Warframe Runs Much Faster on the New Consoles

Xbox Series S screenshot taken by the author.

I do most of my Warframe playing on the Nintendo Switch, but I was recently lucky enough to get ahold of an Xbox Series S, so I dusted off my account there to check out the game’s performance on the new generation of console hardware.

Warframe already targeted 60 frames per second on the PS4 and Xbox One, but it could sometimes drop frames or resolution in order to maintain performance. It also loaded noticeably slower compared to the PC version on a modern machine. Its big open worlds were the most likely to stutter or lag, especially during large combat encounters with plenty of effects on screen.

Xbox Series S screenshot taken by the author.

All of these problems are solved with the grunt of the new hardware and the magic of backwards compatibility. Even on my tiny Series S, Warframe loads and runs dramatically faster than on my older hardware. It feels a little bit nicer to play than it did on my Xbox One X, with smoother and more immediate combat. Loading into a level now takes just a couple of seconds, which will add up dramatically into hours of saved time across multiple sessions.

Also, the framerate never drops. During my few hours of play this weekend, I did everything I could to try and get the framerate to slow down. I turned off the dynamic resolution mode. I set the FOV slider to its maximum. I turned the GPU particles all the way up. I ran around the Plains of Eidolon and fought a bunch of guys. Not once did the game slow down even a little bit. It runs at peak performance without exception, and it’s an impressive example of how the new machines can squeeze extra speed out of older games.

Xbox Series S screenshot taken by the author.

Digital Extremes has big plans for Warframe on PS5 and the Xbox Series consoles that go beyond the free performance boosts of the backwards compatibility mode. They’re working on a full next generation update patch that will enhance the game’s visuals, and bring them more in line with what PC players can experience in terms of lighting, textures, and effects. This patch will also feature new rumble effects designed specifically for the PS5’s DualSense controller.

This full next gen update is coming “later this year” on the PS5 and “soon” on the Xbox Series systems. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit disappointed that it didn’t make it in time for launch, but it’s also remarkable just how many updates the game received this year in spite of the challenges of the current work from home situation. Digital Extremes already maintains this game across four unique platforms, and that they’re keeping up the stream of content while also adding two more machines is very impressive, so I can wait a little longer.

A screen full of particles and enemies in one of the open world maps still won’t slow the game down. Xbox Series S screenshot taken by the author.

If you’ve never played Warframe, it’s a great experience on any system, but if you want the best way to play outside of a gaming PC, the new consoles take a firm and impressive second place. I’m sure that the grunt of the Series X and the PS5 will make for an even more impressive comparison against the PC platform once the update launches. I also can’t wait to review the update on my Series S and see how this surprisingly fast little console does against my i7 6700/1070 PC I’ve owned for a couple of years now.

From what I’ve seen of the system so far, and from how solid the optimization efforts of Digital Extremes have been in the past, I‘m very encouraged. The Series S runs the game far better than the identically-priced Switch, with load times that are just as fast as any computer. And although I thought the framerate was pretty good before, the added smoothness and rock- solid consistency really make a difference to the feel of moving and aiming. If you managed to get one of the new consoles, there’s no excuse not to try it. It’s already in great shape, and the new graphics patch can only make it better.



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