A lot has changed in Warframe since my original impressions article back in January 2014. Back then I had put around 300 hours into the game, and since then that number has climbed to about 900. With the recent announcement of the upcoming update The War Within , I figured I’d jump back in and see how things are going in the world of the Tenno. Before I talk about the changes I’ve noticed since my glorious return, I’ll assume you’ve never heard of Warframe before. It is a free to play co-op 3rd person shooter, where you play as a space ninja with guns and super powers – and it works.
Warframe excels at pretty much everything. The visuals rival, if not top, most AAA titles, and at the same time the game can run on machines with remarkably low specs. The gameplay is smooth, the playstyles of different weapons and Warframes are wonderfully varied, and the game does an excellent job at keeping you moving towards your next objective. There is always something fun to do in Warframe, and Digital Extremes is constantly releasing new content to make sure it stays that way. The amount of content can feel a little overwhelming to new players, but DE does a pretty good job at starting new players slow – maybe even a little too slow. Even if it turns out to scratch your particular itch, Warframe is free – pick it up on steam and try it out. You (probably) won’t be disappointed.
Like I said, a LOT has changed since I last played Warframe, and even more has changed since I last wrote about it. I think this is part of what makes Warframe so great. Constant reiterations, revisions and additions. There is always something exciting and new coming down the pipe in the next update.
Let me run through just some of the changes I’ve noticed in my short time back. There have been SIGNIFICANT UI improvements, including a new star map and a completely different approach to the main menu. In the past, Warframe had a pretty standard main menu where you could select and customize your loadout, go to the store, or find a new match among other things. Now, your space ship is your menu. When you log into the game, you are in your ship, which you physically walk around to access menu items like navigation, inventory, loadout (arsenal), crafting (foundry) and more. After a mission, if you look outside your ship, you can see the planet you are orbiting, along with any party member’s ships. I think this is one of the coolest changes of all, even though it doesn’t really affect gameplay.
DE has also completely reworked basically every aspect of the game’s mechanics. They did this incrementally to get current players used to all of the change, but looking back on it, the current iteration of Warframe is completely different than the beta version I played before. They reworked a lot of the combat – granting all Warframes all of their base abilities by default (removing the need to use a mod slot to activate an ability), adding interesting elemental mod combinations and status effects (e.g. fire and ice together make blast, which can knock enemies down), and overhauling melee combat, by making melee weapons holdable and introducing stance mods that can completely alter the playstyle of a weapon. All of this lends itself to making you feel like an insanely overpowered space ninja warrior.
They also completely changed how movement / parkour works – and while I originally wasn’t a fan, I’ve grown to appreciate some of the changes, like infinite wall running. It takes some getting used to, but when you understand the movement system in Warframe, you not only feel as strong as a space ninja warrior, you feel like you can move like one too.
Aside from mechanics changes, DE has brought in TONS of new content. I won’t talk about all of the new weapons and Warframes that have been added, because lets be honest, you don’t want to read patch notes for the last 2 years. I will say there has not been a shortage of new toys to play with – they even introduced a new kind of Warframe called an Archwing that lets you take out baddies flying around in space, or under an ocean. There have been significant additions in terms of quests and new game modes (including Lunaro, which is basically space ninja soccer), and various quality of life improvements, like bonuses for stealth kills, and a rework of the mod upgrade system that makes it a much smoother process.
There hasn’t been a ton revealed about the upcoming patch, The War Within, but we do know we will be learning more about Grineer Queens, the character Teshin, and our history as Tenno.
Ben is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PCGR. He writes much of the content, manages the site, and does other editorial things that would bore you to tears.