Let's start by recapping the revelations in Second Dream. In the Second Dream we learn the true nature of the Tenno, the Warframe Operator.
The Tenno, were a group of kids, the last survivors found aboard the Zariman Ten-Zero, a ship that was found after being lost inside the Void. The children possess the power of transference which what allows them to transfer their consciousness into Warframes. After the Old War for centuries Tenno slept, eventually dreaming of waking up, believing that they were the Warframes while their true selves were sheltered in the Reservoir, a place which the Lotus had hidden on Lua, Earth's moon. The Stalker and sentinel Hunhow's pursuit of the Tenno forces the Operator to awaken from this Second Dream. After the Stalker and Hunhow are defeated, the Tenno use the Somatic Link a (chair) device to strengthen their powers and to once more establish transference with their Warframe. The Tenno then continue their fight for upholding the Tenno code, fighting for honor and protecting the solar system. The Lotus exclaims, "Now we fight on two fronts, my child. The war without... and the war within."
Now we should be caught up with the events of the Second Dream, now we can talk about the War Within.
The opening cinematic of the quest depicts the Grineer Twin Queens discussing something called Continuity, and how it is rapidly approaching.
We then return to the Landing Craft docked in the Orbiter. The Lotus asks the Tenno to deploy a Warframe on a mission to investigate a possible breach of security on Lua. Lotus also brings up the fact that she is noticing a high somatic output from the Operator and asks if the Operator is alright.
On the moon, the Tenno confronts the intruder who has infiltrated the Reservoir, to their surprise is Teshin. (The Tenno's instructor and trainer in the Conclave). Teshin demands the Tenno to leave at once, and that his reason for being on Lua is none of the Tenno's business. It is then the Tenno hears a voice commanding Teshin to bring something to them immediately. The voice is revealed to be that of the Grineer Twin Queens. Teshin attacks the Tenno, and deploys Specters of himself to keep the Tenno occupied while he escapes. Instead of killing the Teshin Specters the Tenno captures them and uses them to eventually track down the real Teshin's location.
The Lotus eventually finds Teshin's real location within an asteroid field. It is soon discovered that the asteroid is heavily fortified with lethal defenses. The Tenno launches their Warframe's Archwing to slip through the exterior defenses and enter the asteroid undetected. Players will need to past through 2 laser fields before docking onto a transport hanger of secret Grineer base.
Once on the ground of the asteroid base the player must disable the security matrix by deactivating the security console. After security is disabled the Tenno soon realize that the asteroid is actually a mobile fortress, and is even equipped with Formorian class engines allowing it for location to move around. Upon approaching the Fortress, the Tenno looses communication with the Lotus, as her comms begin to cut out. However, the Tenno decides proceed anyway, as it is the only opportunity for them to find Teshin.
Once inside the Fortress, the Tenno loses all communication with the Lotus, interesting the entire section of this mission the player no longer receives instructions or notifications on what the objectives are. Players have to figure out for themselves that the objective is to find 3 elevator keys, and carry them and drop them the main elevator console. After activating the elevator, proceed to the bottom levels.
The Tenno reaches the throne room of the Twin Queens, but before they can confront Teshin, the Twin Queens, and their royal guardians (the Kuva Guardians) descend upon them. It is revealed that Teshin's name is Teshin Dax, meaning he is a Dax solider and loyal to the Orokin in the days gone past. Teshin is unable to disobey any direct order from the Queen so long as she possess Orokin blood. The Queen chides the Tenno for their hubris in thinking they were safe from physical harm so long as they linking with their warframe, and the Tenno are safe on the board the Orbiter. With Teshin's aid, the Twin Queens disrupt the Tenno's transference. The Twin Queens then begin to drill into the Waframe's head with a drill like cyst overloading the Somatic Link severing their connection with their Warframe. Riving in pain during the process the operator blacks out.
The Tenno wakes up to strange music playing on the ship, and the ship AI Ordis in a totally melt-down. The Operator is unable to restart the Somatic Link and use Transference. Suddenly Ordis begins a emergency purge of the ship. EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE The Non Operator. The operator's sentinel begin to shoot at them and the ship begins to vent gas inside. The player must escape to the front of the ship before blacking out once more.
The Tenno then find themselves on-top a snowy mountain as they trudging through the snow they encounter a mysterious cave. Once inside they find a fireplace, but soon realize Teshin is there as well. Angered by Tenshin's betrayal the Operator attempts to blast Teshin with a focus beam but the attack falls short as Tenno have significantly lost their powers. Tenno then proclaims that Twin Queens are attempting to burrow into the Tenno's mind, and the that now he is forced to undo Margulis' work, and "open that gates... and make [the Tenno] suffer. Teshin locks the path to leave the cave forcing the Tenno to find another way out.
Exploring the cave the Operator comes across a massive ancient Ayatan Sculpture. When attempting to charge the sculpture with their focus beam, the cliff around them collapses causing the Operator to fall into a dark pit.
Regaining consciousness in the pit, the Tenno comes across the floor covered in bones and skeletons with a worm like Orokin creature ensnaring around the them. The player must cross these catacombs by keeping to the flat rock beds which the Orokin Maw cannot surface from. Otherwise, the the Maw will erupt from the ground and devour the Operator.
