To recap: accept quest to save apprentice from commander. If commander dies, you found the boy dead. If the commander survives, you can rescue the boy. You succeed or you don't, the world goes on. ;)
This is only one side of the coin. The fact that the game makes a certain decision transparent to you, that is , you believe that your decision was without an alternative, avoids a load/save session, but on the other side, you want to give the player a challenge.
Think about a simple game: the rule is
, you need to throw a basketball in the basket 10 times in a row
. When you fail, you need to start again.
This is hard for an unexperiented player, but with time and practise he will master this challenge. Now think about a save/load mechanism, this would allow the player to count every hit and even an unexperiented player will archieve the goal after 40,60 or maybe 100 tries. An experienced player will need only 15-20 tries first time. After this, just ask the player and most likely the experienced player will say, that it was too easy, not really a challenge at all, boring...
The funny thing about this is, that we often tell our children that every hit counts, when we see that they are not able to master the challenge yet and don't have the ambition to archive it. In the game designer world we react in a similar way. We see that the casual player is not able to master the challenge, nor has he the ambition to do so, that is the reason we reduce the challenge or take it away completly
to get their cash
... to get them on board.
The 'truth' is
, when you want to deliver a challenge, you need to get rid of the save/load mechanism. When the game gets too hard, you need to change the challenge instead (easy = 5 hits, normal=10 hits, hard=20 hits in a row). Thought a 'stop now and continue later' option is always useful to give the player the choice to when and how much to play your game.
I believe that this is one of the reasons that multiplayer games like MW3,BF3,L4D,TF2 gets so popular, because they deliver a much higher challenge than current single player games.