Occupying just three PlayStation 4s at Sony's Eurogamer Expo booth, Digital Extreme's free-to-play co-op sci-fi romp shared the same floor as juggernauts like Killzone: Shadow Fall and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Warframe's presence brought a homey feel to the otherwise bustling show, as members of the development team talked us through the three player demo with healthy enthusiasm.
Taking place on an icy map, our trio was tasked with protecting a frame housed in a cryo tube against waves of increasingly difficult enemies. It's one of the more basic game types, but its simplicity allowed us to get a decent feel for the title's combat and often acrobatic movement. Our initial impressions were comfortably positive, as the release appears to lend itself especially well to the DualShock 4's button layout.
The responsive L2 and R2 triggers are used to squeeze off shots with your favoured firearm, while quick taps of R1 allow you to get in close with deadly melee combos. On top of these basic forms of attack, each class of warframe sports its own special abilities, which are triggered by swiping in different directions on the controller's touch pad. At first, the method proved to be a little unwieldy, and there's no doubt that the control scheme will take some getting used to - especially since a number of close range powers require careful accuracy - but the interaction itself is inherently unique. One quick flick of a digit is all it takes to send your character slicing through the enemy at extreme speeds, and the visual effects that accompany such displays are impressive, particularly when your foes become lost in a sea of colourful sparks after a successful offensive.
In contrast, navigating the environment is easy and fluid thanks to rapid jumping and a dexterous sprint, a mixture that gives traversal a hectic pace. And much like Platinum Games' Vanquish, your chosen character can power slide on their knees, allowing you to surprise your adversaries in style. While our field of battle wasn't of a large size, it still managed to provide plenty of verticality, sporting a few narrow paths and stairways that led up to more advantageous positions where we could rain down bullets on our pursuers.
Although the demo didn't offer any sort of substantial challenge, the makings of a great co-op experience are clear when the title's many player classes are taken into account. From the extra-speedy, sword wielding Excalibur warframe to the bulky, powerful Rhino specialisation, the range that's currently on offer within the PC version is incredibly promising, and the developer was eager to confirm that all of the patched-in features will be integrated into the PS4 release from day one.
All in all, we were impressed with how easily Warframe appears to have made the jump from PC to console. Although it's unlikely to topple Sony's next generation retail launch titles in terms of popularity, its blend of RPG elements, chaotic gameplay, and the absence of a price tag should ensure that it's well worth an early download.
Will you be downloading Warframe for your PS4 on launch day? Which other free-to-play games are you interested in trying on Sony's next generation hardware? Let us know in the comments section below.