Free to Play may not be something console gamers are used to hearing, but with the launch of the PlayStation 4, Sony has made big a push to not only get triple A titles but bring forth a plethora of Free to Play titles that have dominated the PC space for years to its next gen console.
Warframe is one of these titles. Developed by Digital Extremes, Warframe puts players in control of a Tenno, an ancient cyber ninja warrior awakened from cryosleep in a middle of a war between the Grineer, a militarized human clone army and the mega-corporation Corpus. Unfortunately, the game’s story doesn’t really go much further than that. Along with this, a virus runs rampant through the galaxy called the Technocyte virus infecting everything and everyone in its path. Unfortunately, the game’s story doesn’t really go much further than that.
Warframe itself is a third-person action game, and players will start the game by selecting one of three Warframes. Excalibur (a well-balanced warframe), Loki (makes itself invisible and set decoys and disarm enemies), and Mag (generates area of effect attacks and is best used against groups of enemies). Each of the frames comes standard with a machine gun, a pistol, and a sword for melee combat. Players will run, jump, shoot, cut, and even slide through hordes of enemies in the games various missions. A mission setup spreads throughout the galaxy, and players will travel to each planet starting on Mercury and spreading out . Though most of the missions take place on ships orbiting a planet, some missions will send you to the surface of the planet.
The game offers ten different types of missions for players to enjoy, such as Extermination (players must eliminate all hostiles from the environment) and Rescue (players must find a hostage and escort them to an extraction point), among many others. To keep each mission fresh, all levels are randomly generated, giving players a new level layout to explore. Unfortunately the variety in the design of the levels doesn’t change much, rooms are recycled much too often with the same secret areas and passages. Although the levels may be structured differently, the rooms always feel and look the same.
Although players start off with a machine gun, pistol, and sword, players will be able to construct new weapons. The game features a Foundry and Market place. Players who have the cash may spend it in the market place. Players may purchase new guns such as shotguns, automatic pistols, and bow and arrows. For those unwilling to spend the money can take on the chance of creating them. Enemies drop resources when killed that can be used to create new weapons and Warframes; these resources can also be bought in the market place. The resources are mostly dropped by enemies, but players will have to find blueprints before they are able to build new equipment. The blueprints are few and far between. Throughout my playthrough of the game, I was only able to come across six different blueprints, but even then, I lacked the resources to build them, as the required ones were located in missions that were far too advanced for me to attempt at the time. I had acquired the blue print very early, which felt a bit unbalanced. The game does not force players to buy new weapons or equipment in order to continue the game, but players will feel very overwhelmed in the later parts of the game if they hold onto their stock weapons.
Characters don’t level up themselves, but rather their equipment does. The more players use their weapons, the faster they will rank up. Though most players will be fine using the standard weapons given to them, the game’s difficulty increases at an alarming rate, forcing players to grind their weapons in order to be strong enough to continue on.
One of the most interesting aspects of the game is equipping mods. Mods are used to increase stats and add unique abilities to your equipment. Mods range from increasing melee damage to adding elemental effects to weapons. Each weapon and Warframe have six slots to put mods in, and each mod has a point system as well. As your weapons and Warframes rank up, the more mods you are able to place. Mods can also be upgraded using the fusion system. Fusion cores are dropped by enemies just as Mods are. Mods can also be fused together to create new one knows, but it takes four mods to create a new one, and the pay off may not always be for the better.
Though playing Warframe with four buddies can be fun, learning to play the game is another story. Outside of the game’s first tutorial level which teaches you the basic controls, the game doesn’t explain a lot of the other features in the game. For example, it took me almost seven hours of play time to find out that I had the ability the run on walls, and that was only because my objective could only be reached by doing so. Warframe also doesn’t teach you how to use the Foundry system or the Mod and Fusion systems, leaving players with a lot of trial and error.
I have also run into a number of freezing issues during my time with Warframe, forcing me to hard reset my PS4. Lag can also be a big problem, the game even warned me to change my routers firewall settings to get the game to run smother, after doing so I noticed no difference in the games performance; granted, the game is still technically in beta.
Though it may seem as if I am criticizing Warframe a little too much, these issues are small and don’t hurt the overall enjoyment I had with Warframe. The game’s addictive modding system and fast and furious co-op action continues to entertain. If you are willing to take the time to learn the ins and outs of Warframe and look past the technical issues, Warframe can be the best free game on the PS4 for a long time to come.
I would like to thank Ben Shillabeer-Hall for his contribution and help in the writing of this review. "Thank god for you."