Anthem vs Warframe – what F2P did better than AAA

You had me at mech suits

Do you like being a badass? Do you enjoy kicking ass and taking names on foreign planets with kickass super-powered mech suits? Yeah me too, that’s why I was excited for Anthem. I have played hundreds of hours of Warframe over the past 6 years, across both PS4 and PC. Needless to say, I love Warframe, and I couldn’t wait for Anthem.

Imagine my disappointment then, when Anthem came out and ended up letting everyone down. Anthem and Warframe are both really cool games conceptually, but Warframe was actually able to pull off everything Anthem fell flat with. Awesome mech suits with unique abilities, an open world to fly through, linear mission exploration, and so on and so on: Warframe did it all better.

However, Warframe also had the benefit of being around for a long time. They didn’t launch with all the content they have now. Developer Digital Extremes were able to take their time to develop new content – letting them keep their playbase interested and hungry for new releases. Rather than making one massive game with a set deadline, they put out Waframe in parts. This let them give their all in each expansion.

Anthem banner
The Javelins do look seriously badass though

Anthem has the makings of a good game, and I’m actually still really interested in playing it. The problem is that it over-promised and under-delivered, like many other titles in recent years. Do I think it could improve given time? Of course it can, but it’ll take a long time. Games like Destiny 2, Fallout 76 and most notably No Man’s Sky have done it already.

That said, Bioware recently announced that they’re working on redesigning the game from the ground up. So let’s take a minute to talk about the parts ofWarframe that Anthem could learn from.


Both games share a lot of their ideas but the combat is vastly different. Anthem is more reminiscent of Control with some Destiny elements. Meanwhile Warframe is like Monster Hunter meets Deep Rock Galactic meets a bunch of other things that got hit with polymerization.

In Warframe, you can stealth past everything as Loki or Wukong, hit em’ hard with Rhino or be speedy and sprint-jump to the end as Volt. Anthem on the other hand is: fly>fight>next objective> repeat. The variety of play styles is not there.

Volt speed

Concept and lore

Warframe is the story of the Tenno, a race of ancient warriors at war with the various factions of the galaxy. Anthem is the story of the Freelancers; combatants with cool Iron-Man suits – called Javelins – fighting to save the Anthem of Creation and the world as they know it.

Both games sound great conceptually, but story isn’t worth much if players don’t stick around for it to be told. Warframe’s story is ever expanding, and once Anthem gets back off the ground I’m excited to see it develop further.

Exploration and content

This bears repeating: both games have kick-ass mech suits and smooth traversal in visually appealing environments. Sadly that’s pretty much all Anthem seems to have.

Warframe has just released their new Empyrean expansion which features SPACE DOGFIGHTS. There’s also standard missions with various objectives. The Plains of Eidolon is the free roam expansion, and the Archwing missions are basically just flight variants of the regular missions.

Meanwhile, Anthem is essentially a string of regular missions with ground battles and flight segments built in.

Warframe Empyrean gameplay
Ready to blast some Grineer out of the sky

The one thing Anthem can hold over Warframe is that it doesn’t make you wait like 5 days to build a new suit. And as far as I can tell, grinding is pretty much non-existant in Anthem, whereas it’s a core part of Warframe. That said, Warframe is a F2P game.

In conclusion

Anthem bad Both games are very similar, and while one of them currently offers a lot more than the other, it doesn’t make complete sense to pit them against each other. Warframe has had seven years to develop and get to where it is, and Anthem is barely a year old.

I truly believe Anthem is a diamond in the rough, just waiting to be polished. Bioware is putting in the work to help it get to a good place, but it’s going to take time. In the meantime, there is something to enjoy in both Anthem and Warframe. Whichever one you choose, what matters most is that you have fun.

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Kevin Dewan

SQUAD Editor in Chief. Runs after things a lot, won't BM you to your face, okay with losing as long as it's funny. Send questions/complaints/rants to kevin@northernarena.ca
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