Warframe Gameplay: 10 Things To Love
Unleash Your Power.
Tenno: Masters of gun and blade and some seriously dramatic drum pounding.
Waking in the distant future, yet tied to the strictures of an ancient past, you are Tenno and your Warframe… is frickin' awesome. I mean, have you seen what you can do with it? Named for the wide variety of exo-suits you can romp around the Sol System in, Warframe is a co-op third-person shooter whose story and overall gameplay have come a long way since Alpha and continues to develop.
Though still technically in Beta despite being released across three different gaming platforms, what it has built of its world so far guarantees to transport you to a different time and place, to really put you inside of those suits and let you feel what it's like to find yourself setting foot into a system on the verge of war, looking to you and the rest of your kind to get your act together and help it…. or to stand by and watch it burn… assuming you're not hunted down and captured before then.
Offering a unique experience that's absolutely free to play, here are 10 promising things about Warframe's gameplay.
1. The Combat is Jump-Jivin' Alive.
A small taste of both Parkour and Channeled Melee in action.
The game's parkour, directional melee, and the overall mobility involved in the combat gives the gameplay a fast-paced, action-oriented edge. There are plenty of duck and dive moves in the channeled melee combos to keep you rolling and flipping around like a kitten with a potato. Do your best Spider Man impression by running along walls, climbing and leaping/flying from pillar to pillar to get across the map faster or to drop onto the enemy and deliver a devastating ground slam attack. It takes some getting used to, but it's terribly exciting. Looking to further streamline and advance this, Digital Extremes hopes to release Parkour 2.0 in one of the next big game updates.
2. Wide Range of Warframe Skills, Effects, Animations.
An example of the Excalibur warframe's movement and abilities.
While melee weapons in particular stand out in this area, their channeled actions providing chains of movement as well as sleek, fluid animations, each warframe plays differently as well – the high flying Zephyr swoops, dives and dashes, while Ash leaps from one target to another in a group of mobs, stabbing the ever-loving clem out of them. Any ability that lifts a group of enemies and then crushes them like empty soda cans (Mag) or smashes them into the ground like unwanted birthday cakes (Oberon) will never fail to satisfy.
Though the modding screen is outdated, Zephyr's gameplay stands in stark contrast to her earth bound contemporaries.
Not counting the prime versions of already existing warframes, there are currently 23 different frames that you can craft up and try out, each with a unique skill set to cater to your playstyle needs with frame-specific power effects and animations.
3. Weapon Variety with Flexible Meta.
A fraction to be seen on the screen at one time, scroll through the codex and you will find that the amount of weapons available is exhaustive.
Primary, secondary, or melee, there is no lack of weapon choices in Warframe. All vary in size, shape, sound, and functionality, making it difficult to find two weapons that play exactly the same way, even among the most mundane of pistols. And while there are some highly sought after weapons, such as the Boltor Prime, almost any weapon can be made into a super effective bringer of doom with a potato (yes, potato) and a forma or three.
Orokin catalysts and reactors, lovingly referred to as blue or gold potatoes due to their shape, double the mod capacities for your weapons, warframes, archwings (think Gundam Wing addition for space battles), kubrows (cloned llama-dogs) and sentinels (mechanized floating companion pieces); and formas change the polarities of mod slots in each, allowing you to cut the cost of some mods in half if the polarity of the slot and the polarity of the mod match. Though some weapons take far more work than others to get into top shape, having the ability to mold your weapons helps provide options for the meta, keeping it fluid and accessible.
4. Effectual Customization of Gameplay, Appearance.
Nyx Prime deciding what color to paint her space pajamas today.
Function and fashion are both highly tweakable in this game. Through potatoes, formas, and some math, a weapon or warframe's gameplay is determined by how it is modded. Change mods out to fit specific roles or scenarios, improve survivability, or play up the weapon or warframe's innate strengths to create a streamlined death machine.
And then make them pretty. Oh so pretty. Pretty, and witty, and bright.
In addition to weapons, warframes, and archwings, your companions, ship, and your clan's dojo are all completely customizable. Cosmetic items abound in the form of different armor add-ons, weapon and armor skins, helmet variations, and color palettes – even a wide variety of animation sets are available – to ensure you won't run into anyone at the relays who looks and moves quite like you. The solar system is your catwalk.
5. Character and World Design is Original, Immersive.
Hydroid caught in the rain on one of the outdoor Grineer tilesets.
Speaking of pretty, the scope and depth of the environment that you're flipping and flying through can be surprisingly striking and helps set the tone of this game's universe. The variety and style between warframes, as well as the ever-growing and evolving numbers of enemies within the different factions that you encounter, are all their own unique product. A lot of alien sci, a little dystopian fi, Warframe ties an imperiled futuristic time and almost mystical technology with the warriors, weapons, and discipline of a near-forgotten past.
