General Recommendation: I recommend this game. Itís a very good story, with excellent mechanics.
Preview: You and your brother must survive training to become gladiators in ancient rome. Your decisions of who you want to be, and how to treat the people around you will affect the ultimate outcome of the game.
Basic Plot & Coherence:
The plot is this: You and your brother are sold into slavery and become gladiators. You must navigate your training, while developing skills and relationships that become more and more important. Everything fits well together. The events are logical and believeable, and the story does an excellent job of keeping the narration coherent, despite having so many options for who your character grows up to be. The tension between the two gladiator trainers is built up well, and the climactic battle provides a good pay off, while the consequences and death caused by the match increase the tension in preperation for the next installment.
Characters & Development:
The characters really shine in this story. Beyond the relationship tracking mechanic, each of them has a clearly defined personality, and multiple different possible character arcs depending on the main characterís choices. The characters are what give this game replay value. You can have a vastly different play experience by making different friends, and seeing different characters develop in different ways. I particularly liked Lula, she, the main character, and Alexius seemed to fit well together as a group struggling to orient themselves in difficult circumstances. All the characters later on had their own complexities. I started off liking Titus and disliking Rhodes, only to have my opinion on them swapped by the end of the game. Each of the gladiators met later on have their own distinct personalities. Zeru, Gerda, and Brasus each are intersting in their own way and contribute to the narrative.
If there were mistakes, I didnít see any.
Mastery of Language:
Excellent use of matching language to the general tone. The children in this game are also well-written.
Mechanics & Coding:
The story does an excellent job of creating both a satisfying narrative, and having skill and relationship building statistics that make sense and are important to the story.
Despite the relative linearity of the plot, the skills and relationship you build and the important choices you do make (such as choosing who to save) really make you feel like your choices matter, and will be important furthur down the road. That said, it is a relatively linear story.
Player Options/Fair choice:
You certainly have a lot of choices about how to build your skill and relationships, despite the linearity.
Thereís no point where it feels like you had no way to forsee the consequences of your actions.
On my first playthrough, I went down the path where you get along well with pretty much everyone, other than Gerda and Rhodes. Towards the end of the playthrough, though, I made up with both of them and was frustrated by the final battle forcing you to only be able to save one of the characters in danger. The story was captivating, and each of the options really made me think about what was the best strategic choices.
CONCLUSION: A fun and engaging game, which uses player statistics to build the story in a way I don't often see.