Price of Freedom: Innocence Lost (expanded 2019 version)

by Briar Rose

Episode 1 of Price of Freedom
Historical
2019

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
The Price of Freedom: Innocence Lost, March 14, 2022
by Gryphon
Related reviews: AveryMoore

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.

=SPOILERS BELOW=

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.

Grammar:
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.

Branching:
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.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
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.


- Takada001, January 17, 2021

- enterpride, January 3, 2021

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Truly Special, December 31, 2020

This story is wonderful. It's not perfect, but it provides an unforgettable experience. Everything is crafted with enough love and care that a reader can feel it. I really recommend this story to anyone who is interested in a gladiator story. On a base level the plot sounds exceptionally plain, but in practice it shines. This works so well it's actually not funny.


- Zake, December 27, 2020

- MHD, December 23, 2020

- Ogre (A Cave), December 23, 2020

- Perforation, December 17, 2020

- Cvrček, November 17, 2020

- Saturnara, March 19, 2020

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Good Gladiator story, but too short., December 4, 2019
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: History

I'm rather new at Choice-games, but this one, with its ancient Rome theme appealed to me.

I very much liked the customizing of my character at the beginning. You can choose male or female, which doesn't seem to have any effect on further gameplay. The way you assign further strengths and talents was very rewarding to me. You get stat-points based on your choice of family background, and on the choice of the mythological character you're named after. (Diana, goddes of woods, wildlife and hunting, gives you a headstart in Stealth, for example.)

It's well written, apart from a typo here and there. It's also well structured. A coherent story of development as a fledgling gladiator, with attention to development of fighting skills (of course) but also of various personal relations. Do you choose sibling loyalty above a strong training ally? Do you choose friendship above a good rapport with your trainer or master?

These decisions play a clear role in how well you fare in your first battle in the arena. Just before and during that fight, you also make difficult but influential decisions (weapons choice, tactics, who you help and who you leave to fend for themselves). Deep involvement with your character here.

And then it's over...

This game feels like a very good introductory chapter to a longer, fully fleshed out novella about the life of a roman gladiator/slave. Will she earn or buy her freedom? Will he become trainer of gladiators that follow? Will she escape with her brother and confront their father? How about his friends, enemies, allies, trainers?

I, for one, would very much welcome a continuation.

I felt hungry for more.


- grimperfect, April 7, 2019

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A Great Start to a Promising Series, March 30, 2019

The Price of Freedom: Innocence Lost is a wonderful story about two brothers' struggle with surviving life as gladiators in training. It is filled with well written characters who truly feel like real people, with their own struggles and motivations. The setting is very descriptive and the story flows smoothly and naturally. Overall, it is a very well written and engaging story.

I would highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys gladiators, the Roman Empire, or is just looking for a good story to pass the time.



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