“Space ninjas” take on robot horde in Warframe

A MAG WARFRAME, LOW ON SHIELDS, FLEES from a Corpus Moa walker and a few crewmen during a defense mission on Europa. In defense missions, the player(s) fight off increasingly difficult waves of enemies.

Warframe is a relatively new game to our world. It’s been in an open beta for a while now, and on occasion its play reflects that with bugged-out missions and character modeling and movement, but it is a very good game which is worthy of your time to check out. Normally, given that the game came out some time ago, we would not cover it, as it’s not timely material, but this last weekend the developers of Warframe ran the first global objective for every single player to contribute to, and the release met with much success.

Just to start out at square one, the basics of the game are this: it’s a four-player cooperative third person shooter/melee affair, featuring rather fast-paced combat which often takes the form of what I have come to call a “blood sprint.” In the game you play a Tenno, which is in essence a space ninja.

The backstory is that there was a great war, and the result of this war was that the Tenno were victorious, but shattered in their victory. They were spread out in and around the solar system, and now there are new threats arising in the post-war era.

At first the enemies are the Grineer, who are an empire that believe in heavy armor and a brutally-styled blend of technology and biological systems. They are an interesting foe and have a distinct style that I enjoy fighting against. Shortly after you begin your campaign against them, two new foes appear. First are the terrifying alien Infested, who are members of the other factions which have been infested and perverted by some terrifying organism. I got the impression that the organism was an attempt at generating new technology on the behalf of the Grineer, but that isn’t really a focus of the game. The final enemies you find are the Corpus, who are a group of pure technologically-oriented folks consisting of flying drones, strange walkers called Moa, and then just some weak humanoids. Their focus is often on shields as opposed to armor.

The way the game is played, you can run a public, private, or solo lobby, and you go around a solar system map choosing what specific area and mission you fight through. There are raids, rescues, intel gatherings, assassinations, and spy missions, just to name a few. It’s something fun you can do with friends, but in my opinion, this is one of the first games I’ve played that is more fun to play with randoms online. When you play with friends you often are more thorough and take your time running through mission segments making sure to gather every item and things like that, but when you’re with randoms, the only thing you have in common is your objective, which is where and why I coined the term “blood sprint.” You and your fellow Tenno in that moment exist only to grab that intel or to kidnap that enemy operative. So you sprint and acrobatically combat your way not around or over, but through anything and everything in your way.

In the previous update, the developers added what they call “alerts.” These are temporary objectives added on top of the normal objective in a mission zone which, if completed, yield additional rewards. They can be anything from capturing an additional guy to destroying an ammo dump, and they appear all throughout the day often for only 30 minutes, so you have to run and grab the objective as fast as you can find them. This was a big boon to the game as it added another dimension to their mission system.

And in their last update, the one which inspired the writing of this review, they added a new enemy type in the Corpus forces and made a new global style objective. The backstory they gave was that the Corpus made a new type of Moa walker and had dropped one million of them on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. The new Moa were a fusion of Corpus technology and Orokin technology, which is the strange high technology that the Tenno, Grineer, and Corpus are often fighting over. The new Moa were stronger than all previous versions and needed to be destroyed, so a counter was added to the main game HUD, counting down the percentage of the new Fusion Moa killed.

This was a really cool advancement added to the game which brought a lot of the player base sort of back into the game. It was a heck of a lot of fun rushing to unlock any missions on Europa, then going through Europa missions trying to kill as many Fusion Moa as possible.

Overall, the game is a lot of fun. You get to play a space ninja who runs through spaceships and space stations and planetary bases shooting the butt off anything that moves in a set of powered armor. It’s a blast, and the customization system surrounding the weapons and the powered armor you wear is a dream to anyone who, like me, enjoys Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect-style micromanagement of armor and weapon resources.