Warframe has a fascinating history; the developer Digital Extremes had worked on the classic Unreal games; the work was good enough that Epic tried to bring them into their umbrella. This, of course, didn’t work out. Then, in 2008, Digital Extremes released Dark Sector.
Although it was a good enough title, it was released when Gears of War clones ran rampant and unfortunately went unnoticed by most; this setback resulted in the studio going back to work for hire. They contributed to many games, most notably the first two Bioshock titles. The Dark Sector we got, though, was far from the original vision conceived back in 2000.
Related Read: Is Warframe a Pay-to-Win Game?
In 2012 Digital Extremes took all their experience and released something closer to what they wanted Dark Sector to be. Moreover, they did it without any publisher compromising their vision for their game, which was now 12 years in the making.
Almost a decade later, their game still stands strong. Of course, a large part of it is due to regular content updates and patches, but it still proves that Digital Extremes were right to put faith in themselves.
Warframe is a free to play online title that shares elements from the shooter and RPG genre; while not truly RPG, it does have a progression mechanic. A better way to put it would be looter shooter.
The game gives players objectives, and upon completion, they receive currency to spend on equipment and XP to invest in their chosen skills. The most fun aspect of the game, however, is its parkour system, and while it doesn’t rival Mirror’s Edge, it’s still pretty polished and enjoyable within the scope of the game, along with the melee combat and clicky shooting the game doesn’t make the grind boring.
Of course, with content added for almost a decade now, there is an emphasis on exploration, and players always find new and exciting things in the vast world.
Here’s a list of games like Warframe that are sure to satiate your gaming itch.
1. Destiny 2
Destiny 2 is the first game that pops into my mind; it is equally well-polished and populated as Warframe. It’s an online MMOFPS that wasn’t free at launch in 2017 but adopted the F2P model in 2019.
The game has enough content to keep one entertained for hours on end. It features many activities that can be undertaken by the player solo or in co-op; the game also distinguishes between activities that are PvE or PvP.
Like any Free to play MMORPG, the primary gameplay loop of grinding for better gear to grind more challenging areas to get even better equipment is prevalent in nearly all games on this list, but more so for Destiny 2. The game has undergone many balancing changes over its lifetime in its current state; the game doesn’t feature a max level; instead, players must use the battlepass to collect seasonal rewards and experience to invest in their character.
Another way to grind is to take on quests from the NPCs in the hub world, which also rewards EXP and specific items that might be crucial to the overarching main story.
Apart from these, there’s also plenty of sidequests in the world and other activities that you can engage in solo or in a party.
Destiny 2 also has an elegant matchmaking system that allows you to pair with stacked players if they don’t have enough for a specific activity.
The game offers three different classes for players allowing enough variety in gameplay. However, progression is capped at 50; over 50 players can grind for better equipment, so the possibilities are seemingly endless, and players can enjoy this game for as long as they like, much like Warframe replayability is present here.
2. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is second in line for Ubisoft’s online ARPGs. It features upgraded gameplay from its predecessor, along with better graphics and sound design. The game was favorably received by critics and fans and sold well.
Unlike Warframe, Division features a third-person perspective with cover-based mechanics made famous by Gears of war taking place in a futuristic Washington D.C. Players begin the game by designing their own Division agent and fight in a civil war against bandits and marauders.
Like any Tom Clancy game, Ubisoft tries to emphasise gameplay featuring realistic equipment and a grounded gameplay loop; the game features many guns with tons of upgrades to personalize your playstyle.
Players can use all kinds of arsenal to wage wars on the bad guys – Assault Rifles, high-grade explosives, snipers etc.
Division 2 features the same looter shooter gameplay that we come to expect from games of this genre. Players must grind for in-game currency and experience that they invest in gear and character progression, making their characters beefier for the more challenging missions coming their way.
