Warframe – two months too late on the Xbox One

I was pretty surprised when I saw that Warframe was available to download for free on the Xbox Live Marketplace the other day. I had heard about the game on the PC, and how popular it had become with the fans, as well as the PS4 version which was met with average reviews, but I hadn’t heard about the impending Xbox One port. It means that I started this month with very little to play and now, all of a sudden, I seem to be swamped with games. Minecraft was a shock release late last week, Destiny will be here in a matter of hours (or is already here, depending on when you’re reading this) and FIFA 15 will be with us at the end of the month. Then, when you add Warframe to the pile, you’ve got a lot of hours of gaming time right there. If Warframe came a few months ago, I would have happily played it with the dedication that it so deserves but now, what with Minecraft and Destiny chomping at its figurative heels, I’m afraid that I just wont have the time to play it. Which is a shame.

There’s nothing wrong with Warframe, per se. In fact, I really enjoyed playing the little bits that I managed to squeeze in last week. The problem with it is that it isn’t quite good enough to warrant me giving it most of my gaming time, not when you compare it to Minecraft or Destiny. I seem to be getting progressively more busy these days, which is part and parcel of growing up, I guess. But that means that I have less spare time to dedicate to playing video-games. So, when your playtime becomes more restricted, some games just won’t make the cut. Warframe is one of those games. I’ve been waiting for Minecraft on the Xbox One for months (near on a year) and I’ve been pumped for Destiny ever since playing the beta – so despite how good or poor a game Warframe is, it would have taken something incredibly special to steal me away from those two bad-boys.

I must admit, Destiny does spare a minor resemblance to Warframe (in one or two ways) and I know that Warframe came first but, to me, it is a poor man’s Destiny. I think it’s the micro-transactions that make me feel that way – especially as it seems near on impossible to purchase anything in-game unless you use real cash. But the game is free, and it’s one that I wouldn’t have purchased otherwise, so I’m not complaining. But just because something’s free, it doesn’t mean that I have to love it. I’d much rather pay £45 for a decent game than play a lesser quality game for free. And, when you compare it to Destiny, Warframe is a little ‘lesser quality’ – which is a statement that I’m sure will upset one or two Warframe fans. By ‘lesser quality’ I don’t necessarily mean that the game is rubbish. What I mean is that the developers didn’t have the finances available to them on the same scale as those behind Destiny. Destiny has had millions and millions of pounds thrown at it, throughout its development and during its marketing – it’s going to be good, at least, but it has the potential to be brilliant and that potential has come from its financial backing. Minecraft, on the other hand, has made far more money than it has cost – but that’s down to a multitude of factors. Still, when you compare Warframe to a game with a cult following like Minecraft, or a game with the financial firepower of Destiny, it doesn’t have much of a chance in the long run.

For me, Warframe will make a brilliant filler over the months to come. It’ll be one of those games that I flit in and out of (alongside Minecraft) over the course of the next few months; whilst I wait for games like Inquisition or Sunset Overdrive. Once I’ve played a good few hours of Destiny, and the hype train has slowed down, I’m sure that I’ll have more time for Warframe. It’s just a shame that it didn’t come earlier. Obviously, I’d imagine that the game came as soon as it could, but had it arrived two months earlier I might have been a bit more addicted to it. It might have even turned me away from Destiny, given that it’s free and kind of similar – if anything it does the online multiplayer better than Destiny because you remain in a squad of four in all missions. If I’d had a good few weeks to really sink my teeth into it, I might have been a Warframe convert. But, now that I’ve paid for Minecraft and purchased my pre-order for Destiny, I feel somewhat obliged to play them – waste not want not, and all that.

Warframe is a pretty good game (going by what I’ve played so far), and I think that, were I a little more dedicated to it, I could have considered it a great game. The brilliant thing about it is that it isn’t going anywhere. It’ll still be there in a few months, or years and they’ll probably continue to add more content and finetune the game over the next few months. So I’ll come back to it in a few months and, hopefully, I’ll have more time to get in to it, and enjoy a game that deserves to be played properly.