The Grineer embody the ambition and desperation of cloning to the point of becoming derivative life, a shadow of the genes they originally came from, pieced together with tubes and machinery.
The zealous, greedy Corpus view technology as life and money as its god.
And, threat to all life, the Infested are the unfortunate result of those within the system who, unlike the Tenno, were overcome and mutated into rage-filled horrors by the technocyte virus that infected them rather than empowered by it.
The Tenno and their warframes are relics of grace in a system that has come to ruin.
6. Devs Involve Players in Lore Reveals, Enemy Design.
Devs Dave and Pat Kudirka reveal Cephalon Simaris and discuss the Chroma warframe, as well as the first of the community designed enemies being implemented into the game.
In an effort to provide answers to questions posed by the community about the game's story, and even answer questions the Tenno themselves don't have answers to (poor things… they forgot a lot in their cryostasis), Digital Extremes recently introduced to the game an AI entity known as Cephalon Simaris. In exchange for the community as a whole trapping and studying x amount of certain specimens for Simaris to add to his library, the Cephalon reveals bits of lore – a long absent aspect of the game. Rather than just dumping story on the community, DE has encouraged community involvement, so that maybe some day the Tenno will know what happened during their centuries-long hibernation, why they turned on their creators, and we, the players, might find out if Tenno are even humanoid under those suits or if they're actually powered by etheric ninja gerbils.
Always one to involve the community and take inspiration from them, with the Nova warframe having been designed by the players themselves, DE has added to the wide variety of grineer baddies by introducing the Grineer Manic, another community design concept.
7. Constant Alerts to Keep a Tenno Rich and Busy.
Frost Prime staring at his current to-do list.
There's no shortage of places to go in the Sol System if you're looking for a fight, and no shortage of things to do. Infested invasions into different sectors and near constant alerts provided by the Lotus help give direction as well as rewards in the form of resources, mods, blueprints, and more. The game's different Syndicates supply daily missions to boost your standing with them, and bi-monthly, sometimes weekly, Tactical Alerts are set up by DE to challenge you – either by restricting what you can take with you on the mission, or by pitting you against a new, dangerous opponent.
And then there are the game-changing “Operation” events that often require you to fight for one side or the other, with the winning side determining in which direction the game's story moves next.
THE VOLUME ON VAY HEK'S VOICE MODULATOR IS PERMANENTLY STUCK AT 11.
Above is a transmission from the ever-dramatic, heavily modified grineer Councilor, Vay Hek, heralding the chain of events that would lead into Operation: Eyes of Blight, where the community was forced to try to save the Tenno Relays (player hubs) from destruction. Only 3 of 7 total hubs survived Vay Hek's assault.
8. Extremely Active and Involved Dev Crew.
One of DE's latest devstreams. Skip to 30:30 – 31:00ish to watch DERebecca show off the progress of the parkour and cloth physics revamps to come (and again at around 36:00).
The Digital Extremes dev crew hosts weekly live devstreams to reveal upcoming changes and fixes, discuss and preview the direction of the game, answer questions in real time, drink beer, give things away, and do things like host dojo parties where they set a world record involving 10,899 players across all three platforms equipping their warframes with a false mustache… while also raising over $11,000 for Men's Health at the same time.
They're even occasionally run into while they're playing their own game.
Realizing at the last second that I'd just run a mission with DERebecca. Notice me, Sempai!
9. Free Stuff Just For Showing Up.
Who doesn't enjoy free stuff?
Seasonal color palettes, weapon skins, and mustaches are just a few of the things that are occasionally sent to your in game inbox in celebration of one thing or another. And, just for logging into their game, you can net free experience for one of any of the things you're trying to level, free credits, weapon and resource blueprints, even up to 75% discounts on platinum purchases.
10. It's F2P Done Right.
The game lives up to its tagline.
“Free to Play” tends to carry different meanings from game to game. In Warframe, however, Free to Play is incredibly straight forward. Platinum, the purchasable game store currency, isn't acquired exclusively through cash purchases.
Excluding prime access bundles, if there's something you want from the game store, you can earn it by trading blueprints, blueprint parts, and mod cards to other players for platinum. With some hard work and RNG-sus on your side, you'll never have to spend a dime to strut around looking like one of the cool kids or enjoy every last ounce of the game.
Warframe's gameplay is perfect for starting out with a group of friends, building your arsenal together, or going it alone and growing with the help of strangers; either way, fanning out across the sectors and system in an environment ripe with beauty and potential. Full of promise, a little space techno-magic, and spectacular flippy stabby bang-bang, there is literally nothing to lose by giving this game a try.