As mentioned in this article, a few weeks ago Medic and I tried an experiment where we played a free game of each other’s choice, in the hopes of expanding our horizons. Medic played Planetside 2 with me and I played Warframe with her. The conclusion? She didn’t like her new game very much and I unfortunately have to say the same. 😦
I really, really wanted to like it, which is the weirdest thing. I’ve loved games that are decidedly worse. I can’t even point to anything in particular the game did wrong, instead I’ve just got this laundry list of positives. The artstyle is gorgeous, the customization system is nuanced, the combat options are versatile, and the mobility system exceeded my expectations. You can roll, bullet jump, wallride, slide, and pretty much every other form of movement I can imagine. As a professed fan of both third-person shooters and mobility, this game should by all rights be my new favorite game.
But I just never really felt like I was having fun. I wasn’t bored, either, just stuck somewhere in the middle, killing endless enemies with my bow and wondering when the enemies were gonna stop so I could leave and rack up my XP. Now that I’m thinking about it, enemy mook design is a particular flaw I can point to. Both the Corpus and Grineer are significantly less interesting than the ultra-stylized world around them, consisting of cookie-cutter metallic suits and robotized unintelligible voices. They honestly look really dated, like the sort of character you’d see in the background of a Judge Dredd comic book.
Corpus grunt Grineer grunt
The other NPCs on your ship really grated on me too. I hesitate to admit this, as Medic has mentioned her fondness for Ordis on numerous occasions, but his atrocious attempts to have a personality made me hate him really, really quickly. I get it, he’s a robot so he doesn’t understand humor, but that doesn’t mean his idiocy is endearing, instead I just turned his voice off in the settings. Didn’t help that I was stuck for almost fifteen minutes on the part in the tutorial where he endlessly chants “Ordis patiently awaits compliance in using the new arsenal features. It is for the operators own good” while the arsenal stubbornly refused to do anything, though I think this tells you more about me than him.
But you can’t rid of Lotus, who mostly bothered me due to her avatar’s eyeless helmet and her constant nagging to go do various things. I guess I didn’t so much dislike her, I just didn’t really like her either. This kinda went for everything in the universe; the mechanics were great but the world seemed lifeless, its pieces in place just to give the player something to jump, kill, or sprint over. Of course, the loot system is also notoriously grindy, which might have been the other problem. I wasn’t particularly excited to replay missions for any reason, as they were blending into each other enough without literally repeating, but I’ve heard Medic talk about replaying missions over and over in the hopes of rolling some rare loot and I’m not positive I want to give the game a chance to catch my eye if it’s going to reward my patronage with MMO RNG crap.
And then there’s the ‘realtime blueprint crafting’ mechanic, a time-wasting strategy borrowed directly from the mobile app playbook, and I can see why I’m subconsciously looking for reasons to not enjoy Warframe. The worst case scenario would be to actually fall in love with the game, then I’d be forced to make the hard choice between abandoning something I found fun or putting up with design choices that get more annoying the longer you play. Sorry Warframe, you have a lot going for you, but I threw Loadout under the bus for less.