Destiny 2 has its merits. It’s a large, has various worlds with solid gunplay, and there is a lot of loot to grind for. Honestly though, that’s about it. The story is shallow, progress is slow, and unlocks have no meaningful impact on the gameplay. The sequel now costs 60 bucks with only minor improvements to the base game. Warframe, on the other hand, has none of problems, and it’s completely free.
Right up front, Warframe is a very different game from Destiny, and yes, Warframe has been around for a while. Warframe is a third person action game that involves jetting around the galaxy as a space ninja with blade and gun in hand. Your jobs it he save the galaxy or something, or you can just explore and build your arsenal. Destiny 2 plays a similar song, although from a first person perspective. Where the games truly meet, however, is in the fact that they both revolve around the ever persistent quest for new, better equipment, while tiptoeing around a story that generally involves things that are never quite explained in any real detail. So truthfully, they aren’t that different. It’s the never ending pursuit of new and better equipment that keeps people coming back.
Warframe launched at around the same time that the PS4 landed, with Destiny coming shortly after. Warframe at the time didn’t have that much going for it, although it certainly had a cult following. It was a decently enjoyable game, what with the slashing and blasting of enemies while parkour your way through endless space stations, but it was paired with repetitive content, a lackluster story, and a free to play model that, simply by association, turned most people away. Now, destiny wasn’t much different. The game drug out for ages with missions constantly repeating the content, and the game was basically “go here shoot that”. The largest difference between the two games was in fact their respective costs, with Destiny costing 60 bucks and Warframe being a F2P. Well, that and Bungie had it’s history with Halo (with much of the development staff coming together to make the game after their success and departure from the Halo series).
Destiny quickly became a success, but hammered it’s customers with endless grinding and expensive DLC packages that were, mostly, huge disappointing and shallow in content. The game quickly fell into an endless grind for a weapon or piece of armor that was subtly better, just with a different skin or higher numbers. The raids were interesting, but required careful coordination with capable friends and the mutual investment into the exceptionally expensive season passes to be enjoyable. Both of these were turn offs that had me dumping the game shortly after the main campaign ended. Eventually, Destiny 2 would arrive, but the gameplay was basically unchanged, and the first DLC has landed with a reception that can only be described as lukewarm to stale, with it’s limited content and expensive price tag, yet again. The pattern here has solidified.
Warframe, however, has quietly been growing, changing, and expanding into new an interesting directions. The game has reworked it’s entire beginning campaign, added huge amounts of content, and constantly adds new frames and weapons that not only improve the capability of the player, but actually change the way the game is played. A new frame isn’t simply a new suit, it’s an entire new set of abilities and unlocks. New weapons not only look and sound different, but they interact and affect the enemies in unique and interesting ways. The most recent Plains of Eidolon explansion not only provides enough content to be considered a new game, but also changes the game enough that it could easily be considered Warframe 2. It widens the scope of the game into a full open world, adds mining, fishing, the ability to design and useyour own weapons. There are new quests, fresh story missions, new enemies, new weapons, frames, abilities, and even the ability to fly around the map in an Archwing.
Since it’s inception, Warframe has added clans which allow players to get together to research new equipment, build sprawling bases, and even train and fight together on missions. Syndicates allow the play to side with factions in the galaxy, fighting in their battles while earning rewards and balancing allegiances (and wars) between others while doing it. Invasions have the player defending colonies or even entire planets as a group from new threats. There is now fishing, mining, trading, bounties, massive enemies that require raid like coordination to take down, meaningful crafting, and entire planets worth of new content to explore that continually pours into the game. The best part? You can still enjoy the entire game and it’s expansion, for free, without grinding (unless you want to score more loot).
The game goes deep too, with RPG elements like different types of damages with different types of mods, leveling not only your character but individual weapons and mods, mods slots with polarities that aid and affect or even stack bonuses onto others, and a story mode that even after being about 45 hours into the game, I’ve only about half completed.
Now sure, you can spend money in Warframe (and I recommend it as the devs, Digital Extremes, deserve it), but it’s never necessary. Every frame and weapon can be unlocked for free, given you’re up to the challenge (and a little grind). The only items in the game that cannot be unlocked for free are purely cosmetic and have no affect on the gameplay at all. Want some new colors, a new decorations, or simply want that extra part you’ve been looking for without earning it? You can grab it. Want to level up your equipment to be more powerful? That, you’ll have to work for like everyone else. There are no pay to win shenanigans here, and no amount of money that can be spent will provide you with any sort of upper hand.
Destiny 2 on the other hand has blind lootboxes, consumable cosmetics, hugely overpriced DLC, and it all comes down to one end goal, milking the consumer. I was at near exactly 35 hours into Warframe when I decided to spend any money on it at all (ten bucks). I didn’t spend the cash because I needed an item or needed help overcoming a hurdle (the excellent community will happily volunteer to help struggling players), I invested because I simply felt like the company deserved it, and, I got some sweet stuff out of it.
Now, is Destiny 2 a bad game? No. But, it is a game that left a bad taste in my mouth. Destiny 2 felt like an expansion of Destiny 1, only with the full 60 dollar price tag attached to it. The entire model the game is built around seems designed to provide as little as possible while draining as much as it can get away with. Whereas Warframe feels like a gift that just keeps on giving. I expect the game to easily last me another 30 hours or so, with many current players having spent hundreds of hours inside (for free), and I expect to have spent exactly 10 dollars on it. I’ll likely spend more, just to say “that you” to Digital Extremes and their classy way of handing this game and for the huge amount of fun I’ve had i it, but that’s my choice, and not a necessity.
If you’ve not checked out Warframe, or you haven’t checked it out in a long time, I highly recommend it. It’s absolutely free on PC, PS4 and the XB1, and the entire game can be played cooperatively online.