Where The Heart Leads is an interactive adventure made by the same team who brought us Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate and Dead Star. This isn’t a game about crime fighting heroes or epic space battles though. Instead it’s a story about one man, Whit Anderson, and how the choices we make in life can have far-reaching impacts on those around us.
Things begin with a violent storm which causes a huge sink hole to open up on Whit’s farm. While trying to rescue the family dog he ends up falling down into its depths. Thankfully he’s uninjured and decides to reminisce on his life while trying to find a way out. You get to see his journey through life and all the events that have happened to him. Everything from his years as a teenager growing up on the family farm through to adulthood.
You’re not just a passive observer through all of this though. You can go talk to people and make decisions on how to respond to certain situations. These can have far reaching consequences, not just for Whit but also for his loved ones and the people around him. You won’t just be given big grandiose decisions to make, even little choices will need your input and there are plenty of heartfelt moments in the small, everyday interactions that you see.
Where the Heart Leads Review – Your Story
This game is a wonderful reminder that the things you say and do can leave a lasting mark on other people. What might be a throwaway comment said in a moment of anger can lead to someone making decisions that completely changes their future. Whatever the outcome, you’ll always know that for better or worse, you influenced someone else’s life.
The writing is very good and there are lots of different branching paths you can go down. It’s great to see that the decisions you make early on in the game can lead to big changes later on in the story. Of course, some things in Whit’s life are pre-determined. You already know from the opening of the story that he’s married and has children for example, but the relationship you forge with them are yours to control. This means that different players are likely to have very different experiences within the game.
The game does a great job at building up characters and your relationship with them. It’s hard not to want the best for everyone you meet, but of course life doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes what’s best for Whit will curb other people’s chances in life. It’s in moments like that where you really feel connected to Whit and his journey.
Where the Heart Leads Review – Slightly Sluggish
The game does suffer a little with its pacing especially midway through. Whit is a fairly ordinary guy with a normal life and at times it can feel like the story is pointlessly drawn out with not much happening. It also sometimes feels like you’re just making the same decision over and over. This is particularly noticeable when it comes to your brother. You’ll have to decide time and time again whether to help him fulfil his dreams at the expense of others. It ends up feeling a little bit repetitive and tedious.
The game is visually very striking with a variety of brightly colored environments to explore. There’s lots of beauty in the small rural town that Whit calls home but it also has a somewhat dreamlike feel to it. Much of the music is fairly subtle but it works quite well at adding to the background mood of each scene without taking up too much of your attention.
As you can probably guess with a game like this, it is quite text heavy, and sadly, there isn’t any voice acting. Initially the text size was pretty small but thankfully a patch has already been released by the developers which allows you to increase the size. It’s always nice when a simple accessibility need like this is quickly taken care of!
Where the Heart Leads isn’t going to be a game for everyone but it does a remarkable job at letting the player walk their own path through Whit’s life. Much of the story is fairly ordinary but that’s what makes it so relatable. It may even cause you to reflect on the choices you’ve made in your own life and how you may have helped or hindered those around you.
Where the Heart Leads review code provided by publisher. Version 1.03 reviewed on a PlayStation 5. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.