Saturday, 19 October 2013

Warframe impressions


I said a little while ago I would talk about my experience with the free to play third person action game Warframe, so here it is boys and girls.

The game is set in the future, presumably a very far future because technology has become a sort of bio-tech cross.  The Sol system has been home to massive wars and humanity has ceased to exist as it once was, twisting into two massive empires named the Grineer and Corpus.  The Grineer are basically a massive cloned army (easy for the devs that way) who rely on heavy armour and bigger guns to win their wars.  They are still very powerful and are the first foe you face.  The Corpus however are a human species that have focused on high tech robotics and energy weapons to outfit their armies.

Both factions seem to hate each other for some reason while their main enemy is the super space ninja force simply known as the Tenno.  Warframe users are Tenno and appear to be the human, at least closest to being human anyway.  Tenno users are like the agents from Equilibrium mixed with cyborg ninja from metal gear solid.  Visually Warframe armour looks like a Guyver unit so the influences are all over the place.
Dive shot!

For whatever reason the Tenno are fighting the Grineer and the Corpus factions to prevent them from achieving some goal that is never explained properly, but the story isn't really the reason you play Warframe.  You play Warframe to look like a badass, wielding guns and melee weapons, sliding on you knees into a room of enemies blasting away to then spring up a wall, backflip onto a higher platform and slice some poor sod in half.  It's pretty fun basically.

The game is almost exclusively coop with a minor PVP element although it's entirely optional and for clan matches really.  Teams can be made up of four players each bringing their Warframe and particular skills with it.  At the start of the game you have three frames to choose from with each focusing on a different set of skills and playstyle.  Excalibur is a good all rounder, Loki is a support and Mag is a high damage dealer.  There are more warframes to buy also, each with their own set of unique powers.

Your warframe gains experience with play as does your weapons so using the same item over and over has a benefit in the long run.  The higher the level the more mods you can plug into your suit and weapons.  Every warframe has four unique powers along with multiple mods to further enhance it.  Mods come in many types and have a chance to drop from enemies as you play missions.  The mods themselves become a side activity as collecting them becomes important to ensure you have the best setup available.

Space Ninja's DEPLOY!
Weapons come in all shapes and sizes from katana's to gauntlets to bo staffs, boomerangs, throwing stars, knives and more while guns range from assault rifles, dual pistols, hand cannons, shotguns and sniper rifles.  The animations for melee attacks are gorgeous to behold and really give you that feel of a sci-fi martial arts movie.

The missions are varied if not sometimes a little too long in my opinion, ranging from simply extermination to sabotage, abduction, data theft, assassination, defence, survival and rescue.  Although these all sound unique many of them involve you slaughtering your way through hundreds of mobs to reach a marker and then run to another marker to extract.  Some are slightly different like survival which requires you to move around constantly picking up life support units to extend your timer, while defence needs you to protect a cryo pod or other device from waves of foes.

Still mission variety isn't all that important when the game lets you kill droves of enemies like a ninja...IN SPACE!  Still there are a few issues I have with the setup.  Firstly I think the pay walls hit too soon.  It's entirely possible to earn every single Warframe in game via rare drops in specific missions in the form of blueprints.  However even if you craft a blueprint fully you will need a slot in your inventory which is extremely small.  The only way to unlock more is to pay for them with Platinum the games real world money item.  This goes for weapons also, along with colours and other minor cosmetic features.  What's worse is the game only gives you two warframe slots and one is taken by your initial frame.  Unlock another and you're golden, need a third then you better pay up.

Wall running is tricky but quite fun when it works
Obviously money is needed to keep the game running and pay for updates and the like but MWO gives you four mechbays at least.  The game has around a dozen or more Warframes so unless you want to keep selling old frames for new ones you will have to pay up.  I think it could be altered to allow slots to purchasable with credits, but at an astronomical cost.  That way if you don't mind you pay, otherwise you have to grind to get them.  It would also root out the players who don't want to stick around and keep those who are likely to spend more money on your game.

Outside of this though the game is well worth a try, it looks great, plays well and is something a little different.  It's one of those games a few friends can load up and have a few hours on every once in a while. 

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