The Price of Freedom: Innocence Lost

a Historical by Avery_Moore

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

Player Rating7.39/8

"#8 overall, #1 for 2019"
based on 571 ratings since 04/07/2019
played 18,453 times (finished 630)

Story Difficulty6/8

"wandering through the desert"

Play Length7/8

"It keeps going and going"

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.

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

THE PRICE OF FREEDOM: INNOCENCE LOST: 96%

SHOULD I READ THIS?
Yes, definately. It’s a very good story, with excellent mechanics. There is some violence in places.
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=

RATINGS:

Basic Plot & Coherence: 5/5
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: 5/5
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 character’s 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: 5/5
If there were mistakes, I didn’t see any.
Mastery of Language: 2/3
Excellent use of matching language to the general tone.

Mechanics & Coding: 5/5
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: 2/2 (usually 3)
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. I’m still rating a 2/2 because linearity isn’t necessarily a problem when the story makes up for it in other places.

Player Options/Fair choice: 3/3
You certainly have a lot of choices about how to build your skill and relationships, despite the linearity.
There’s no point where it feels like you had no way to forsee the consequences of your actions.

Nitpicks: I see that the second one is not done yet. Disappointing.

Endings: There’s only really one ending, you see how you did after the final fight, and have to learn to deal with it in the next installment.

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: 27/28 = 96.4%
-- Gryphon on 4/16/2021 1:27:33 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
I'm making this comment a while after reading the story. I don't know what to say that hasn't been told already. This adventure is fantastic.

I loved how the consequences of a choice aren't always predictable just by reading the action's description.
It really took me on an adventure with simple enough characters that makes them easy to imagine and understand yet, the different interactions were well written and logical. It made me feel like I was actually interacting with real human persons (who have hindsight on situations).
This was one of my first interaction with CYS, and I must say it gave me a very positive image of what can be found here.

I'll make sure to read part 2 when it's out, but hey... No pressure or forcing here. :)
-- Mr_SuperEggMan on 5/7/2021 9:17:08 AM with a score of 0
Great game, lovely, sure am glad the author is still logging in and posting on the forum almost daily as anyone paying the slightest bit of attention before making weird assumptions can see.
-- mizal on 4/1/2021 7:45:37 PM with a score of 0
Great game, lovely, shame the creator has left and a sequel is close to nil. Loved it.
-- Sepimus on 4/1/2021 6:37:43 PM with a score of 0
WOW i just, wow...
-- WAHluigi on 3/5/2021 1:43:48 PM with a score of 0
I liked it even better than the time Avery, mizal and poison mara took turns banging me with a horse dildo strap on while my wife watched.
-- jasonstevanhill on 2/18/2021 8:03:21 PM with a score of 0
well, this games certainly make me a bit sympathetic, but at this world, and it to be hard. and so that's why i like this game, i know i'm crazy, but that's what this game make me feel.
-- fG5073 on 1/26/2021 11:02:41 AM with a score of 100000
this was a wonderful game i cant wait for the sequal
-- Instantdeath29 on 1/19/2021 12:55:27 AM with a score of 100000
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