Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Space Ninja Co-Op FPS

Warframe seems like a good replacement for Berserk the cataclysm, which irritated me. There is still a collectible card game that is gradually growing in size. And the cards do interesting things. The base damage of all the weapons doesn’t change but the cards you collect change the special abilities. And the more you practice with a weapon more (powerful) abilities can be applied to it. This is just the sort of level up system I like. More exiting special abilities to lean how and when to use rather than a dull increase in strength.

So for example I can chose to build a gun with greater critical hit chance and crit damage. Or go for an increase in ammo and clip capacity. If I know the map has heavily armoured opponents I may remove all my other abilities and use flat armour penetration. Currently the game has only 4 energy types: Electricity, Fire, Frost and Armour. Then there are a few mechanical upgrade cards. I haven’t yet seen an electric or frost enemies, but have seen a few that are weak against each of these elements.

The actual Warframe is like a skin-tight Mecha and so you also gain experience at using it and can give it different flavours with your collectable cards as well, like move speed or better shields. Some of the warframe abilities are more reminiscent of Dragon Ball Z than any Mechs I’ve seen.

Another similarity to Berzerk is the daily login reward. But better than berserk it doesn’t demand I play for an hour every 8hours. I can just login, look for an alert and leave.

Other than that the plot and world remind me of E.Y.E Devine Cybermancy and the foundry is a bit like TF2. I’m hoping it will allow us to trade cards at a later date and open up the resource items to an auction house. The gameplay is also reminiscent of Tribes Ascended in which I had great fun skiing but never really bothered fighting. Though in this one there are a lot of wall runs, backflips and general matrix fighting techniques I’ve found that I lack fingers to press all the required buttons on the keyboard.

The four player limitation is interesting. It’s certainly not an MMO, but single player is really hard so playing with at least one other person is best. I think it’s a good design decision especially considering the stealth elements of the game and the nature of the quests. Then again the stealth feels a bit unfinished. Currently you only gain experience from kills and loot is only found on corpses so there is no tangible benefit of being a ninja.

Maybe if there were missions that required you to never set of the alarm. Or you could hack the terminals, so the alarm cannot be activated in that room. But there also needs to be a card/resource/xp reward equivalent to all the minions you don’t kill to make the effort worthwhile.

The death mechanic could do with some work, failing the mission makes sense. But then I’m immediately safe back in my space station. Possibly if there were alert missions for emergency extraction it would be a bit more seamless. I know there are prisoner rescue missions but they are all set pieces and I’ve no personal attachment to the prisoners. I’d be happy to do an emergency extraction every time I failed a mission, then have it kept score like a Kill:Death ratio.

Overall it’s already been more fun than Mechwarrior Online. And also may take the place of LOL as my quick co op game. Depending on what happens at the guild level it may eat into my GW2 time. Defiantly also has more staying power than something like Deus Ex.