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About Warframe

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Genre: Shooter | Publisher: Digital Extremes | Platform: PC
Digital Extremes might not be one of the best-known game developers, but they have worked on an impressive catalog of games, from the Unreal and Bioshock series to more niche titles like Dark Sector, Homefront, and The Darkness II.

Warframe, a free-to-play third-person action game, is their first in-house original in quite some time. It includes an almost intimidating amount of customizable gear, plus a strong variety of mission types and very high production values. Best of all, you don’t need to open your wallet to experience the best of what the game can offer.

Warframe: Core Challenges

Warframe drops you immediately into a well-developed sci-fi world by way of a long tutorial that is concerned more with teaching you the game mechanics than world-building, and that’s a good thing. The learning curve amps swiftly upward, particularly between missions. Your personal ship acts as a home base, full of menu nodes you will unlock over the course of the tutorial missions. Prepare to spend a lot of time in these nodes. They allow you to augment your character and weapons, craft new items from collected materials, and purchase items with in-game currency or real money. 

Every node in Warframe presents as much complexity as entirety of some games, and you unlock five of them in the first few hours of the game. Prepare to spend some time scratching your head in bewilderment at first, especially when you realize that some options in one node can only be activated from a different one. But there is method to the madness, and the complexity is a function of the sheer customizability offered in Warframe

Once you finish the tutorial, the mission structure opens up considerably and gives you the chance to tackle different areas with up to three other players. Just be aware that if you want to be able to complete the game solo, you will need to build up your gear. That will mean either grinding for materials and in-game currency, or spending real-world money to buy what you need in Warframe.

Warframe: What We Like About It

Mobility & Combat
Warframe feels very good to play. Your character moves with satisfying speed. The weapons and melee combat have appropriate weight to the animations and sounds. Early trailers ran with the slogan “Ninjas play free,” and that wasn’t just a clever piece of advertising. The warframes move like ninjas, with fierce, efficient movements and platforming abilities such as running along walls.

You can obtain optional companions that hover, lope, or roll alongside you through levels, spewing their own brand of death at your enemies. Sentinels can be purchased almost immediately with Platinum (an in-game currency that can only be obtained by dumping real money into your player account). But you can also purchase Sentinel blueprints with in-game currency, and then build them with materials gathered during missions.

When you begin a new game, there are four warframe avatars to choose from, and the game does a nice job explaining the differences between them. As you progress and unlock different nodes in your ship, the list of possible warframes balloons to twenty. Not only do the different warframes move and animate differently, they all have unique abilities suited to different playstyles. Oh, and they look ridiculously cool, too! 

Story / Gameplay

In Warframe, you play as a “Tenno,” a special kind of soldier who has been in cryogenic sleep for several centuries. The Tenno wear warframes to fight, which is one reason they are being woken up by certain factions in a mysterious war. The lore of Warframe is nebulous but deep, and there is a sense that more will be revealed through future free updates.

The missions themselves combine fast-paced action—shooting, melee, and special abilities—with rudimentary platforming and loot hunting. Your first warframe and weapons loadout will be with you for a long time, because further weapons must be crafted or purchased with real money. Everything levels up with use, so your favorite weapons constantly grow more powerful.

Top User Questions about Warframe

Free-to-play, but pay-to-win? 
Some FTP games hide their best content behind arbitrary pay walls, but Warframe does an excellent job balancing free and paid content. In fact, all purchasable items — with the exception of a few cosmetic enhancements —are able to be crafted in-game, so you never have to spend a dime of real-world money as long as you don’t mind grinding for materials. 

Is there a level cap? 
All actions in Warframe reward you with Affinity, which other games might call experience points (XP). Every warframe and weapon levels up independently through use, and the cap is Level 30. But that’s not the end of the story. Every time an item levels up, it also contributes Mastery Points, which are tied specifically to your character’s Mastery Rank. This means you are actually rewarded for swapping out maxed-out weapons and gear in order to start leveling new ones and gain more Mastery Points.

What are the single and multiplayer options? 
Warframe provides various options for single and multiplayer experiences. It is possible to play the entire game solo, but understand that some missions are designed with co-op play in mind, and will be much more difficult to manage by yourself. After the tutorial, you are able to create or join four-player co-op teams. You can play with friends or let the game set pair you with other players who happen to be online at the same time. There are also several PvP modes where players can ostentatiously square off against each other’s lovingly built warframes

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