Developer: Digital Extremes
Publisher: Digital Extremes
Genre: Third-Person Shooter, Action, Adventure
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: M for Mature
Two years ago, I noticed that one of my friends was playing a game called Warframe. The title intrigued me so I searched for the game on Steam. Warframe is a free-to-play Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) third-person co-op game. I have not always had good experiences with MMO games because they turn out to be substandard with bad graphics or terrible controls. Free-to-play games are filled with micro-transactions which I don’t like either. Warframe started in 2013 but the idea began in 2000 when Digital Extremes (DE) called the project Dark Sector. Dark Sector was released in 2008, but it was a completely different game by that point. Digital Extremes tried to find a publisher for Warframe, but they were never able to find a partner, so they decided to publish the game themselves (PC Gamer, July 15, 2016). Since Digital Extremes released Warframe in 2013, they have made the F2P model work by continuing to update the game with new content. I have played more than two hundred hours of Warframe because of it’s lore, the fun the gameplay provides, and the community of hospitable and wonderfully pleasant players to play alongside.
In Warframe, players fight different factions in the solar system who are all at war for domination of the system. Warframes have a large arsenal of swords, guns, and energy weapons. Warframe has a mature rating due to the graphic combat which features realistic blood splatter and the dismemberment of enemies. As an example, When a player shoots an enemy with an arrow the enemy will fly through the air until they are impaled against the wall where they hang for a few seconds, or a player can cut an enemy in half with a sword. Enemies also scream when they die their bodies remain on the ground for a few seconds after their death. The enemies include both men and women as well as animals which can all be dismembered or cut up. Warframe is not as graphic as Doom but the blood and gore are very visible during gameplay.
Players control their Warframes through a psychic link that the two share. There are several story missions that develop the history of that link which takes on a somewhat religious tone. There is no mention of God other than in connection with the Orokin who considered themselves godlike. Warframe’s lore contains references to humanity evolving into the Orokin then later other races, but the game never goes into much detail about the evolution.
Warframe begins with the player’s Warframe being awakened from cryo-sleep by a character calling herself the Lotus. The player is in an Orokin facility on Earth having been awakened by Captain Vor of the Grineer. Through the opening missions, the player (called a Tenno) learns that Orokins disappeared hundreds of years ago while the Tenno slept. The Orokin have been replaced with the Grineer, the Corpus, and the Infested. These three factions are at constant war with one another to control the solar system. The missions in the game reveal more about why the Tenno was in cryo-sleep and the universe of Warframe. Warframe takes place in the very distant future in our own solar system. Players eventually get access to a ship that allows them to fly to the different planets and moons in the system. The lore and history of the game are complex and deep. I could write several articles on the depth and complexity of the games history but luckily for me there are good Warframe Wikis which have already done that.
The player chooses one of three Warframes to start the game Each Warframe has special abilities that unlock as the player levels it up. Once the player gets his/her ship they then have access to the solar system. In order to get from planet to planet, the player must unlock gateways by completing waypoint tasks on each planet. The Grineer or the Corpus are in control of different planets while the Infested infect waypoints within those planets. Each waypoint has a specific mission type such as spy, defend, point control, or exterminate. Players can replay the missions in order to gather resources which are specific to each planet or moon. The open worlds of Cetus and Fortuna also have fishing and mining which allow the player to gather more resources. Through the missions, players get blueprints for new Warframes and weapons which they can craft in their ships foundry. The ship also has a mod station that allows the player to improve the abilities of Warframes and weapons. The Warframes allow unique play styles in the games. Each Warframes powers fit it into roles as offensive, defensive, or support. I find it very rewarding to level up and mod a Warframe for a specific role and play that role in a four-player squad.
What originally drew me into Warframe was it’s look and lore; but what keeps me coming back is that it never pressures me to work toward any particular goal. Two hundred plus hours of gameplay and I have not unlocked all the worlds in the solar system. I’ve spent most of my time trying to get specific Warframes for my collection. Digital Extremes has added open world areas on Earth and Venus which come with new activities. The open worlds have events such as invasions or boss fights which have special rewards.
Warframe is not without its downside though. The game is very complex and at times may require having the Wiki open to navigate through the game. Warframe requires a lot of grind to get the resources needed to build Warframes and weapons. Since Warframe has no clear end game the grind can make the gameplay seem repetitive. Warframe can be very intimidating to new players because the game has little to no tutorial. Once the player finishes the first few missions, Warframe doesn’t give the player any clear goal afterward. Players can choose to collect all the Warframes, complete all the waypoints on each planet, or complete all the missions but it’s up to the player to figure out their end game.
Digital Extremes has put a lot of time and energy into continuing to make Warframe a solid and stable game. Over the last two years, the developer has added several new Warframes as well as new missions and new open worlds. Digital Extremes has also updated its graphics to keep it up to date with the latest hardware. Digital Extremes regularly hosts a Twitch show where the developers talk about the new features and show off their future plans for the game. The care and detail that Digital Extremes puts into the game results in pleasant experience almost every time I play. Warframe’s gameplay is fast and loose which is appropriate since DE refers to Warframes as Space Ninjas. I play on a PC with a controller because I find it easier to control my Warframes. A Warframe can wall run, bullet jump, and glide through rooms at the push of a button. It’s not uncommon for me to be able to go from one corner of a map to another corner within a few seconds without touching the ground. The controls are always tight and responsive the whole time. There is a lot of comparison between Warframe and Titanfall games because of the level of movement players can use.
Warframe has great gameplay but what sets it apart from every other MMOs that I have played is it’s community. Warframe players are welcoming and willing to help each other throughout the missions. Players can band together in clans which give everyone in the clan access to blueprints and resources at a discounted rate; they have also created a market alongside the game. I have found time and time again that players in Warframe are pleasant and friendly. There are blueprints, parts, and mods which can be traded between players for a currency called platinum. Platinum is purchased in the game with real-world money, and it can be used to purchase everything in the game. An enterprising player can collect blueprints, parts, and mods then go to the market and barter with other players for platinum or other parts. This economy has led some players to be able to play the game without having to put any of their own money into the game.
Overall, I would recommend Warframe because of the gameplay and community. Warframe has hundreds of hours of enjoyment available on PC but on PS4, Xbox, and Switch.
The Bottom Line