When Warframe was first released, back in 2013, I remember playing it on PC and finding a barebones version of a promising game. It already had a very distinct character design, for sure, with cybernetic ninjas fighting against different alien factions, but the content in general was uninspired and repetitive. Nevertheless, Digital Extremes has been working relentlessly to turn their game into a experience of its kind – and now, with the help of Panic Button, it is a great free-to-play option available on Switch.
One of the many improvements that Warframe received since its conception can be seen in its narrative, which is now much more prominent during your adventure through the game’s expansive universe. As a recent awake Tenno, you must control one of the titular Warframes – powerful cyber suits – to help in a long-lasting war against robots, cyborgs, drones, insects, and other hostile alien species. In order to do that, you must engage on missions (solo or with the help of online buddies) across the many planets and moons found on the Solar System.
These missions come in a huge variety of formats, as your objective is always changing. From stealth missions to fully-fledged assaults into enemy territory, there is a huge amount of content for you to uncover. Most of these maps follow a more linear, bite-sized approach – perfect for a handheld, I’d say – but some of the most recent additions to Warframe include some open areas, where you’re free to explore and take on quests and other side-objectives.
What really elevates all these missions into another level is the fluidity of Warframe’s combat. You can have all sort of primary and secondary weapons in your arsenal, including pistols, rifles, shotguns and other less conventional weaponry like bows and shurikens. At its base, the game plays like you would expect from a third-person shooter, but the Warframe adds a whole level of movement possibilities, as you can double jump, dive, climb and slide – all while you keep shooting the enemies in the face. In addition, each type of Warframe have its own set of skills, which can really turn the tide on certain encounters.
Fortunalely, progression isn’t locked behind paywalls, though you can buy pretty much everything you need (except certain cosmetic items). However, if you desire to get into the late-game part of Warframe, you need to be prepared to play it a lot, because everything (from weapons to Warframes) can be levelled up and improved with the game’s complex customisation system. To craft the most powerful gear, you’ll need to collect loot from bosses and repeat some missions. Therefore, be prepared for some grinding. If that isn’t a problem to you – or, better, if you have some friends to accompany you – then, by no means, jump into the world of Warframe.
A treat to the eyes, Warframe is a beautiful looking free-to-play game that presents a fast-paced and very fluid third-person shooter gameplay. Despite being a bit grindy, it has a huge amount of content to be enjoyed with friends.