Digital Extremes certainly has a hit on their hand with Warframe. One of the most consistently played games on Steam – it currently sits in 11th place on the concurrency list – Warframe continues to get great releases that not only improve existing systems, but also add new ones. The latest patch, Echoes of the Sentient, touts a parkour revamp as its major feature, but it’s much more than that. New mods, new enemies, underwater archwing sections, a new duality-based warframe, a whole new utility mods system, and a reworked boss fight are all present in Echoes of the Sentient.
Bullet Slides and Wall Latches
That said, Parkour 2.0 is definitely the biggest improvement in this patch.
Parkour in Warframe before now was decent, but suffered from a few issues. The biggest was that the speed of movement heavily favored something called “zorencoptering,” where players would slide jump into the air and melee attack to zoom along super fast, at the cost of looking incredibly silly. Other issues included a restrictive stamina system that was never used to good effect – its only purpose seemed to be to slow you down – and a weird pause whenever you did movement that interacted with wall collisions.
No longer! Parkour is now much smoother, zorencoptering has gone the way of the dinosaur, and you can use as many movement abilities as you like without being constrained by that annoying stamina. While certain actions take a little longer to get used to, like wall-running. overall the parkour system’s revamp is a much-needed, much-appreciated improvement. A lot of Warframe’s appeal is in the fantasy of being a cool technofuture space ninja, and the old parkour system felt a little too rigid for the sort of ridiculousness that often played out in big firefights.
As a side-effect of this change, all stamina-related mods are now gone from Warframe. In its place, you will have a suitable number of fusion cores, depending on how many stamina-related mods you had and what their levels were. Free levels for your other mods and the removal of a mediocre system is a great way to start a patch.
For those players that wanted to have certain utility features like loot radar, but didn’t want to give up a whole mod slot, there’s good news: all warframes now come with an Exilus slot, which has been explicitly designated for utility mods such as Thief’s Wit.
This requires a special upgrade to unlock. Once it is unlocked on a particular frame, it will stay unlocked, even if you use a Forma to reset the frame’s level. Indeed, you can use forma to change the slot’s polarity, which allows you to tweak your builds more handily.
This may not seem like a big deal, and it really isn’t that major of a change, but it’s a really nice quality of life improvement. Most of the mods that were redesigned to use the Exilus system were rarely used, as they ate up valuable space that could be used on mods like Flow or Vitality. With this update we’ll see more and more players with interesting utility effects, and some of those unused mods will finally see play.
Equinox, or: Day/Night Cycles in Space
The latest frame is Equinox, and it’s certainly the most unique frame so far. Two frames in one, Equinox shifts between day and night forms in order to use different abilities.
By using this shift, players can go between the more damage-heavy Day to the more support-focused Night. Day’s abilities are all about power by either dealing damage or making players more effective at dealing damage. Conversely, Night’s abilities make enemies fall asleep, allow players to heal from kills, and reduce damage taken from nearby enemies.
This frame is a pain in the ass to craft, though, as you have to collect and craft the parts for both the Day and Night frames and then combine them into a single frame. It’s a bit of ridiculous grind in a game that already has plenty, but most veterans are so rich that it shouldn’t matter too much. Still, if you buy any single frame with platinum, this might be your best choice, purely because of the frustration it’ll take to craft.
Odds and Ends
Of course, there’s also the standard patch miscellany. Weapons can now be hid while holstered, which allows you to build more perfect-looking frames that are unmarred by rifles and swords cluttering up their appearance. New enemies, mods, and environments abound, with underwater Archwing levels being a big feature. Tyl Regor, the boss of Uranus, saw a rework that made him both harder and more satisfying to fight, as you must kill him in a rapidly flooding room.
Finally, PvP saw a pretty extensive rework of modes, and with the new parkour system it actually feels sort of fun. If third-person shooter PvP is your sort of thing, but you’re not fond of the slow pace of Gears of War competitive play, Warframe might be what you are looking for. They even added a PvP-specific progression, in case you want to minimize your fights against NPCs.
An excellent update all-around, both for its new additions and much-needed reworks. Somehow Digital Extremes keeps making my favorite free-to-play game even better.