For some reason, my tolerance for MMOs is critically low. I know I’m expected to spend a lot of time on them in order to actually start enjoying them, but I prefer games that provide players with a constant sense of progression. Warframe, to my surprise, does just that with an oddly intuitive equipment crafting and modding system. Experience applies not only to the Warframe you play as, but to every piece of equipment you use during missions, so you can watch both your character and your favorite weapon transition from shit machine to goddamned mean.
Platinum is a resource that you’ll become familiar with one way or another, as it is the currency acquired by spending real money or possibly attending special in-game events. Platinum offers what I like to call “impatience benefits,” as most of its uses are related to time: You can purchase extra resurrects though you get 4 free per day, you can bypass the wait on crafting, or alternatively buy the item outright from the in-game store. While Platinum makes available many powerful utilities, it doesn’t quite fall into pay-to-win territory. Purchase and crafting of equipment is locked by Rank, a level system attached to your Warframe account as opposed to a single piece of equipment.
From my short experience with the community, it seems that veterans like wowing new players with endgame items and then powerleveling them to help them acquire said items. Whether this extremely newbie friendly interaction is the result of a clever crafting system or a predominantly PvE gaming environment, I cannot say, though I do thoroughly enjoy breezing through the early game with a specific piece of powerful equipment in mind. Mind you, there are places specifically designated for PvP, namely Conclave and Dojo duels, but I haven’t touched those.
One of the mechanics that I absolutely adore is the use of collectible-en-masse mods. These are upgrades that can be applied directly to a weapon, Warframe, or sentinels in order to improve performance or shift specialization. Mods do anything from increase the size of your clip to adding elemental damage to your weapons, and can be upgraded by fusing them with duplicate mods or fusion cores. This comes at a cost of in-game credits that exponentially grows as your mod’s rank increases, noted by the growing number of white bars on the left side of the “card.”
Mods have a power cost, which may range from miniscule to staggering, depending on what they do. It should be noted that upgrading a mod via fusion will increase its power cost, save for Warframe-specific abilities. The number of power points available on a given piece of equipment is taken directly from its level, meaning a level 7 sword will have 7 power points. Polarity is when a mod slot is decorated with a special symbol. Placing a mod in a slot with a matching symbol will cut the power cost in half, while placing it in a non-matching slot will increase the cost by a fourth.
Right, well. Time to talk about actual gameplay. Warframe is an over-the-shoulder shooter with a focus on movement and melee. The use of crouching, sprinting, and jumping is quintessential to maintain proper positioning and maximizing damage output while minimizing damage taken. There are exceptions to this rule, such as bullet sponge Warframes or block/deflection centric mod builds, but even then you usually want to stay mobile.
You’ll run into many different kinds of missions throughout the game: rescue/escort, extermination, defense, survival, assassination, and more. Assassination essentially means a boss fight, by the by, and those are the final missions of any given sector/planet. Bosses are guaranteed to drop good stuff, so grinding bosses is never a bad idea if you’re capable.
Mike Suskie of GamesRadar brings up a good point about Warframe. Casual players won’t be able to enjoy this particular parkour shooter to the fullest extent, as acquiring new gear requires commitment. I would not recommend treating Warframe as a singleplayer game, as the daily revives aren’t plentiful enough for long-term solo ops. And yes, the parkour can be hard to grasp, so I highly recommend remapping your controls. Also, toggle crouch is a bad idea. Here’s the alt review: http://www.gamesradar.com/warframe-review/