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Well I recently gave this game a try and have been at it for about 5 months now. Here’s a quick review.
For those who have no idea what Warframe is about, think Iron Man with multiple suits of armor with each suit having different power sets. Some are tanks, some are healers, and some are dps. The main thing with this game is that different suits/frames allow you to complete the missions differently. Throw on a tank frame and you can bulldoze your way through a mission. Throw on a rogue based frame and you could stealth your way through the same mission without ever touching a mob or be shot at.
The frames are augmented by weapons such as rifles/shotguns, pistols and the usual melee weapons. These in turn can be further augmented by mods. There’s a huge variety of mods which alter the way the weapons work, e.g. via fire, cold or radiation damage etc. As for melee weapons, these can be altered again by mods which change the way they attack and also damage output. The mods themselves can be further enhanced to increase their effectiveness and thus the overall effectiveness of the weapon itself.
Then there’s what is known as the “Arch Wing”. These are 3D space based
missions; think fighter pilot sims. Not much to be said about these except that
unfortunately they are clunky. Try and melee something and you will end up
being put into a series of animations which does nothing since the mobs will
just fly past you while you’re slashing away at empty space. Some mobs come
with shields which are near impossible to penetrate leaving you with the option
to only melee. See the problem here ?
Where this game stands out is the ‘parkour’ ability of all the frames. You can cling to walls, jump over or scale walls, flip over mobs and anything at all in the environment. This makes things interesting since there are some objectives which cannot be completed unless you have the skills necessary to, e.g. cling across walls, jump on platforms, backflip and jump your way across to the mission’s target objective. There is no fall-death so that’s a good thing.
Customization of your frames for ‘look and feel’ is extensive in addition to the large variety of coloring which can create some interesting frames. Don’t be surprised if you see people walking around looking like a pink, yellow, blue and fluorescent green lollipop. Perhaps the best thing about this game is the ability to set your gameplay preference to ‘Solo’ or ‘Public’ meaning you can play this entire game (with the exception of the end game content which basically are group raids) without ever having to put up with griefers.
With that being said, here comes the downside to this game.
1. Inventory space. Yes, it’s advertised
as a free game but the lack of inventory for space for the frames and weapons
are crippling. Be aware that if you really do want to play this game then you
will likely spend at least $10 to buy Platinum from the game in order to
use in-game to buy some inventory space. Otherwise it will be near impossible
for you to actually reach anywhere near end-game. Well, not within a few short months anyway.
2. Game Controls. Remember that parkour I just talked about ? Not good for the keyboard. There are just too many button/key combinations to be pressed to execute the moves via a keyboard. It will definitely be better using a controller. Same with the melee skills. You can ‘get good’ with this on a keyboard but it will take a certain amount of dedication which, for the casual gamer, will not be enticing.
3. Pathing. Certain locations, e.g. earth has some of the most horrible pathing I have ever seen in a game. One small ledge will stop you from moving and when you have lots of mobs shooting at you, missiles exploding, and an objective to reach quick as possible, well, then this can be a 'rage-quit' issue. Your only option is to basically stay in the air a lot, meaning just to keep hitting that space bar so that you can jump over any obstacle. This gets very annoying when all you’re trying to do is run in a straight line across what looks to be a straight path.
4. Dailies. As with a lot of games these days, you get dailies to complete for rewards. Unfortunately you will find that 9 out of 10 of these dailies will consistently consist of “Defense” missions. Meaning you basically run to one spot, stand still, kill waves of mobs rushing at you while a timer runs out so you can move on to the next. This may be fun for the first few times but after a month you will be doing exactly what I’m doing, i.e. ignore a significant portion of the dailies since you don’t want to fall asleep at the keyboards.
5. Trade. There is no Trade/Auction house. There is a chat tab which requires you to post the usual “WTS/WTB/WTT” but this will require you to basically stand around doing nothing spamming and watching the spam for that item you want. In this day and age, I have absolutely no idea why the developers have refused to provide a trading house for the players. There is a Trading hub in-game but again it requires you to stand around advertising the sale of your items. If anyone wants to buy, you will need to deactivate and conduct the sale in person. Think Everquest’s Bazaar except without the ability for buyers to click on you and just buy the item.
6. Clans. These are a necessity since a lot of the weapons, and some frames, can only be found in the Clan’s dojo (the clan house). These items require contributions from clan members to be researched and then purchased for construction by the players for use. Which in turn presents an issue since (as I found out) some clans are focused on PvP or heavy member participation (yes there’s pvp in this game too) and if you have contributed materials to the research of some items then you will still run the risk of being kicked from the clan, thereby rendering all your efforts lost. Thankfully, starting your own clan to eliminate this risk is easy and there is no cost involved. Something which a lot of players have opted to do instead since some of the materials required for the research are hard to come by and to do all that work only to be kicked through no real fault of your own is just painful.
The game play is not bad to be honest. Graphics are excellent and the story missions are quite interesting. The large variety of powers/skills for the frames are also good as they allow you to constantly try out different styles of play. Play this game if you want something to pass the time since you can finish the missions in short 10-15 minute runs.