Fortuna, Warframe’s latest massive open world update, opens with an absolutely breathtaking cinematic musical introduction to the titular underground city. You know that fantastic opening song sung by the ice-harvesters in Frozen? “We All Lift Together” is about as good as any original song you’ll ever hear from a videogame (watch and listen below). What follows, is a story of a people unwilling to give up despite overwhelming odds... and your place as a Tenno to help them find a way to break free from the Corpus rule.
As the official site mentions, the Solaris are “a society of body-augmented individuals who live in debt-internment under Corpus rule. The Solaris live in fear of being “repossessed” — cybernetic limb and organ removal by Nef Anyo’s repo squads. Despite living in terror and debt, the Solaris are a hopeful community who pride themselves in their efforts to terraform Venus.” They’re you, me, and anyone else with a mountain of debt trying to make sense of life.
If anything, Fortuna is too small to really explore this theme. We don’t really meet a lot of NPCs (early on anyway), but the characters are memorable, some parodies of what it would be like to be a collection of faulty flesh and robotic parts. I’d love to explore more of their society, and I hope this (admittedly massive) content update isn’t the last we hear from Solaris. It’s probably the most human thing in this weird space opera that Digital Extremes has crafted.
Gameplay wise, Fortuna is chockablock full of new stuff - the most popular one, of course, will be the K-Drive Hoverboard. You get this and travel across the vast frozen lands of Venus becomes much more tolerable (though you can use your Archwing if you have it and the launcher unlocked - see here for that guide). It’s a lot like using the hoverboards in WildStar, so as that game winds down you can at least get your hovering on in Venus if not Nexus.
I will say that you should be somewhere in the higher levels before really trying to plow through the content of Fortuna. It’s tempting to fire up a low-level Garuda frame (the new blood-themed frame with this release), but you’re going to die a lot unless you’ve got some powerful friends to help you on the early missions. Once you’re level 20+, things get easier. So if you can, use a higher leveled frame to unlock Orb Vallis, the main massive zone, before trying to just tear through the opening story missions with a lowbie.
This expansion is popular, setting new record concurrent player numbers for Warframe, and it’s apparent that the open world content is exactly what people want to see more of. A long time ago, DE’s Dark Sector (which eventually released as a single player game) had the look and feel of Warframe - and indeed the studio wanted to find funding to make this massive sci-fi MMO shooter. But no one would do it, no publisher would help out. Eventually, DE was on the verge of closing down, and they decided to make Warframe, in around 9 months, on their own. The rest, as they say, is history and tens of millions of players later Warframe is about to hit the Nintendo Switch on 11/20 too.
For as unwieldy as its systems can seem, there’s something inherently weird, beautiful, and absolutely engaging about Warframes space ninja universe. With each new update, DE pushes the boundaries of what it could do before. Eidolon was the beginning of their open world dreams, and Fortuna is a refinement on this with tons of new systems and yes... even space ninja fishing.
There’s still so much to do and see in Fortuna, and I just got started this weekend. If you, like me, love to watch how this game grows and evolves like no other, you need to check this update out. Fortuna is the best Warframe’s ever been, and it’s looking to only get better in 2019.