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Free-2-Play Friday: Warframe - PS4 launch title has space ninjas, co-op, and it's a blast

23 August 2013

On this week's Free-2-Play Friday, we're honing our skills as space ninjas in Warframe.

We all love things that involve ninjas, but we here at PSU love games that involve ninjas. It seems we have a fascination with the extreme agility and skill of ninjas and when given the opportunity to fight like a ninja in video games, we take it! The obvious example of a successful ninja-based video game franchise would be Ninja Gaiden, but there are others, like Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell, that take a lot of inspiration from ninja sensibilities. Thanks to Digital Extremes, we have a new ninja-fueled addiction and it comes in the form of a free-to-play, cooperative, third-person shooter called Warframe.

Warframe puts you in the role of a space ninja who is part of an ancient species of warriors that have just awoken from cryo sleep, called the Tenno. Upon awakening, you discover that you are at war with two factions--the Grineer and the Corpus. Though both enemy factions are human, they couldn't be more different: the Corpus are a merchant guild that fights using robots and automated gun turrets, whereas the Grineer are a brutish military society that fights with a more traditional legion of heavily armored soldiers.

To combat these opposing factions, the Tenno use highly advanced exo-armor called Warframes. These Warframes give the Tenno access to increased strength and speed alongside a wide range of skills. There are 14 different types of Warframes currently available for unlock in the game, and each Warframe has its own set of skills and strengths. After a brief tutorial mission, you get to choose one of the following three different Warframes for yourself:

Excalibur – A suit that strikes a strong balance of mobility and offense. This Warframe is recommended for new players due to its simpler combat-oriented skill set.

Loki – An advanced suit that allows the player to confuse the enemy with tricks like holographic decoys and the ability to go invisible.

Mag – This suit gives you the ability to control magnetic energy. This allows you to do things like pull enemies toward you or collapse enemy shields.

Each Warframe can use a different group of skills and the only way to obtain these skills is through playing missions and being rewarded Mods. The Mods are dispersed randomly and can grant passive or active powers. Once a Mod is obtained, you can choose to equip the Mod to your Warframe, boost the power of previous Mods by fusing like Mods together, transmute a group of Mods to create a new one, or sell them for in-game credits. You can also get Mods that come in the form of utilities that help improve the outcome of Mod fusions and transmutations.

Of course, all of the Warframes share the same basic ability to wall-run, roll, sprint, and hack foes into bits or riddle them with bullet holes. The gameplay in Warframe is incredibly smooth, which allows you to mix up your combos seamlessly and with great ease. The gameplay of Warframe rewards skill, and honing your skills in Warframe is enjoyable and never feels like a grind.

Setting skill aside, there are other things in a Warframe's arsenal that are important. Each Warframe goes into combat equipped with a primary ballistic weapon, side arm, and melee weapon. There are currently 94 different weapons available in the game and all of them can be obtained without spending real money. Paying money for weapons can be done, but microtransactions function solely as a shortcut for the impatient gamer. If you choose not to purchase weapons with money, then you must craft them, and Warframe has a very expansive crafting system. Here's what you can make:

Primary ballistic weapon – Rifles, shotguns, snipers, bows, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, blade launchers, and energy weapons

Side arm – Revolvers, semi-autos, full-autos, dual-wields, biologicals, and thrown weapons

Melee weapon – Short sword, long sword, dual swords, glaive, boomerang, and heavy sword

This is an impressively wide variety of weapon types, and, honestly, there are probably even more than has been covered above. Still, when facing your enemy, all the weapons and skill in the world won't always be enough to ensure you make it through. This is when having teammates comes in handy. As mentioned earlier, Warframe is a cooperative game, and as you take on missions you will want to be doing them with friends. You can choose to form a squad with up to three other players and having those teammates can be a serious lifesaver. Teammates are not only great for covering your back in combat, they can also revive you if you get taken down. Having someone there to revive you is important because you are given only four self-revives a day and once you run out, you're stuck with only one life per mission unless you purchase more revives from the cash shop.

As you play through the game, you will encounter many different types of missions. From capture missions to spy mission, the variety helps keep the game fresh and you will rarely find yourself saying 'Not this again!' The missions DO get harder, so when those four self-revives don't last as long as they used to, having teammates becomes more and more necessary if you want to avoid spending money on revives. Luckily, playing co-op is consistently fun, so having to play with other people shouldn't be an issue.

All told, Warframe does a great job of minimizing dependence on the cash shop, but it is always there for those that just don't have the patience to wait or the teammates to back them up. Almost everything in the cash shop can be obtained in-game, which means there isn't an issue of pay-to-win. This game does everything a F2P game should, and then some, because it is possible to play it for hours every day without ever feeling like you need to spend real money. It holds up well graphically, too!

Digital Extremes has a great history of delivering excellent games across multiple platforms throughout the years and could be considered incredibly underrated as a studio. Warframe might be the studio's best work yet and it is sure to shine on PlayStation 4 when it is available at launch this November. By the time the PS4 is out, expect even more content in the likes of weapons, Warframes, game modes, and enemies.

Warframe is currently in its open beta phase and is available for download on your PC right here, so give it a try and let us know what you think. Have you played Warframe yet? Are you excited for its launch day release on the PS4? Do you feel this is one of the front-running titles in the PS4 launch line up? Let us know in the comments section below.

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If you missed our last issue of Free-2-Play Friday, check it out right here. Every Friday, we will share updates and gameplay details on a different free-to-play game on or coming to PlayStation, so stay tuned and be sure to come back for next week's Free-2-Play Friday. 


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