I bought the Heroes Rise trilogy while it was on sale after greatly enjoying the Choice of the Deathless demo (which I still plan to buy). Most of my childhood was spent in the 1990s, so I was able to experience the actual "choose your own adventure" novels that were popular back when bookstores still actually existed. At the time, I actually didn't care for them. Nearly every one I read would have ridiculous consequences for choices that seemed logical; your character could die because of a sound choice you made, just because the author wanted to trick you out of a decision. That was my one concern going into the Choice of Games library of games. That, and whether the story would actually suck me in.
It did. Let me just say I'm not a huge superhero fan. Sometimes I watch the movies, and most of the time I'll play the games associated with various Marvel and DC characters. But I tend to find heroism too black and white to be practical, and tend to be far more interested in the villains of such stories, so I was a little worried this story wouldn't keep my attention. I read this interactive novel from start to finish in one three hour sitting, however, because it didn't shy away from keeping you actively involved in the outcome of certain events. You even get to make small decisions about what your character looks like that I did catch repeated later, helping you stay immersed (i.e. you get to choose what color your "energy" is, and I noticed the game would describe this later on in fights).
Is it written well? For the most part, yes. I noticed some misspellings that could be attributed mostly to typos, and for some reason, the author here has a significant bias against using commas before the conjunction "but" that I noticed popped up multiple times throughout my playthrough. Are the mistakes noticeable? Yes. Are they game or immersion breaking? No. All in all, I noticed about ten errors over the course of a three hour interactive novel, which isn't too bad of a balance.
Is the story any good? Yes. It's mostly a story about going from a nobody to a superhero in a futuristic, arguably dystopian society. The world is just as corrupt as its criminals, with a justice system that crosses the boundaries of reason, technology that is far too incorporated into human life than is safe, and laws that are questionable. You are able to choose where your beliefs lie in this mix, and I was pleased to see I was able to choose a path that wasn't just righteously heroic or immorally anti-heroic. You can also decide what your beliefs are early on and divert from them later, if you so choose, but the game will punish you for this diversion. Throughout the story you are able to choose what sexual orientation you have and you are also able to choose to romance one (or more) of a few characters. Even though I chose relatively early on to romance one character (and had a teen-rated romance scene with said character), I was still given the choice to profess feelings for another later on, so choices hadn't been taken away from me just because I'd already chosen someone else.
With that said, there were some choices that didn't quite make sense or that I made that in the end, didn't really matter. (I'll keep this spoiler-free.) It was revealed to me that a character I cared about had a pretty shocking secret, and I had to choose whether to be okay with this new information and accept the character with their flaws or not. I chose to say that I understood and was okay with it--and despite this, my character decided on her own to stop talking to this person and ignore all attempts of communication from them. In the end, it did end up that this could work out the way I had wanted it to begin with, but the story ended up deciding for me how my character felt despite me telling her to feel otherwise, which broke the immersion a bit. There's also a clear trust violation committed against you by a main character, and even though they explain it was done for your benefit (and you have the choice to refute that), you still end up giving into their whims and doing what they've wanted you to do all along, which really irked me. The story ended up telling me that my character just knew "it was right", and I honestly didn't agree. Because I had created this character to mimic my beliefs, to see her going against them angered me a bit and made me question the influence of some of my decisions.
Overall, this was a well-written game that gave me more choices than I anticipated, and most of them made sense. Quite a few of them mattered quite a bit (for example, characters in this CAN die). I admired the author for steering clear of the goofy superhero format and sticking with the gritty, more realistic superhero formula that won't shy away from killing characters or having true consequences to actions. Although I was a bit disappointed in the mostly uninteresting villains this game had to offer, the heroes themselves had enough downfalls in their personalities to keep me intrigued in their character development. Because I got three hours out of one playthrough, I think the game is worth its full price even if you'll only go through it once (though, of course, there is massive replay value here). If I had to give it a rating, I would give Heroes Rise: The Prodigy an 8/10. This is a great game at a great price that will grab your attention and hold onto it until it concludes in an epilogue, and it should not be missed.