Written by Toh Boon Kheng / Picture credit: https://warframe.com/media
This game review is has been long overdue. Warframe is literally 3 years old, and has a 9/10 rating on Steam. So, would you like to hear about a game involving space ninjas running around, fighting various alien species and machineries?
What Is Warframe?
In this game, players are called Tenno and play as warframes, which are space ninja suits capable of a ton of action. It is well-known for fast-paced gameplay, and smooth combat systems. Warframe is published by Digital Extremes, and runs on the Evolution game engine. The PC version was released in 2013, and has slowly expanded to other platforms within the following year. Warframe is a free-to-play online game with in-game purchases. There is a subscription option called Prime Access, where you get some amazing perks, such as specially designed Prime gear and a certain amount of in-game currency per month, although it doesn’t affect gameplay much (or at all, even). It prides itself in being a third-person ‘cooperative’ shooter, while maintaining separate player bases for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Many consider Warframe as a multiplayer game, but believe me when I say, single player campaigns are quite possible.
Can My PC Run Warframe?
The minimum system requirement as stated on the official website is as follows:
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo e6400 / AMD Athlon x64 4000+ (~2.2 dual core CPU)
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: NVidia 8600 GT or ATI Radeon HD 3600
Hard Drive: 10 GB available space
However, my PC specs are as below and the game runs fine at approximately 50 frames per second (fps). This is provided the graphics settings are set at the lowest level, and with steady internet (of course). Disclaimer: It may not run as smoothly on every PC below the stated minimum requirements, and attempt at your OWN RISK.
Processor: Intel Core i3 M350 @2.27GHz
Memory: 2GB RAM
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
DirectX: Has 9.0c installed
Hard Drive: Has more than 10GB available space
This Is So…Ninja
The gameplay is mostly flawless. Initially, Warframe was not as solidly established as an action third person shooter. Over time, updates such as Melee 2.0 and Parkour 2.0 has made Warframe an action online game to be reckoned with. Personally, I have not seen a game with mobility options as fun as Warframe. Pairing this with the amazing close combat options, you are literally slicing and dicing till the end of the game. You can use guns, but why? Firstly, the guns do not perform as well as the melee weapons, which is where the flaw comes in. They call themselves a shooter, but the guns are not great? How ironic. It is not horrid, but cutting and stabbing is better. Secondly, ninjas don’t use guns. Shurikens, kunais, and bows are great replacements for guns, and these traditional ninja weapons run relatively well. I guess Digital Extremes takes the space ninja concept very, very seriously.
Refined & Refreshing
When first looking at Warframe, one very significant detail comes to mind. The graphics look amazing, even at lowest setting! From the on-point lighting, to the fine details of the environment, Warframe looks like a well-crafted game on par with many pay-to-play games out there. Furthermore, unlike the repetitive shooter games donning military outfits, and regular looking weapons, Warframe takes a more eccentric route. The character models look like a meshwork of colourful playdoh, yet it seems to fit well with the setting of the game itself. The factions of the game also have notable traits which differ noticeably from one another. Surely, this design does not suit all, but it certainly a relief to know that unique and creative game designs still exist among shooter games.
Customs & Money
The customisability in this game is great, although not the best in the market. Colour options for warframes, weapons, and gear are vast; larger than most games. Additional cosmetic gear is always added to the game, providing even further freedom for players to pimp up their characters. The catch is, without doubt, cost. The free customisation is extremely limited, having only about a dozen colours, and no free additional cosmetic gear. While the cost may be minimal, not all players are willing to spend the amount. However, the developers do need to earn money too, so it is completely understandable and acceptable for them to impose a cost on cosmetics. Thankfully, gameplay is once more, unaffected.
The Multiplayer Complex
Playing-versus-environment (PvE) along the story campaign is fun, whether you play alone, or with a team. The story is lacklustre, but the emphasis is clearly not there. Many bosses are made much simpler by going in as a team and attacking from various angles, as with most games. The single player PvE option is there, but gets exponentially harder as you get to higher levels. Here is where the ‘cooperative’ side shines brightly. Playing as a team makes the difficulty increase more stable and bearable. However, I am uncertain on whether this is a good thing, as I enjoy the single player campaign more. Regardless, the developers met their goal accurately, and we can applaud them for that.
The downside of the multiplayer is in the Conclave. The Conclave is basically the player-versus-player (PvP) aspect of Warframe. It has three partitions; Annihalation (kill everyone), Team Annihilation (kill everyone on the other team), and Capture the Cephalon (steal a flag from across the map and run back). To be blunt, it is unbalanced. Clearly, some warframes perform better than others in the respective settings. The attempts to balance the PvP by banning certain warframes from Conclave feels very restrictive, while bringing little effect. It is obvious that Digital Extremes is trying to fix the PvP by reworking it several times, but they have yet to succeed.