Monday, March 5, 2018

Warframe: A Review

A bit over a month ago, I went to visit my friend Michelle in Montreal, and she introduced me to a game called Warframe.  For the two or three people on the planet who's never heard of it, Warframe is a third person space ninja shoot-and-stab 'em up that's free to play.

So, I had heard of the game before in passing, in that vague 'huh, it's a game I'm not interested in' sort of way, and didn't even give it a second thought, but Michelle was playing it a lot when I was over, so after a week of her nudging me, I thought I'd at least give it a half-hearted try to amuse her.. and found I kinda like the game.  A lot.  In the 'I will damn well spend money on this game' sort of way for the fashion stuff and everything.

The game has a bit of a learning curve, but during that curve, you start to feel kinda awesome very quickly.  The game's backstory makes you a legendary individual, rising from a deep sleep to try to bring balance to the universe.  You're kind of a super soldier with the ability to change 'frames', which are effectively character classes, in power armour form, that lets you slaughter hundreds of baddies and look totally awesome while doing so.

The game is mad-customizable, with different frames, which you can colour a whole slew of ways, metric ass-tonnes of weapons, with a primary, secondary, and melee weapon available, and your frames and your weapons are also customizable, with mods, which allow you to tailor your stuff to the style of play you want.  You can get animal companions (cats and dogs), and you can get mechanical floating sidekicks called sentinels, all of which have unique traits and can be, again, customizable to your style of play.

Everything levels.  You have 25 Ranks to work through, which is done by levelling your frames, weapons, companions, and sentinels.  Each can go to Level 30, and that's pretty easy to do.  But once you have it levelled, you can 'reset' it, altering one of the 'slots' for mods, and relevel it all over again.  You do this, because when you tweak one of the mod slots, you can start putting in stronger and stronger mods (since you have limited capacity for what you can add).  Each time you gain a Rank, you start your gear 'ahead' a bit - they're still starting at Level 0, but are treated like they're at your Level as far as modding is concerned.

You can play solo, with your friends, or in pick up groups, of up to four people total.  There's Clans to join, which have 'dojo' which can be customized to look awesome, and there's voice chat (though I tend to voice chat with my friends in Discord).  Most of the people are pretty cool even in pick-up-groups, and there's ample trade.

There's an optional PvP duelling arena, but I don't touch it - I much prefer going on missions with people and being awesome as a group - even though I'm normally a solo-style person.  The game makes it fun to work with others - it rewards teamwork, and if you are close to an ally, any XP they earn also benefits you, so there's the impetus to work together towards a common goal.

The backstory's interesting, and when you complete The Second Dream, everything you thought you knew about the game changes.  It adds a lot of interesting stuff, and The War Within which is the quest afterwards, turns everything on its head again.  A number of quests are to help you get additional warframes, but those two quests specifically are, I think, essential to the game, and are just amazing.

The standard style of play is sort of a 'dungeon delve' thing - you go on a mission, kill all the bad guys, accomplish the goal, and get out in about 10 to 40 minutes, depending on your skill and the type of mission, but recently they've added sandbox play with the Plains of the Eidolon.  That region's free to roam around in as you wish, and they're going to be adding a new sandbox region soon.

So yeah!  I didn't think I'd enjoy the game - I don't like third person or first person shooters, but the game play, the community, the company itself (who are awesome folks who listen to their players and interact with them regularly) and the story and background all contribute to this awesome game I can't say enough about.  I really recommend it!

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