Welcome to Mechanically Beautiful, where we look into the widely debated topic, “Are Video Games Art?” I am here to say that yes, I do believe video games are a form of art and I’m going to give you readers amazing examples of why I believe this. If you are not a believer of this idea, then maybe these articles will change your mind. But even if they don’t, you will get a chance to hear about and maybe look into some beautiful games in the industry. This week we talk about the third person high speed action free to play game “Warframe.”
“Warframe” is a third person game filled with melee weapons, gun play, parkour elements, companions, and lets you be a space samurai warrior. The game is made by Digital Extremes and takes you through many beautiful environments with interesting weapons and enemies, all pulled together by great animation and particle quality. This is a game based around doing missions on different planets to battle different alien factions. It is heavily focused on multiplayer, so you often get help from other Tenno. Tenno is the name of the people you play as who use Warframes to fight the enemy. The aspect of the beauty come from the Tenno, the animation quality, and the great environments.
The Tenno are a people that descended from a mystical civilization on Earth. They are the sole possessor of the famous Warframes that give them their power. So where does the beauty of these Warframes come in? Every Warframe has a different style to it and different kinds of powers. The powers and the fighting style tend to describe the Warframes visually. This isn’t as true with some of the older Warframes, as they were a bit more simple back then. Warframes like the Excalibur, which was the first Warframe ever in both development and lore, are a bit more simplistic but still give you the sense. The Warframe itself is very sleek with simple design and a small horn type object on its helm. It is a sword based Warframe, and although simple, you did get the kind of sword-fighter-ninja kind of vibe from it. Newer Warframe really give a better sense. Warframes like the Nekros, which is centered around dark powers and shadow manipulation, is in a very dark style. The helm is pointed and looks like a reaper hood with glowing eyes in the front. He has tubes running from his hood that give a look of flesh hanging. There are also strange pointed teeth looking markings that come from the sides toward the center. This give the Warframe a very undead, skeletal look. Even the build of the Warframe is very skinny and looks almost like it is an emaciated person. The default color scheme is gray and black, although you can change the colors of your Warframe, so that isn’t as big of a factor. Another great example is the Warframe Mirage. The Mirage is based around messing with your opponent’s mind by messing with the light spectrum. With having such an odd power set, the Mirage has very odd design compared to other Warframes. It has a strange alien style helm and frayed fashion style color with armor on the hands and legs that comes off the body. It is almost the fashionista of the Tenno people. The default color scheme is also pink, purple, and white. Each Warframe has a carefully crafted theme and style theme that reads to their powers and fighting. There are many, many different examples like the frost which looks like it wears a large robe that looks like a cloak and a very large helmet that could be seen as a hood to presumably deal with the frosty pain it deals out.
Now let’s talk about something very close to my heart: the excellent animations quality, from the quick moving motions of the Tenno, to the great swordplay and visceral shredding of enemies. Everything is beautiful. Some things, like gunplay, are fairly simple, but even the reload animations are customized for different gun types and the particle effects on bullets are great. One of my favorite things is the smoothness and speed of swinging your melee weapon. There are several melee weapons like swords and daggers. Each one has nicely crafting fighting style to it. In addition, if you have your melee weapon in your hand, it changes the way the Tenno swings them for some weapons. The special abilities are also of very high quality and use great particle effects. My favorite attack on my Mag Warframe is called Crush. The Mag uses her power over magnetics and raises her enemies in the air and then crushes them to death by polarizing their bodies. Warframes like the Excalibur has a sword dash where the Tenno becomes a blue streak of light that cuts through enemies. Each of the Warframe’s powers and weapons have great high quality animations and give you a great sense of being very powerful. The enemies are also very alive and animated, but I don’t want to drone on for too long.
Now, lastly, the environments you battle in. When the game first came out, the environments weren’t much too speak of. There was a good amount of very similar looking ships that didn’t bring a ton of color or interest. Now that the game has been heavily updated, there is much more beauty and detail to the levels. Earth is actually my current favorite location. Earth is now covered in lush green life and old remnants of technology. There is green life growing over old metal constructs. There are also large rivers and waterfalls flowing very freely over the landscape. Earth is also the only place to find this strange species of alien dog-like creatures called Kurbrow. There are also levels covered with icy tundra landscape, which are frozen wastelands covered in glittering snow and ice. Even the ship levels that were there previously have been made nicer. Things like better color and nice little add ins like security systems and force fields also add to the gameplay. There are many worlds I haven’t even seen yet, as I am not very high level in the game. I am sure the locations will only continue to get better.
“Warframe” is a very high quality, free to play game that has gotten a lot of praise and is very worthy of it. Not only is it a very beautiful game, it also has excellent gameplay with good enemy variety and a steady stream of rewards. The game actually used to be a very big grind and has since gotten much much better and brought me back after I stopped playing for quite some time. I recommend this game to big fans of high speed action and some pseudo MMO style ideas or someone looking for a good free to play game.