While I almost never see anyone blogging about Warframe, I keep seeing people playing this all over the place, especially in a casual capacity. It seems like it’s been one of those sleeper hits with numbers that some MMOs can only envy from afar, yet it doesn’t get a lot of lip service. I haven’t quite figured out what the deal is, unless it’s being promoted and spread in circles that I am not a part of (magazines? consoles?). Oh well, I can’t have my ear to the ground everywhere, so I’ll accept some mystery.
So Warframe. Very popular, some strong recommendations, purportedly a nice casual title. Sounds good to me, so let’s give it a try!
What I was first struck by is the fact that your character — all player characters, in fact — do not have a face. You’re “born” into the game world as a tenno, some sort of battle-suited warrior who the bad cyborg guys wanted to use but the good guys conspired to release. So I’ve got an omnipresent helmet, a la Master Chief or Tali from Mass Effect, and a feeling like the devs just didn’t want to bother with character customization at all. Hey, your game, your rules.
The first few missions are a sneaky tutorial in disguise, keeping you in the spirit of high adventure as you escape the clutches of this unknown foe and learn how to use your various weapons and powers. Also — POWER SLIDE. I do love the power slide.
I’ll give Warframe this: When it comes to movement and action, this game has it down. You’re jumping, wall-hugging, double-jumping, sliding, crawling, and sprinting all over the place… and it feels very fluid and natural. And my character has a virtual arsenal at his (her?) disposal, including magic attacks, a sword, a pistol, and an assault rifle. I ended up gravitating toward the last, although the sword was fun in close quarters when you wanted to see a lot of blood (and this game is quite bloody, with gibbets flying everywhere).
I wish I could say that I was following the story better, but all I could glean for the first hour or so is that Earth is a battleground and that as a tenno, I’m part of some sort of resistance. At least I had plenty of opportunities to take gorgeous screenshots. I heard that Warframe has a cool freeze-frame option for screenshot taking, although I haven’t investigated that yet.
In no time at all, I ended up on my own little spaceship, orbiting Earth and wondering why I was getting advertisements from the year 2017 on my ship screens. Again, just feeling things out at this point, but it seems like the ship is kind of a single player hub for your various needs before jumping into the next mission.
After running a half-dozen missions, I came to the conclusion that Warframe is a slick, well-made game with gorgeous art and fluid animations — and it isn’t for me at all.
There was a point in my life that I was much more into run-and-gun games, but these days I would much rather walk than sprint/slide/roll through levels. I want to check out every nook and cranny. I want to think through my fights instead of frantically whirling about my mouse to try to locate who is shooting me and respond in kind. And if I desire a semi-mindless clicker with lots of mobs and loot explosions, well, the Diablo clone army is more than enough for me.