Published on January 11th, 2013 | by EDMEditor0
Beta Spotlight: Warframe
Oh, video game industry. With your highs and lows, you’ve always managed to woo the press and entertain those of us who are more easily-amused. But every so often, something comes along and rustles your trousers to a great extent. We mean it — sometimes, a title will arrive, and with it comes a slew of innovations mixtures that manage to both entrance our minds and utterly confuse us. So — what exactly is WARFRAME? Is it a hack-n-slash? Perhaps a shooter? Or could it even be an action RPG? Just what is this game? Fortunately, the “professionals” here at Eject Disk have been researching this odd title, and we can tell you this: It’s all those genres — and more. Yes, readers, you read that statement correctly. WARFRAME is what you get when the titles and ideas that embody the heart of the video game industry get caught, implemented, and wrapped into a neat little package. With that statement, let’s move on to the main event: Digital Extremes’ WARFRAME!
They were called TENNO. Warriors of blade and gun — Masters of the WARFRAME armor. Those that survived the Old War were left drifting among the ruins.
WARFRAME‘s main storyline begins by placing you in the body of a member of the “Tenno” species, a race of ancient humanoid warriors with an affinity for marksmanship and sword skill. Here, you’re woken from cryogenic sleep by a mysterious being (known only as “the Lotus”) in order to save your species, who were enslaved by a race of mechanized humans now known as the Grineer. Using an ancient exoskeleton technology that only the Tenno can control, your goal is to take back the solar system and eliminate all factions that oppose you.
After completing the brief introduction and passing the basic tutorial — which, despite the mechanics that it goes through, manages to do so without breaking immersion — we were pulled into a refreshing menu. The menu in question is designed as both a player hub for upgrades, in-game purchases, and more, as well as an expansive map that showcases all the levels and challenges that WARFRAME has to offer. Again, the key aspect of WARFRAME, above all else seems to be immersion –and the preservation of it without compromising the game’s structure.
The actual gameplay, however, is where WARFRAME really bears its colors. With randomly generated levels, an action-rpg feel, and gun-play that rivals most modern titles today, this game feels like the best parts of many games joining forces to make a very solid title.
Of course, that’s only scraping the surface of this closed-beta title. Though it has a long way to go, WARFRAME currently offers a “play-as-you-like” feel, with the character progression left ultimately to the players themselves. Currently, the game presents a variety of “warframes”, each with their own special abilities, modifications, and progression paths. In addition to that, the swordplay is some of the most riveting we’ve seen in a while. When you combine that with weapons such as those in the pistol category, it brings renewed meaning to the term “run n’ gun”.
Aside from the more visceral aspects of the game, this title is also impressive on the inside. Using their very own Evolution engine (Dark Sector, The Darkness II), Canadian development studio Digital Extremes has managed to create a product that–although very impressive in the graphics department– manages to run stable and smooth on top-tier, mid-tier, and low-tier computers. Needless to say, this game can run smoothly on an older system (Athlon II, ATI Radeon 5770), but still manages to look and feel great during gameplay.
This was a hard bit to write for a game that is well on its way to being a premier free-to-play title. As with all betas, there are bugs to be expected — we’ve decided to forgive them for that as their development cycle is very active, with frequent fixes, balances, and patches.
One of the most troubling issues with WARFRAME (in its current state, of course) is to be found in their level generation. Having played through almost all of the game so far, we’ve ran across a gamut of mission, challenges, and various alerts. The level , however, never seems to change, eventually making all the challenges feel the same. Despite having some amazing mechanics that have managed to keep us entertained for hours, we’ve come across points where we could not remember if we’d done a certain challenge, or even an entire area. In addition to this, the story seems to be non-existent past the first area. Of course, the game is subject to extreme change at this point, so we have full confidence that the team will address these issues immediately.
As an all-in-one game, WARFRAME is doing an outstanding job. With its action-packed combat, “play-as-you-like” style, and extensive customization, it is well on its way to becoming a great title. This game should definitely be on your watchlists — we know it’ll be on ours.