Our species is hardwired to respond to certain things. Other things we learn as we go, or someone teaches them to us. Fighting is something that comes naturally though. When faced with danger, we feel a fight or flight response. There’s something fascinating and beautiful about visceral combat though. In games, we can let loose the beast and forget about the flight part. We just leap into the fray, ready to exact vengeance and make something bleed. I mean, who doesn’t want to go in guns blazing, maybe bring a sword or two, and some powers? Sounds awesome right?
Oh but wait, now you’re thinking, sure that sounds great Bradley, but whatever you’re about to pitch isn’t going to work. My wallet’s about as thin as Paris Hilton after her two week binge on a gluten free diet. Not to worry reader, I’m about to segue into another one of those things that may not be hardwired into the human species, but it’s hardwired into every gamer on the planet. The word free. Sends a chill through your body, doesn’t it? Free, feels good to just type it. The lack of monetary contribution is a utopian ideal that can’t possibly work. Like communism, it works good on paper but not in practice.
And yet, Warframe for the PS4 is free-to-play. Go ahead, gasp dramatically, you know you want to. All finished? Here’s the catch, the entrance fee is nonexistent but for those who want everything fast and ready to go, may want to break open the piggy bank. Don’t worry, that messy confusion you’re feeling right now is normal. These articles, like Pepto Bismol, take a few minutes to kick in.
Typically these free-to-play multiplayer shooters have practically nonexistent stories, unless you count wiki pages and role-playing forum posts. Warframe tries, it really does, and I want to thank them for that. The story is non intrusive and just barely existent. What’s important here is that you’re a space ninja with a lot of firepower, and there’s a lot of worlds that need to be forcibly cleansed. Think of it like an intergalactic Mr. Clean, only more reminiscent of the art design in Dark Sector for anyone who played that game.
Missions are prefaced with a briefing and you receive messages in-game, but for the most part you just need to know that those things that don’t look like you are bad and you should probably kill them. Still, they make it feel epic.
In a world that’s all about killing each other, Warframe decides to bring four players together to kill a ton of NPC’s and complete a mission. The thin mission structures are reminiscient of Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer where the player work together fighting off enemies while completing an objective, which usually entails destroying a reactor, rescuing someone, among others for a total of five mission types. Before each mission, you can choose your suit, or warframe, and outfit your weapons. This is where the buying comes in. You can use actual money to purchase weapons, upgrades, and warframes. Now, these things can be unlocked in game, but it takes some time. Sorry, make that a lot of time and a lot of grinding. If you hate repetition, you may find yourself dropping some money sooner than you though just to get another weapon or warframe.
That being said, first impressions of Warframe give you some slick menus, but before long you find yourself confused and slightly scared, and you just don’t know why. The game doesn’t do much in the way of teaching you beyond some basic gameplay tutorials. The menus can be confusing and at times I found myself trying to apply an upgrade only to get told no, without any explanation why.
Once you get into the game, the third person shooting and melee combat is fun and frantic. You feel very nimble and powerful moving through the levels. My Warframe was the basic one you get, an all round suit that gave me a gun and a sweet sword. I was power sliding, wall jumping, slicing and dicing, and it was awesome. Warframe is more than a one trick pony, but it ultimately is still a pony. That metaphor means that it eventually runs out of things to show you. Repetition, like with anything, sets in after a while, but this game is what you make of it. If you’re okay with spending money to progress, then it has your back. If you’d rather grind your way to greatness, then jump in another match.
It helps to play with others, but you can also solo the missions which means if your buddies aren’t around you can still get to killing. It may have confusing menus, but the game plays well and does everything right.
Warframe looks sleek on PS4, and runs at a smooth framerate. The sleek sci-fi visuals will begin to wear on you over time, but the character models and suits are all unique, and slightly similar in their design. The jumping, sliding, and other acrobatic animations are fluid and exciting, along with the impressive effects during the abilities. Overall, this doesn’t blow away anything else on PS4, but it performs well with some interesting design and animation.
The Final Verdict
I should preface this review score by making a simple comment. Warframe is free, ladies and gentlemen. If you ask me if it’s worth the hour or so it will take to download and try out, I would say yes, wholeheartedly. Now, if you’re asking me about spending money in the game, I would hesitate. It is worth noting that PlayStation Plus members get a free pack of in-game bonuses right now, so grab that if you’re a member. At the end of the day, this game does a good job of providing some solid shooting action, and it’s free. The paid stuff is good in small doses if you really like the game, and in that case, it’s worth every penny. My advice, try it out and see what you think.
Have you downloaded Warframe? How much have you spent in game so far?
Final Score: 7.5/10
Game Category: First Person Shooter
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert Date: 12/15/2013