Warframe PS4 review – Confusing, beautiful and free-to-play

This is the strongest of all PS4’s free-to-play offerings: a four-player co-op shooter built around raids, base defence and occasionally just the sheer joy of killing everything around you. Warframe has a fascinating world of quasi-mythical sci-fi and unusual art design that creates something genuinely distinct around the Tenno – a band of mystical space warriors – as they battle with the lumpy and draconian Grineer.

Warframe PS4 review

The setup sees you choosing a Warframe, an almost magical cross between space suit and armour that comes with a range of class-specific benefits and specialities such as electrical attacks, healing, or – in the case of my Mag suit – the ability to affect fields; boosting shields or pulling in enemies with kinetic attacks. As well as the robo-threads, you can also equip and individually level-up guns, pistols and melee weapons. There are also hovering sentinel drones, ability cards to find, equip, fuse and… oh God, there’s just so much stuff. That’s my main criticism of Warframe – I’m enjoying it, yet can’t help feel like I’m drowning in content rather than actually navigating it.

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With so many options it’s baffling that nothing’s explained, leaving you to cautiously nudge around menus like a colour-blind bomb disposal expert prodding wires. The menus are numerous, dense and utterly unexplained. Upgrades, purchases, load out alterations all feel like they’re being attempted in a foreign language making almost any significant progress cautious and slow.

Visual issues also crop up from time to time, with the game particularly struggling when things get busy. The engine physically struggles to render the action when things get busy. Another problem is that when all hell breaks lose the sheer amount lights, numbers and effects exploding in front of you can make it ocasionally hard to distinguish what’s going on, and to who. It’s the kind of game where, in the button-mashing heat of the moment, you can find yourself watching the wrong character in the confusion (especially if you’re wearing similar suits).

Warframe PS4

The actual Warframes are the armour you wear, each with different abilities & uses.

Two main currencies are at play in Warframe: platinum and credits. The former allows you to buy premium things straightaway – be it new suits, weapons and other items – while the latter enables you to purchase blueprints and build them instead. That means you don’t have to spend any real money if you’re patient enough to grind away. You need to be careful however, as while a blueprint does tell you what combination of space rocks and magic boogers you need to build stuff, it’s not clear if you actually have it. As a result, I currently have a gun blueprint, which took me ages to save up for, that I now can’t build.

If you can live with the pervading
sense of confusion, there’s a lot
of game here for no money

In-game transactions are also shrewdly bundled so that the smaller £3-£7 packs of platinum don’t really get you anywhere significant, and even the larger £20 options won’t get you much more than a single weapon or a new suit. Warframe’s promise of building a magical space warrior is still worth a look – so long as you embrace the knowledge that you’re probably doing it wrong. If you can live with the pervading sense of confusion, there’s a lot of game here for no money. Whether it convinces you to part with some cash or not, you’ll still keep coming back.

Our Score

Score: 7
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