So, after my disappointment with The Prodigy, I was set to never touch this series again - once I had gone back and finished it, of course. A family member assured me I was wrong and that the series got better in The Hero Project - to their credit, they were right.
However, even in that case, THP barely struggles to make *average*. The writing style continues to be quite sophomoric and not in the entertaining sense of being young. It's sophomoric in the sense of awkward phrasing, juvenile handling of sex and bizarre, immersion-shattering rants about correct gender pronouns. It's immature and banal. Look, I get that more games should deal with sex and gender, and I get that interactive fiction is one of the best genres for it, but Zachary Sergi needs to handle it with a bit more deftness. Credit for attempting it.
To Sergi's additional credit, there are some interesting choices in this game. I thought many of the ones relating to Null and Lucky were quite good and hard to choose from. Unfortunately, much like the previous entry in the series, THP suffers from the stark feeling of being stuck on rails with an author that's waiting to jump out and go 'aha!' at you for not picking the right choice (while giving you no indication of what might be the right choice unless you *pay for it as an in-game app store-esque purchase*. THP, however, seems to have less of those ridiculous options like The Prodigy had (infilrating and forgetting to take off your hero costume, anyone?) - so, that's some improvement. But it's still not embracing the strength of an interactive medium because good IF rewards choices and does its best to disguise the rails (eg; Choice of Robots).
Much of the worldbuilding and setting continues to be a bit on the nose - again, it's very sophomorric. The fact that Sergi continues to interject 'slugger' into so many sentences as a catch all term that seems to be a general epithet, noun, verb, adjective and so on is lazy. Honestly, if there is one thing I could remove from this whole trilogy, it's this word. As a whole, the world feels very derivative of superhero comics and doesn't offer much in the way of originality.
For a simple premise (superhero reality TV) the plot has too many characters (of course, expecting you to remember/care about all of them) and a slow development where things just seem to happen. I'm not sure how much control over my story I actually had, thanks to the aforementioned of feeling like I'm on rails. What's worse, is that the characters aren't particularly likeable - again, due to the writing style.
So, what's good about it? Well, there's a fair bit of customisation. If you're looking to feel like you're in a superhero story and you want a bit of a self-insert fantasy where you can craft your dreamworld to exacting specifications then this is for you. If you want something that advances the medium of IF, offers interesting, branching choices with clever writing and wit - avoid. As someone who looks for the latter, I cannot recommend THP.
Additionally, I ran into a bug near the end that caused me to need to restart my entire story. I won't mark the game down for that but it was quite unfortunate.