It’s hard to talk about or review Warframe in its current state without acknowledging its roots. On release, Warframe could easily be dismissed as passable sci-fi action shooter experience with the potential for greatness. Watch any of the early release gameplay videos and you can see some desperate need for TLC. Booting up the game now, more than four years post-release, it seems insane that anyone who has touched a keyboard or controller for more than 10 minutes is not talking about or playing this game. But as a recent addition to the Warframe player base, I’m here to offer a new player’s perspective on the game in its current state, as well as my early impressions of the Plains of Eidolon content.
I only decided to install Warframe on a whim just a few weeks ago thanks to a surge of positive Steam reviews and buzz surrounding the game in the news in recent months. The amount of content, style and polish that greeted me when I booted up the game was staggering, especially as a free-to-play title. You can draw plenty of similarities to Destiny, Borderlands or other loot shooters, but what sets Warframe apart is the raw power they put at your fingertips with the massive modding system and freedom of movement available to players. It’s like developer Digital Extremes built a game exclusively around the Rule of Cool and then cranked it up to 11.
I like that boulder. That is a nice boulder.
The cherry on top of all of this is the most recent addition of Plains of Eidolon, which offers a gorgeous open world zone for players to explore and complete tons of new activities, like mining, fishing, bounties and cave exploration. This is the first time players can use Archwings to navigate outside of the regular tilesets, which is definitely helpful. The plains are massive, and while you can get around just fine bullet jumping, zooming through the air and looking down at the map feels awesome. It’s unfortunate that activating your Archwing is limited by having to craft Archwing Launchers, but the materials are not hard to farm, so it’s not a huge hurdle.
Players will also get to hunt Eidolons; towering boss monstrosities that stomp across the plains at night, searching for others of their kind. In a game where you’re meant to feel like an all-powerful hero, I was still terrified when I came across an Eidolon by accident as it was destroying a Grineer patrol. Their presence in the plains evokes memories of old-school World of Warcraft world bosses; lumbering titans waiting to be challenged by a group of coordinated players.
The new player hub of Cetus, located on Earth, was a bit confusing as a new player. It took me several minutes of combing the Warframe Fan Wiki and randomly speaking to vendors to understand what I could do. My favorite addition to the game has to be Hok’s Anvil, which lets players create custom melee weapons called Zaws, piece by piece. It can feel like more unnecessary grinding at first, but I like that the devs are providing new ways to personalize your Tenno even more.
You’ll always find a handful of players at Hok’s Anvil
I haven’t gotten to dig into the other gameplay changes and additions like Focus points or Mod sets, which function like MMO gear set bonuses, but I’m excited to add even more deadly firepower and cool abilities to an already huge arsenal. Even if you never touch the Plains of Eidolon content, it still feels so good to easily drop as much time into this game as any AAA full price title in stores and not pay a single cent.
The one thing I wish the Plains content had was a giant public service announcement for new players that says, “You don’t have to do this stuff right now!” It’s not immediately apparent that Plains content progression is completely separate from the main game, so I wasted a fair amount of time on the Plains when I should have been progressing through the base game to get new Warframes and crucial items. Even with a few minor hiccups, Digital Extremes have set a new high bar for me with free-to-play game quality and developer support post-launch, and I don’t think that bar will be topped anytime soon.
Gameplay - 9.5/10
Plot - 8.5/10
Design - 9/10
A fantastic addition to an already massive free-to-play triumph
Plains of Eidolon adds a massive amount of fun new content and the first open world environment for veteran Tennos and new Warframe players to enjoy.