I’ve been playing the Warframe open beta (available on Steam). Out of a weird impulse I decided to try it and I’ve been pleasantly surprised, despite these games not being my usual cup of tea.
The elevator pitch: Warframe is a third-person shooter in which space ninjas in configurable, upgradeable combat armors (the ‘warframes’) battle against enemy armies throughout the solar system using configurable, upgradeable weapons.
Yes, I know. But I can tell you there’s actually a good amount of gold in them thar hills. The action is always satisfying and fast (well, bordering on twitchy at times), combat is rewarding, feeling like a cross in spirit between Assassin’ Creed and Mass Effect and the visuals are just plain pretty. The spine of the game, that being the place where people like us get our addiction to progression satisfied, comes of course from the above mentioned upgradeability and customization of the different warframes, weapons and skills. The modding system used for this is not immediately intuitive but works when you pay attention to it.
It’s not all roses, of course. The play areas do feel repetitive after a while and there are issues with player guidance through these maps as well as with enemy spawning. The overall difficulty could use some tuning as well and progression seems to advance at a snail’s pace. However, this is still in beta so kinks are to be expected.
I felt Warframe, in its curent state, works admirably well in delivering high amounts of very satisfying fun in small chunks or play sessions. There comes a point where the inherent repetitiveness gets to you and the game spends little effort in trying to camouflage this sameness. Then it’s time to put it down for a while and do something else. But until then, it’s gorgeous and fantastic.
Verdict: Yes, definitely give it a spin. It’s free, supported by microtransactions for unnecessary stuff.