The open-world, while not as content-filled as Destiny or Warframe, is detailed and feels lived in. Players can also find various NPCs scattered throughout the map that can be recruited, unlocking new features and sidequests.
Division 2 might not be a free to play title but features enough content and grind level that justifies its price tag. So if you’re looking for a game to drown hours into with a friend, you can’t go wrong with Tom Clancy’s The Division 2.
Defiance is a sci-fi themed MMORPG that plays in a third-person perspective. Interestingly it’s the only TV show/Movie IP I have seen in an MMORPG genre video game.
It’s based on a Syfy series of the same name and takes place in a distant future after an alien race came to settle on what they thought was an uninhabited Earth.
However, as tensions between the Votanis Collective and humans grew, the aliens took to unleashing devastating terraforming machinery that led to the death of many species and human lives on the planet.
The game features four classes – Veterans, Outlaws, Machinist and Survivalists. While players might be lead to believe that each class offers a different playstyle, that’s not the case. Instead, the starting class only determines player’s starting weapons and outfits, but they are free to experiment and develop their own playstyles.
I don’t really like when games do that; if the only choice I have is of one weapon and cosmetic, I would much rather get a better character customization option and allow me to test guns and choose which one I’d like to start my playthrough with.
The game was released in 2013, and there’s also an upgraded version called Defiance 2050 that features more or less of the same gameplay but with more content and a more polished experience.
4. Path of Exile
Path of Exile is not a first-person or third-person shooter, but it employs a character progression that Warframe players might gravitate towards.
It’s a free to play ARPG with an isometric perspective and a detailed world. Honestly, I cannot picture any other camera for a world so dense and complex. Players can choose from seven classes with meaningful differences, unlike Defiance. While the starting class doesn’t restrict players, it does make specific playstyles easier to progress depending on the class.
Players might spend the majority of the playthrough in finding well-balanced equipment that would synergize with the abilities and statistics of the playable character.
The game has a very intricate progression system that keeps players hooked for days on. So expect to be lost if you’re new to the genre. But don’t be intimidated by its complexities; there’s a lovely game hidden beneath all that challenge.
In addition, Path of Exile has a very healthy player base and a community willing to help out newer players who feel overwhelmed.
Borderlands is a series that focuses on the single-player or co-op looter shooter experience. It’s one of the first of its kind, a mix of FPS and Diablo gameplay. Players can choose from a specific number of characters to play as, affecting their gear, stats, and abilities.
Although the most fun way to play this game, in my opinion, is to create a squishy character that can’t tank a lot of damage but is more than capable of one-shotting most enemies.
The series has four games yet with a lot of DLC content for each; each game features the same gameplay style with upgraded visuals and a storyline that loosely connects all four games together.
Like any looter shooter, the repetition is made interesting with great guns and a decent enemy AI that keeps the battles engaging and the loot rewarding.
While Borderlands is not an MMO, if you have friends to play with, this is a fantastic experience with a lot of content on the plus side; you don’t have to worry about servers ever shutting off.
Titanfall is a standard FPS that I only mention because it shares a lot in common with the mobility of Warframe. While the story is offline and features very little in terms of RPG elements, if the fluidity in movement is something that clicks with you in Warframe, you’ll enjoy Titanfall a lot.
The story mode is decent and even ties into Apex: Legends (a battle royale that shares a universe with Titanfall). The main attraction has to be the PvP multiplayer aspect that Titanfall has in aces.
However, due to the latest hacking shenanigans that affected Titanfall and Apex, I’d advise waiting for EA to fix the servers before spending any money on the game.
Games like Warframe are favoured by gamers who are looking for something to master their skill in but in a non PvP format. PvP sometimes entails dealing with hackers now and then, but PvE formats allow players to enjoy games with a lot of replay value without worrying about losing to sweaty smurfs or cheaters.
The best part about Warframe that sets it apart from the competition is that their free-to-play model never forces players to spend money to make the game more accessible, but all loot is available through the grind, making it a fair game.