At almost eight years old, Warframe continues to reaffirm that it is a game that never plans on going away. Originally a PC title, before moving to consoles, Warframe finds itself storming into another console generation. Despite an initial slow growth, Warframe now homes 50 million ninjas and carries itself into new hardware with a wave of momentum.
Personally, I was an early adopter of Warframe on the PlayStation 4 and found the experience to be underwhelming at that time. Having picked it up again for this review, it’s clear to see Warframe has had a substantial upgrade in terms of both its grind and general activities. The biggest surprise for me was how expansive Warframe has become since its early days. I was expecting to return to the cramped, linear corridors but was instead greeted with these big open levels. There was more freedom to explore, as opposed to railroading you in one direction to get the objective done.
With the PlayStation 5’s hardware, jumping in and out of levels was pretty snappy too. Allowing users to quickly rotate between objectives is a massive bonus. For me, I found myself more likely to give a game like Warframe a quick play over my lunch hour if getting in and out of games makes it worth my time.
Of course, the core gameplay of Warframe doesn’t differ too much between the two console generations. Its key differences in the new generation is taking advantage of the hardware it runs on. Digital Extremes does a good job putting that extra power to use. Hopping on to the PlayStation 4 Pro to compare how the game runs, there are noticeable differences in the loading and in-game performance. Regardless of how heavy the screen becomes littered with enemies, the game never begins to struggle on the PlayStation 5, all whilst maintaining that 4K, 60FPS experience that Sony keeps banging on about. There is use of the haptic feedback on the Dualsense controller too, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen so far. It’s a nice little addition that shows a little extra care has been put into porting this over to the PlayStation 5.
As we’re seeing more often on console hardware now, there’s the option to adapt graphical settings to your heart's content. Although not as diverse as you’re likely to see on your standard PC game, it’s easy to appreciate Digital Extremes going that extra mile in terms of settings options. This isn’t just a standard frame rate vs resolution settings menu. There’s varied options for you to find that combination you want to work with. It’s something I hope we see more studios introduce throughout this console generation.
My sticking point with Warframe remains its gameplay - which played a massive role in turning me off years ago. It just feels too easy. With free-to-play games you expect to hit a wall of sudden difficulty, which maybe I never reached, but the cycle of missions becomes too tedious because of lack of challenge. Devolving into a mindless collection of looting, rather than an engaging gameplay experience loses me in terms of fun. To play, it does feel nice though, which is a bonus. Whether gunning enemies down or slicing them apart, everything feels very fluid in Warframe. It's a massive improvement from how it used to feel, it’s just still a bit too easy for me to really enjoy.
A big negative, which won’t affect everyone, is the game’s lack of introduction for returning players. I hadn’t played Warframe since 2014, with a lot of changes taking place over the years. Nothing really explains what’s changed, nor how you should adapt to those changes. There’s no re-introduction tutorial, the game just throws you back out into the world. A lack of effort for easing old players back into the game seems short sighted, especially as we have people likely to dip into the free-to-play market on the new consoles with the list of PlayStation 5 games still quite short.
Of course, Warframe carrying over my game from 2014 is a testament to how well the game does work for those switching console generations. It was a seamless change, allowing me to install and carry on playing without any roadblocks. For those who put a lot of time into Warframe on the PlayStation 4, returning on the PlayStation 5 will be as simple as downloading and clicking play.
As expected, the core experience of Warframe on the PlayStation 5 remains similar to that of the previous generation. It does a great job taking advantage of the new hardware however, allowing users to get into the action a lot quicker. It’s a big benefit to the gameplay loop, an hour of playing Warframe on the PlayStation 5 allows you the time to do two, sometimes three additional missions compared to what you may have done in a similar timeframe on the PlayStation 4. Overall, Digital Extremes has done an excellent job improving the Warframe experience on PlayStation 5.
Warframe (Reviewed on PlayStation 5)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
The gameplay loop of Warframe remains the same, but the smooth frame rate and great loading times will be a great benefit to long term console players as they move to the PlayStation 5. If you’re a Warframe fan, you can look forward to a much sharper experience.