reveals a level of detail that is fitting for a next gen title. I was impressed with the warframes themselves, as each one has its own look, as well as its own attributes for combat.
The game has a bit of an RPG element added in with the usage of blueprints. These are plans used in the creation of weapons, sentinels, warframes, skins, helmets and other items rather than purchasing them from the Market with platinum. Every blueprint outlines the required resources, credits, and time required to build the equipment in the foundry. Blueprints can be purchased in the market with credits, received as a daily login reward, or rewarded as the end mission bonus item from alert missions.
Warframe is a third person shooter that also does a great job with swordplay. While the rifles and pistols available can be upgraded and made to be ever so lethal, the sword is by far my favorite weapon. You can just run up to a guy and melee him a couple of times with the sword, and that can be an effective plan of attack, but, holding down R1 for a charged sword attack is by far the most pleasing way to extinguish your foe. This attack requires timing and finesse since it can be stopped part way through, but pull it off and your foe will be left in two glorious pieces at your feet. Well worth the effort and a couple of start-stops if you pull it off successfully.
Gameplay is where this game can shine or be a total pain. The game is designed to be played cooperatively and when you get a group of gamers together willing to work as a team, it’s great. Get a group of gamers together wanting to do their own thing, and the game loses its luster. One of the game types is called Defense, where wave after wave of aliens come at you trying to destroy an artifact. Working together as a team, a small group can work together to hold that position as if they were larger in numbers. The problem arises when you have a couple of guys go their own way and try to Rambo it through the aliens. They may earn more kills than you, but the overall objective can be lost much easier. Finding a group of like-minded gamers is definitely a plus and really is key to fully enjoying the game.
There are ten different game types spread out across the vast solar system of the game. While this seems like a nice variety, the missions can still seem a little monotonous at times. Game types include Assassination, where you’ll work as a group (hopefully) to take out planet’s unique boss, Capture, which will have you searching for, incapacitating, and then capturing a VIP, Sabotage, where you’ll be searching another ship’s generator and taking it out, and Extermination, which works like an old school terrorist hunt, where you’ll have a set number of bad guys to take out and a constant counter on the screen telling you how many are left to blast. This turned out to be my favorite mode as I love the idea of having a set number of bad guys to take out, and seeing that number slowly get down to zero.
Warframe is a fun free-to-play game that fits in with the launch line-up of the PS4 nicely. It’s not a groundbreaking game, and it’s not in contention for game of the year, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun. Find you a group of gamers that are willing to work together, and you can easily spend hours traveling through the solar system, taking out aliens and bad guys right and left.