I’m not a fan of choices that end in death. Even with a save function they break immersion, forcing you out of the story and to start again.
How many times are you reading a novel and the protagonist just dies, for doing something stupid? Rhetorical question, I know it happens, I’m sure someone will mention Game of Thrones, but even then the novels generally continue on afterwards with the actual repercussions, generally with a switch of perspective or to a different protagonist. .
If you make the deaths entertaining, then it could be part of the fun of the game. I actually enjoyed the non-standard endings in Slammed! There are some that didn’t feel like a slap in the face but were instead awesome.
But generally speaking I don’t like death as a penalty. I’ve never liked it in any of the roleplaying games I’ve played, and I don’t like it in interactive fiction. I’d rather the player have a chance to learn from their mistakes. Because making mistakes, learning from them, growing as a person, that’s an awesome part of the heroes journey. You can screw up to begin with and that just makes it all the better when you stop screwing up and start succeeding.
Death is cheap. Death is easy. It will frustrate the player, force them to replay, but it teaches the character nothing.
Why even allow the option for the protagonist to die? Why not instead have them escape with a scar, or an injury, or being rescued and thus owe someone else their life, a favour that will be called in at a future
date and cause complications. Or even a hit to a reputation stat, or a common sense stat, or a luck one or something.
I think Waywalkers University 2 actually does a really good job of implementing a character with that sort of injury that effects their entire life, causes problems, makes the game a different experience but which isn’t an unsurpassable obstacle.
I think there’s far better ways to tell a story with consequences without just having deaths everywhere.