If there is one thing that terrifies me most in video games, it’s children being killed in unskippable yet jumpy cutscenes by evil monsters. I’m not normally scared of being killed or anything (unless it’s unexpected and makes me jump) but the whole watching a kid die really bothers me. Even more so when I am playing the kid character, and the form of death is being crushed in the jaws of a beast and dragged underground, akin to something from Tremors but with prettier CGI.
What does this have to do with Warframe and its second newest quest, the War Within? A lot.
Spoilers ahead, so be warned.
After playing the Second Dream, I found myself slightly disappointed that I wasn’t a Space Ninja in a metal suit, I was in fact a teenager controlling a metal suit. But actually USING the teenager stuff was wholly optional. I hoped that the War Within would be like a civil war among Tenno. In fact it was just more lore for the annoying brats.
From my first article, I said I was very miffed about being ripped out of immersion by hearing a female teen speak through Volt. I pretty much abandoned the quest after getting stuck on an Archwing part of the mission, where you had to dodge lasers and stuff and I’d instadie even if no lasers touched me. Those points still hold true, but the former is made even worse as the story goes on.
This time round though, I didn’t bring Volt. Volt’s external voice does not sound like any of the four presets as far as I am concerned. Instead, I brought Loki, so I could sneak through the whole level undetected and get some Codex scans (i.e. samples for the in-game DIY wiki) while I was at it. The last reason was because I had no problem abandoning Loki in the depths of space of things got too bad, which was a potential issue because after completing the Archwing part I struggld with last time, I was warned that if I continued further, I would be locked out of the rest of the game until I finished the quest. Turns out, things were about to get really, really bad.
The first part of this mission was actually pretty cool. Alright, it’s mostly just reskinned Grineer enemies in black and red, but the addition of giant red scanners means you have to go a little bit slower than normal. Not a problem if you’re playing Loki and can turn invisible for 20 seconds, but it’s probably not an issue for any older players who have good weapons, since the enemies vary between levels 25 and 35.
Once you get past that, you’re introduced to another cutscene. You finally see the Twin Queens in all their glory, alongside a bunch of boss-level enemies and find out that Teshin, the old ninja guy who runs the PVP Conclave area, works for the Queens and not the Lotus. They’re having a stupid chat, your stupid kid gets angry and interrupts rather than retreating like any sensible person would, and Teshin throws a thing at you which causes your transferance to break and let the Queens enter your mind. It turns out the older queen wants a new body and has decided that yours will do.
We’re then treated to a scene where Ordis is telling you to sever the transferance connection and save yourself, which you only kinda do. You wake up on your ship, and Ordis for some stupid reason decided to try and kill you because you lost your void powers.
Next thing you know, you’re stranded, without your Warframe, on something resembling the Throat of the World in Skyrim, walking at a snail’s pace, walking into a dark cave. Of course, Teshin appears and lectures you about how dumb you are and that your stupidity will cost you if you don’t compete a set of trials to ‘unlock your past’.
Your stupid character passes out and falls off a cliff, somehow survives landing on stone and being impaled in the leg by a seemingly magic bone that happened to be perfectly upright. Of course, your stupid character also pulls the fucking bone out of his leg because he’s a fucking retard who never did first aid and clearly never did the writers because you don’t fucking do that if you impale yourself because the foreign object both slows the bleeding and the spread of infection.
This is where the aforementioned cutscene of death comes in.
Turns out, there’s a billion ‘Ravenous Maws’ lurking around in these caves filled with bones. Standing on a bone-covered area for too long is an instant death, as a Ravenous Maw jumps out of the ground, snapped you up in its jaws, kills you, then drags you away. Which scares the shit out of me every single time.
It’s pretty much instant too. You’re supposed to wait for the Maws to move far away before you limp across the small, rocky outcrops, but half a second too early or late and snap, you’re dead again. What makes it worse is that you can hear them scrambling behind you to eat you as you run.
As you continue, you unlock more powers, including a worthless energy blast, a dash and invisibility, but these are activated with key presses completely atypical from the rest of Warframe. E is your energy blast, normally reserved for melee. Your Hold to Crouch key is your invisibility button and to do a dash, you crouch with the same key and hit space. Worse, you have very, very little ‘stamina’ to do these actions – two dashes and your stamina is gone. Which is super annoying because later jumps need two dashes THEN some to get past.
Let me get this straight. I hate “Operator Mode”. I have a fucking space ninja, why, outside of this mission where I’m forced to use it, would I want to leave the safety of my space ninja to be an annoying space kid? Why would I trade, for example, Volt’s 800 shields, 420 health and his tiny energy pool of 300 for a space kid with 100 health, no shields and about 100 energy if you compare it to frames with similar abilities which don’t use Streamline for efficiency?
And why do I have to watch not one, but two unskippable cutscenes when I die? One where I die and one where I ‘dream’ and respawn? Clearly this is all a stupid dream anyway.
It’s obvious what’s going to happen. I’ll reach the end, it will all be a dream and I’ll wake up, fight Teshin, defeat the Queens and gain control over Teshin, get a choice whether I get to murder the Queens or not, then leave. There will probably be a “well done you learned stuff but there’s more stuff out there” ending from Teshin, probably on top of the mountain, and that will be it.
Except I won’t see that. Not for a while at least. Really, I’m a humongous coward, and the Ravenous Maws scare the shit out of me. To the point where I have to pause the game to take regular breaks to lower my pulse. On top that, the one time where I was THREE DASHES AWAY FROM THE END, I accidentally hit a menu option that permanently froze the game, leaving me unable to unpause it and continue. I had to force-close the game, and guess what, I had to start the whole Operator section again. I didn’t even get to keep the powers I had learned.
Yes, I am a massive pussy. But if you’re going to mock me, don’t. I don’t mock people who are scared of needles or tight spaces or balloons or anything like that, and you shouldn’t either. I don’t know why the Maws scare me, it’s just some hidden, primitive thing I happen to be scared of. On top of my character’s helplessness and my own inherent stupidity and inability to do basic jumping puzzles, this part of the War Within pisses me off no end.
In the mean time, I can’t play Warframe proper until I finish this quest. Which might be a while as I need to grow myself a new backbone. Loki will have to remain trapped underneath the Twin Queens’ bed forever until I do so.
Oh well. Rest in peace, Loki. It was nice knowing you.