The Price of Freedom: Innocence Lost

a Everything Else by Avery_Moore

Commended by mizal on 3/29/2019 12:03:54 PM

Player Rating7.50/8

"#15 overall, #1 for 2019"
based on 296 ratings since 04/07/2019
played 6,585 times (finished 273)

Story Difficulty6/8

"wandering through the desert"

Play Length8/8

"Even light has to break at the rest stop"

Maturity Level6/8

"I'll need to see some identification"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 16. If this were a movie, it would probably between PG-13 and R.

,

You are ten years old when you first feel the weight of shackles around your wrists. In a matter of hours, your whole world is turned upside down as you and your brother are dragged away from your home in Greece to work as slaves in the Roman Empire. Now you must struggle for survival. Every decision you make will affect your future. Your life, the life of your brother and the lives of your friends are in your hands.

Begin your journey as a child, and make heartbreaking choices that will shape the adult you will become. But be careful. An act of kindness might come back to haunt you, and a thoughtless word could earn you some powerful enemies. A split second decision will determine who lives and who dies. Will you sell your soul to win your freedom, or sacrifice everything for the people you love? Will you even live long enough to see the sun rise?

Special thanks to all of my beta-testers: TinyOnion, Morgan R, Mewsly, Evan Dean Nathanael, Laha, Cookiemonsta, Jumo, Hannah Minger, Danielle L-S, eXwhYZee, Umbreonpanda, M.S.X.K. Laird, Likho and N1GHTMAR3.

And a really, REALLY special thanks to my patreons: Chanbot, Mizal, Ryan Esher and SpartacustheGreat.

All of my games are free to play, but you can support me on patreon at:
https://www.patreon.com/Avery_Moore

You can also keep up to date on my games by following me on social media at:
https://www.facebook.com/AveryMooreGames
https://twitter.com/Avery__Moore

Player Comments

This was a very enjoyable story! The characters were compelling and the writing was good. I found it to be very much worth my time.

There were a couple bugs I encountered, including an apple that I was able to give away twice. Also, at about the same part of the story, there was one option that was grayed out because I assumed I hadn't accumulated enough points in that particular skill. However, after to talking with each of the other characters and coming back to the same set of decisions again and again, that skill-based choice was made available to me on one occasion. I'm not sure if that was intended or a glitch in the coding.

Also, there were a couple oddities that distracted me briefly. One was the fact that soon after I was locked inside the gladiator school one of my first options was to attend a lecture, which I found to be disconcerting. I don't remember that scene in certain Stanley Kubrick or Ridley Scott movies. I must have missed the sign-ups for the pottery lessons... Humor aside, such an intellectual and self-enriching pursuit seemed out of place in what I would assume would be a rather brutal and soulless environment.

And later there was a reference to someone reading a book, even though printed books were not invented in Europe until the 15th century, courtesy of Mr. Gutenberg. The Romans were ingenious and created many clever gadgets, but books weren't among them.

Otherwise I enjoyed the story, and read it in installments over the course of several nights. I took your advice and saved the stats page for when the next installment in the story is ready to read. Thanks for sharing this with us!
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 5/8/2019 9:44:17 PM with a score of 100000
I’ve been struggling to review this, and really, that’s a compliment. Normally when reading even stories I otherwise enjoy here I have this little editor in my head going reeeeeee with varying degrees of sound and intensity as I come across the usual ever-spreading banquet of questionable word choices and straight up errors. That always leaves me plenty to write about without even needing to think about it. To come across a polished and professionally written work like this that just lets me immediately become immersed and forget I’m even reading a story is so precious and rare. Price of Freedom emulates that feel of opening a good book and reminds me a lot of some of the novels I read when I was about the protagonist’s age and just getting into the world of historical fiction. (Sadly, I never did come across anything nearly this good on Rome, mostly I just had pioneers and gold rushes and the Civil War coming out the ears...)

The author crafted some truly memorable characters with distinctive personalities. The little brother you need to protect, a new friend you’re thrown together with through circumstance, other potential friends that require a little more reaching out to and effort to understand, and finally those who should be enemies who sometimes turn out to be more than they seem. Because of the nature of the setting and plot, it becomes a painful necessity to think of these characters on another level as well, that of how your interactions with them relate to your continued survival. A sweet and endearing child might be at the same time a constant source of frustration as you realize how little chance they have and can only wish they’d snap to the reality of their situation and toughen up before it’s too late, and someone who’d be an incredible asset in a fight can be so obnoxious that after achieving the optimal ending you still go back and make different choices to make sure they die...haha...not that I would do such a thing on purpose. But anyway...

Brasus pissed me off and broke my heart, Lula made me laugh and had all the greatest lines, but Rhode meanwhile is just such a unique mixture of ally and antagonist and angry drill sergeant mother; not a character anyone will be able to forget for awhile. (I think it was mentioned in a thread that the homage to Semra’s intro in Eternal wasn’t intentional...but I’m sure Endmaster accepts your offering anyway.) It was smart to make the unequal nature of her and Titus’ relationship clear or a few of her actions wouldn’t have let her come off as quite so sympathetic, but as it is I adore Rhode while Titus remains in need of MANY bitch slaps and kicks to the groin. Time will tell if the sequel improves my opinion of him or whether he just keeps going further in the direction of earning the role of Supreme Selfish Asshole. It will be interesting seeing how his kids develop too.

