Sci-fi action-RPG drops the price and slips on its dancing shoes
For a game where you play an iPodified ninja garbed in eye-wateringly tight armour
and armed with a hot mix of katanas, knuckle dusters and assault rifles, Warframe is oddly hard to love. Perhaps that’s because of the storyline, a rote sci-fi affair in which ancient space warriors known as the Tenno battle pug-ugly cyborgs at the behest of a bored lady wearing a big hat. For much of the game, the narrative contents itself with half-hearted rationales for over-familiar missions defend this area, hunt down this enemy, press this button, capture and hold this, kill everybody in sight.



Basic movement is also deeply unlovely, beset by glitches and a manual third-person camera unsuited to melee. It’s common when executing parkour moves such as wall-runs to somehow catapult yourself a hundred metres sideways, or bounce your head off the geometry. The levels which range from sewers through battleship interiors and ice-encrusted bases, all randomly generated per match are at least large enough to support this kind of horseplay, though many are also littered with pitfalls that trigger instant, believability-killing respawns. And that’s in addition to other, hopefully launch-period-only bugs, such as random console crashing and mission-critical NPCs who refuse to budge.

And yet, it’s annoyingly hard to hate. Persevere until you’ve unlocked all the modules for your spacecraft and you’ll find it to be an option-stuffed free-to-play action-RPG with pleasantly noisy combat, if not a very graceful one.

Each Warframe the aforementioned figure-hugging suit is equipped with primary, secondary and melee weapons, four active abilities and slots for craftable modifiers. The variety is quite impressive, enabling you to customise your abilities to your preferred play style.

Warframe is theoretically a co-op-centric game, but it’s often better to play a mission solo (matchmaking can be disabled) allies tend to gallop ahead in hopes of nailing the most kills, spoiling the fun for laidback sorts.

But however you approach it, know that Warframe is a game that grows on you. It might handle like a startled kitten, but it’s bizarrely hard to put down.