Kate Harrold assesses where the heart leads…
It’s worth noting that Hollywood has recently turned its attention to the gaming industry. Whether it’s a cultural Juggernaut, like a Naughty Dog The last of us series or the ambitious and consequential story of Quantic Dream Detroit: Become human, players want a lot more than shows and shoot, and these games prove it. They want something deeper and more heartfelt and in a time when we are all looking for a story, the latest entry from Armature Games Where the heart leads is a great tonic.
The game follows Whit Anderson, a family man who crashes into a sinkhole during a storm while trying to save his dog. When he finally lands, Whit has to be transported to a surreal landscape where he wanders lost and alone. Before long, he retreated on a journey through time and recounted the most important moments of his past, present, and future. As a player, your decisions affect how Whit’s life goes on.
Manuscript Where the heart leads is said to be over 600,000 words long – an amazing achievement and something that becomes clear when you start playing the game. The player has a lot of choices, including what to say, who to talk to and in what order. In fact, you may find yourself in the game for hours before you even realize how consequential each subconscious decision can be. The game mentions Quantic Dream’s Heavy rain impact and you can see it here. In the same way one Where the heart leads“The biggest selling point is its reproducibility and permission for alternative outcomes.
Unlike many other stories, Where the heart leads feels relatively healthy. While the game is based on reality, there is almost whimsical Surrealism in the world, and now more than ever, we all need to take a step away from heavy shooters for something warmer and more inviting. This feeling translates into the art style of the game, which is stunning. The developers have created a beautiful world that feels almost like the Hayao Miyazaki Studio Ghibli app thanks to the complete intangibility of the image.
If you’re used to playing games that constantly have movies and cropped scenes, you might be in shock. Environments aside, Where the heart leads is detached from how it visually tells the story. As a player, it seems like we’re hovering over every scene, always just feeling too far away. The characters we’re dealing with are just more than a hologram-like silhouette. Surprisingly, the way these characters begin to signify movement and emotion across the landscape is quite effective, but it feels like it could be more if we were just granted a little more involvement in the scenes.
For this reason, it can be difficult to dive into the story because there is no sound here either. Where the heart leads is a slow burner and the emotional connection to the story is based on the fact that players take the time to read the conversation on screen. It’s definitely worth it and your loyalty to the story is worth it, but there’s no denying that the journey will take some time. There’s a lot to read and click on here, which might lose the interest of some players.
Lack of camera control is one of the basic disadvantages of the game. Movement in terms of angle is very limited and so often when you play in Whit mode, the character is obscured by the element of the environment and nothing can be done about it. It can make navigation more difficult to show where you can run just to try to find the next correct turn. It’s a shame because the environment is one of the selling points of the game and we hope we would have had the freedom to look at this better.
Overall, Where the heart leads there is a lot of charm and appeal that fits perfectly into the post-pandemic world to which it will be released. The sweeping narrative provides hours of warmth and reflection, and while the gameplay can sometimes be both clumsy and disconnected, the lush environments are sure to distract you from any grievances you think are temporary.
+ Interesting report.
+ Good repeatability.
+ Beautiful world design.
+ Perfect for all types of players.
– Repeatable gameplay.
– Difficult to use the camera.
– Visuals sometimes separate you from a story.
Revised on PlayStation 5, where The Heart Leads is available for purchase on PlayStation 4. The review code was provided by the publisher.