There was enough authentic flavor in the setting to make it feel believably Roman (minus a couple of minor missteps like sailors being weirdly careless of the well being of extremely valuable cargo and details like the believability of the books the slaves had access too...even for Greeks and Romans such things would’ve been only for the wealthy. Something like rolls of papyrus with fighting stances drawn on them or whatnot would’ve been more realistic I think.) This is very much a character focused story though, and setting it inside the academy walls was a good way to keep everyone interacting and the plot moving along without having to go overboard with historical detail. An especially good idea considering the uh, NSFW nature of much of ancient Rome.

There were a couple of places, the line near the end, “So many have come to watch and cheer while two groups of children try to kill each other. Was the world always like this? It seemed so different once.” And the description of the playing children stopping to watch the cart at the beginning that I thought were nice touches really driving home the fact that the injustice and barbarity of slavery were just so casually accepted by the average person, even the protagonist until they themselves were caught up in it with no one to give a shit.

Since this was written in the Choice of Games style it might seem somewhat linear to those used to more branching in their stories, but even though the challenges faced remain the same, there’s so much variation in how to deal with them and how you develop your relationships and skills along the way that it felt enough like a different story each time I played. There’s the strategy aspect too; the first attempt, I hit a vertical wall in the arena fight because I’d spread myself too thin on skills. Going back and having more focus made a real difference, and I was pleased that my decent and honest and open guy who was not afraid to admit that men could cry could still protect his little brother and friends with some underhanded tactics when shit got real.

A liiittle more wiggle room in skills might’ve been reasonable though. Somehow going back and picking just one extra training focus and target practicing a few hours meant the difference between being made to look like a loser chump by Gerda and having flawless godlike accuracy when a check came up a little later.

Ultimately, these are all just nitpicks however. The story was satisfying and even with the obvious set up for the sequel felt complete as far as character development and overcoming the major conflict went. For me, everything was improved in a small way by going back and doing just a little worse so that Gerda couldn’t be saved...not JUST because she was a giant bitch, I just thought it seemed fitting for both bully and victim to be carried out side by side because ultimately reality didn’t give a shit about either or consider one more worthy/capable than the other. The reaction from Rhode seemed more fitting too, so this is ultimately going to be what I consider the canon path.

Although it does occur to me that if all these same characters are carried forward into a sequel, it’s going to mean a *lot* of writing to cover the variations possible in the group makeup now. The sequel is something I’ll be looking forward to (and I know I’m not alone in that) but this first installment was a pure pleasure to read. Thanks so much for writing it.
-- mizal on 4/26/2019 6:55:26 PM with a score of 100000
Because the original Price of Freedom is what first brought me to CYS, this game is somewhat special to me. However, I think it is safe to say that my high opinion of it has little to do with sentimentality. The original version was good. This was better.
The story has a lot of focus on stats, and there is no long-term branching throughout it, really. Even the differences in endings are based off your relationships with other characters and who is actually alive. Ordinarily, I would see this as a negative, but due to the nature of the game, it is fitting. The goal is to survive and end up as well-off as possible, which is not necessarily easy. I had an advantage, having played the original, but if I had not, I would have likely struggled.
The writing is great, and the action is descriptive without dragging down the story. I liked the characters too. Sure, Rhode is not as hot as Semra, but she's pretty dang cool. There was also a lot of effort put into changing conversations based off your relationship with each character, which was nice.
The story moves along at just the right pace, I thought. It neither dragged nor left confusion and unanswered questions.
If you're into gladiators, game-like stories that still don't sacrifice plot, or you just want to read a unique, well-written storygame, quit reading reviews and go read The Price of Freedom: Innocence Lost.
I'll be eagerly awaiting the sequel.
-- Cricket on 4/17/2019 12:40:43 PM with a score of 0
Way better than the old version.
-- Nazhfa on 7/16/2019 8:23:41 AM with a score of 0
Cant wait for the sequel
-- JoeyFlow on 6/19/2019 8:27:40 PM with a score of 0
Great
-- Boleslaw on 6/17/2019 4:15:42 AM with a score of 100000
Incredible game! Can't wait for more!
-- Brandofergie on 6/14/2019 10:29:44 AM with a score of 0
Breathtaking. truly worth the time.
-- RabbitSeason on 6/13/2019 1:53:34 AM with a score of 0
My first foray into Choose Your Story was with your work The Price of Freedom. Long ago, my friends and I enjoyed the old Choose Your Own Adventure books. But I do believe your work eclipses any story I remember from that series. Thank you
-- Wise Toilet Flusher on 6/9/2019 10:37:04 AM with a score of 0
That was pretty good.

Next episode when? :D
-- OwO on 6/5/2019 5:17:07 AM with a score of 0
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