Grendel, Gauss’s best friend, came out with the Old Blood Warframe update and, unfortunately, his reception has been lukewarm at best, mostly because he’s completely buried under all the Kuva Lich stuff and, despite being a pretty unique design, he doesn’t have a great ass like Wisp and is overshadowed by the Vauban and Ember reworks AND the changes to melee.
So how is Grendel?
Well, first you gotta get him. I’m going to be honest though, I went and bought him with Platinum straight away, because I don’t want to do any more Arbitrations. You need to buy 3 keys, at 25 Vitus Essence each, to get each of Grendel’s parts, and these keys all lead to level 40 missions that you do without your Operator or any of your mods on your weapons or on your Warframes. Which seems really ass-about-face and very arbitrary in a game where you’re supposed to collect and use mods. They’re not hard but they are tedious. Also I dislike Arbitrations. I’d rather spend time opening relics and trading for Platinum than doing a ton of Arbitrations to get Vitus Essence.
I was going to say that it’s not a terrible grind, but considering you have to unlock every single node in the solar system AND grind Arbitrations for Vitus Essence, they do make you work hard to get Grendel. It’s a clear path to obtain Grendel but it’s not an easy one.
As for Grendel himself, well, he’s… alright. He’s fun. Gimmicky but fun. A huge amount of potential mostly wasted, but still fun. It’s amusing eating enemies and sucking them up and spitting them out. It’s a huge amount of fun turning into a giant meatball. You can get buffs from consuming enemies but I’ll be damned if I know what buff is which and the duration of these buffs and the healing they do are pretty low.
But that is all Grendel does. He eats things.
Really, my biggest problem is that he only really has two abilities and all his abilities rely on his first – you have to have eaten something to use ANY of his other abilities. You can’t turn into a massive rolling ball of death if you don’t have something in your stomach. You can’t use your second ability to get a buff if you haven’t eaten anything. And your third ability is just a longer distance version of the spitting out of unwanted enemies that Feast does.
This is made worse by the fact that the energy costs on Feast are… weird. Really weird. Scaling the energy cost when eating lots of enemies makes sense but Feast does the thing the old “carried Electric Shield on Volt” did too – the longer you have an enemy inside your belly, the more energy it costs. Which means you have to pick and choose who you eat and you need to really, really keep that efficiency high in order to even have the energy to use other abilities. Running out of energy is a genuine problem.
I suppose it’s not too bad. I can run around pretending to be Kirby or squish things like a rampaging Bohrok or something. But Grendel’s only real ability is being able to take enemies out of fights and energy problems stop him from doing that efficiently.
There is hope though. People like Grendel as much as they like Gauss. Gauss got a massive set of buffs that made him a great, rounded frame. This probably means Grendel will have the same thing happen to him as well. Because Grendel is a good frame, he just needs some buffs.