So recently I was asked if I wanted to take Warframe for a spin. I had no idea what they were talking about, as I’d never even heard of the game. A little research turned up it was an online shooter with these battle suit things called Warframes… So it was a mech game, only… not quite… It also turned out to be a co-operative shooter rather than the more common competitive shooter. Don’t get me wrong, I like shooting people in the face as much as the next person, but I’m generally not a huge fan of PvP-only online shooters. I love me some co-op gameplay though, so I was definitely a bit more intrigued now.
Also it’s nice to see someone break the mold of the more traditional offerings. Generally most shooters are either competitive, or single-player campaign based with a co-op offering tacked on almost as an afterthought. A game built from the ground up focused on co-operative squad based PvE is definitely intriguing and something I can get behind.
You start off with a tutorial, because, well, why wouldn’t you? Very seldom am I pleased with tutorials. They tend to either be too long or too short… Cover too much information or not enough… Very seldom do they strike a good balance of teaching you the basics of the game without cramming every tidbit of information available about it down your throat. Warframe does a good job of striking that balance through, running you through the basics of movement, ranged and melee combat and the mission map system before kicking you off to select your starting Warframe and getting you into the game.
The different Warframes basically serve as the “classes” of the game. They range from different specialties such as stealth to support and tanking, covering most of the typical archetypes you’ve come to expect from more traditional MMO or RPG settings. You start off with three Warframes available to choose from and unlock more as you play through the game, either through crafting or through the item shop. And you’ll also be able to level up each Warframe you have unlocked by playing with it, increasing its abilities and functionality as you go.
In addition to the different Warframes and their levels, you’ll also be able to level up your weapons. Each weapon and Warframe has their own upgrade tree and each piece of equipment has a varying number of mod slots. Mod slots are used to enhance the piece of equipment in a wide range of ways, from simply increasing weapon damage to increasing the player’s movement speed and even some unique special mods. All of these different options definitely provide a lot of ways to set yourself apart from other players, even if you happen to be the same level and wearing the same Warframe.
There is a good amount of variety in the missions, giving you enough different things to do to keep the boredom at bay for the most part. There’s a decent loot system in the game with destructible items in the environment to get loot from. Loot is distributed fairly so you don’t have to worry if the random PUG you’ve formed has a ninja looter in it. Surprisingly for this time of game, there’s a fairly extensive crafting system which will allow you to make most everything that is available for purchase from the item mall. Which is a good thing since some of the items in the shop seem greatly overpriced. Some of the components you’ll need to craft are pretty rare drops though, so basically it comes down to a decision of which is more valuable to you: your RL cash or your time.
Overall I was a lot more impressed with Warframe than I expected to be; especially I had never even heard of the game until about ten minutes before I started the download process. It’s still early in the development process, just now hitting beta and there’s definitely some work yet to be done. I can see how it could become monotonous and boring to someone who plays a LOT. But for the more casual player who puts in an hour or two here and there, I don’t see that being an issue. It’s also set up well for easy expansion down the road where new mission types and environments can be easily introduced. I like the crafting system as an alternative to the cash shop. Heck, who am I kidding, I like crafting systems in general and it is interesting to see one included in this type of game. Warframe is definitely a game I’ll be keeping a bit of a closer eye on down the road.