In the journey across these catacombs, the Operator will start to unlock dormant memories of what happened of their time while onboard the Zeriman. With each recovered memory the Tenno unlocks new abilities, Void Blast, Void Dash and Void Mode.
At the end of the bone cave, the Tenno will have the ability to use true Transference allowing them put their consciousness into the Orokin Maw to control it and borrow a opening out of the cave.
Outside the cave, the Operator will come across a place Teshin describes as Yuvan Theatre, a place where the Orokin would barter the young and "special" children for use in the Continuity. It is revealed the Continuity is a process in which the Queens' hope to undergo to take control of the Operator's mind and body and allow them to live longer. Once inside the Operator confronts the Queens' apparition inside their mind and breaks free from their grasp.
The mountain pass is actually a mental defense mechanism inceptioned by Teshin while training the Tenno to prepare them for this very situation when it was to arise. Although forced to obey the Queens' command, Teshin was in fact on the Tenno side.
The Operator's new found transference severs the Continuity (drilling) process and the Operator find themselves back on the Orbiter. The Operator tells Ordis that they are going to get their Warframe back from the Queen. However, Oridis exclaims that not only is the Somatic Link (chair) not functional, but that the Fortress' location has moved and they no longer know where it is.
It is at this point that the Operator with their new found powers no longer requires the Somatic Link, and uses Transference to teleport themselves physically to their Warframe.
Reuniting with their Warframe, they combine their abilities to take out the Kuva Guardians, who are initially immune to Warframe attacks. However, with the Tenno's new powers, the guardians can be rendered venerable for the Warframe to do damage to them.
After defeating the gaurds, the Queens order Teshin to attack the Tenno however, their training has prepared them and once the player defeats Teshin they will be able to attack the Queens. The Queens will fire a beam laser from a Scepter from which they wield. Teshin exclaims that the scepter is the source of their power, and control over him. However, the Tenno can use their Void Dash ability to knock the Scepter out of the Queens' hand. Afterwards, without the Scepter Teshin is be freed from the Queens' orders. The player can then choose the outcome of the Queens.
Afterwards, the Tenno will return to the ship. Ordis will ask the operator to demonstrate their new abilities before informing them that there are reports of an Old War beacon active that the Tenno then flies to investigate.
The Old beacon is situated on the actual Mountain pass from the Tenno's mental mind palace. This time the operator is able power the Ayatan Sculpture gain access and reaching the top of the chamber. The Operator meets with Teshin a snowy cliff and discuss what to do with the Kuva Scepter they took from the Queens. It is up to the player as to what they decide to do with the Kuva.
That concludes the plot of the quest!
So that's the summary. Long but hopefully a good run down.
Digital Extremes once again does not disappoint us with the production values and presentation in the War Within. Rightfully so, since it's been almost 18 months since the Second Dream was first released! I particularly enjoyed the new locations presented in the War Within. The Grineer Fortress is the first tileset that feels designed to try to fight against you (the intruder) and the level takes full advantage of the movement system. The level feels large, with quite a lot of verticality as you bullet jump across the asteroids, gliding through the air while evading oncoming turrets fire.
The mountain pass and the cave section are refreshing locales to visit. The quest as a whole in trying the convey the Operator's struggle within themselves to overcome the Queen was well done. I really like the seemly nods to Bioshock. (Did you know Digital Extremes work on the Bioshock 2 multiplayer?) While exploring the catacomb it felt I was playing Tomb Raider but except I had these cool Tenno abilities that I bet Lara croft wish she had. The mind palace like exploration of self and realizing ones true power is pulled off well. (It's very much anime but Warframe does it well)
However, the mountain pass section is also where Digital Extremes shows a bit of weakness, in which they struggle in giving the player enough information to know what to do. Many players even myself struggled a little while to grasp what was required for us to do to get past the Orokin Maw. As a long time of player of Warframe its well known that Digital Extremes is not great at explaining new gameplay mechanics to their players. Later on, I was stuck on the fight with the Queens because I misinterpreted how to fight the Queen and her barrier. What was a simple task became somewhat frustrating. I could foresee, a situation where what is meant to be climatic heated battle between the Tenno and Queens becomes a frustrating and painful experience for players who may not grasp how the fight works.
The story narrative-wise leaves a lot of questions and for better or for worse leaves more lore to be desired. In the grand scheme of the lore of Warframe, the narrative in War Within feels a bit too self contained. I think I personally wanted more elaboration on the Orokin Continuity, Teshin, the Queens. In one quest we were finally introduced to the Twin Queens, the most powerful entity of the Grineer faction, with ties to the Orokin and just like that the Tenno manage to bring them down.
Also I hope DE explores the repercussions of the decisions the player made, hopefully in future updates. They took a page from BioWare with the choice of White, Neutral, and Black choices. I ended up with the Neutral alignment. I know that other members of the GB community have gone full White, or full Black. So far the decisions and alignment has yet to have an impact on the game . It will interesting to see what those alignment translate to in future releases.
Let's hope the next Big Cinematic Quest won't take more than a year like War Within did! Also, where is quest replay Digital Extremes?!!!