“Why the fuck would I want to do that?”
Those were the fateful words of my brother as he helped me complete the War Within. Those words summed up everything I felt about this quest. That phrase was also repeated several times throughout the quest as well.
The War Within is supposed to be about your Tenno space kid growing up and becoming more mature. Well, that’s the underlying plot. Really, the plot drags you kicking and screaming into that, due yo your space kid’s actions, when it should be looking at whatever the hell Teshin was doing, finding the Grineer’s Twin Queens and properly actually fighting them and huge armies of Grineer. The whole maturing and remembering thing is something that should happen on the side, and ends up being how you miraculously escape. What’s even more annoying is that the majority of the Ravenous Golden Maw part WAS ALL A BLOODY DREAM. You just magically dream your way to freedom.
Really though, brother’s words were more about the actual gameplay of the quest. Things like “why would I pull out this thing in my leg when it’s currently stopping the bleeding?”, or “why is this all in my mind?” or “why am I fighting the Queens’ best as a skinny, malnourished teenager?”, “why am I locked out from the thing that has actual weapons?”, “why is this fight so tedious?”, “why am I running up this mountain for a second time?” and “why the fuck is that weird mushroom hat guy up here as well?”
All perfectly valid questions. The majority of the space kid stuff (properly called Transferance) is covered in this article but there’s a lot more both brother and I found troublesome about the War Within.
For me, while ditching the Warframe and discovering yourself sounds somewhat interesting, this whole “you got your mind infected by the old Grineer Queen who wants to steal your body now you have to discover yourself” thing is needlessly complex. I find it odd that the Grineer are involved at all, surely something like this would actually be a great opportunity to look deeper into Orokin and Infested enemies, since they are more in the mind-control and assimilation business. But guess not. Orokin would work best, perhaps as some sort of scheme to capture Tenno and make them into servants again.
That’s another thing though. It’s clear as day that there is more than one Tenno, at least as many Tenno as there are Warframes (both normal and prime), but the Queens only want one Tenno, which the old, dying queen wants to steal the mind of in order to take over their body. Apparently that was how the Orokin elite did it back when they could breed people to be perfect. Hence why the Queens send Teshin out to target the player. But considering every Tenno goes through the same series of events, it feels… weird. If anything, it goes back to that same old ‘you’re the chosen one’ trope that I dislike.
Since you end up killing the Elder Queen towards the end of the quest (either by killing her yourself, letting Teshin kill her or leaving her to die), this makes the whole ‘there are lots of Tenno’ thing even more problematic. In the Second Dream, I could wrap my head around this because Stalker was specifically targeting you and trying to kill you (with killing everyone else being secondary), and being able to access the moon can be waved away as Lotus letting you go there, but unless the Elder Queen has a fuckton of clones, I’m still trying to work out how I can fit my story in alongside the hundreds/thousands/millions of other Tenno out there.
The biggest turnoff for brother though (apart from the fact that we were a space kid for too long) was the un-skippable cut scenes. For some reason, my normal buttons for doing so didn’t want to work. That’s fine if it’s a short cut scene, but when you get the same damn cut scenes whenever you die, it’s frustrating as heck.
That’s not to say that the War Within is completely horrible. If you’re playing purely for story then it’s okay, and as always, the visuals are beautiful. The new location on the map, Kuva Fortress, is pretty neat (even if the enemies are reskinned Grineer) and the transitions between Archwing and normal gameplay are interesting. The Kuva-themed weapons are cool as well.
Brother’s verdict at the end was simple. He would never do story quests ever if he played Warframe. He thought it was utter shit. He’s willing to try ‘real’ Warframe though.
My verdict isn’t that much better. The whole point of Warframe is to use your Warframes, not play as small adults. The story wasn’t that good, and I would have much preferred more actual exploration of reality, rather than exploration of my Tenno’s mind.
To once again quote my brother, as he saw the “replay quest” button at the end of the War Within, “FUCK THAT.”
I’m never touching that quest ever again.