Where the Heart Leads Review

It’s no secret that narrative-based video games have become popular in recent years. While solid gameplay and mechanics still play an important role in these types of games, the quality of the story remains the most important element, which is the case with Armature Studio’s latest title, Where The Heart Leads. First announced at PlayStation’s Indie Day in March, Where The Heart Leads (formerly titled Where The Heart Is) puts players in control of a family man named Whit, who is taken on a journey through time. The game is similar to other optional titles like Heavy Rain where players make decisions that can have a big impact on the story. Where The Heart Leads begins on a fateful stormy night, where a giant sinkhole opens up in the middle of Whit Anderson’s farm. Due to heavy rain and rumbling thunder, The Anderson family’s dog named Casey ventured too close to the sinkhole and fell. In an attempt to save the dog, Whit bravely descends into the darkness, where he finds himself trapped in a surreal world. where the heart leads Upon further exploration, Whit discovers that he is being transported throughout key moments in his life. Here, players will make important decisions that will affect Whit’s relationships with his overbearing parents, his misunderstanding brother, his childhood sweetheart, and other important people who shape his life. While the story of Where The Heart Leads leans on the heavy side, which is expected of most narrative-based games, there are still some light moments, especially during Whit’s developing relationship with his childhood sweetheart, René. Players should also expect to be faced with a plethora of decisions throughout the game, leading to around a dozen different endings. Of course, the choices the player makes on his journey through time will shape the narrative players experience, giving them the power to drive the story and end it any way they want. The variety of choices and multiple consequences increase the replayability value of Where The Heart Leads. Players may find themselves reloading a save to reverse or change a decision they made. Thankfully, the save mechanic is well thought out in Where The Heart Leads, as players can save their progress at any point in the game. Autosaves will also help players have a fallback, especially when they are surprised by important decisions. Some players may find that after reloading a save, they can’t remember what happened in their last session. Fortunately, pressing the L2 button on the controller brings up the players last conversation with an NPC. where the heart leads Each character also opens up unique storylines for Whit to work on, and most of these side stories tie in with other characters. Although each story is different, they all eventually affect Whit and influence how the other characters and the world see him. As the game is divided into several chapters, players can explore each level as they like and talk to any character they want. However, it is worth noting that talking to a character can lead to a big decision that players must make on the spot, so it is advisable for players to explore as much as possible in the beginning, especially since the items scattered throughout a level can provide clues to the struggles and problems each character faces. Due to its narrative-based gameplay, players will spend most of their time talking to various NPCs. According to Armature Studio, the game features a 600,000-word script, so players should expect tons of reading since the game does not include any voiced dialog. Since most of Where the Heart Leads consists of players talking to other characters, the gameplay can sometimes get repetitive. It would have been nice if Where the Heart Leads featured voiceovers, especially during key moments, to give players a break from reading tons of text. However, players should note that while the storyline is a bit slow at the beginning, it gradually picks up in the middle of the game, offering players a varied and exciting experience. where the heart leads Overall, Where the Heart Leads is visually appealing thanks to its gorgeous graphics, reminiscent of a watercolor painting. However, there were some areas where assets like trees and buildings made it difficult to see where the player was or where they were going. There are also moments when the prompt to initiate a conversation with an NPC won’t trigger at the right time, and players may find themselves spinning around a character just to start a conversation. Aside from these minor issues, the game is absolutely gorgeous to look at. It can be bright and cheerful when needed, or it can be dark and gloomy when the story calls for it. Where Heart Leads’ soundtrack blends perfectly with the game – it’s not loud and catchy and comes in at the right time, emphasizing the emotional turmoil the characters are dealing with. Despite not having anything in common with Armature’s previous games, like ReCore and Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, Where Heart Leads checks all the boxes for a great narrative-driven game. Its story is deep and interesting, and players should expect an exhilarating yet harrowing experience. Throughout its lengthy campaign, players can expect to traverse a vividly beautiful world filled with watercolor-inspired artwork and a soundtrack that fits the story. While there are minor performance issues, especially with the game’s environment and interactivity, they are few and easily fixed with an update expected to drop on launch day. Despite its shortcomings, Where The Heart Leads offers a fascinating and emotional experience with multiple endings that rival games with the best replay value. The game is certainly enjoyable and can inspire players to think about their choices in real life and their consequences on their loved ones. Where Heart Leads launches on July 12, 2021, for PS4 and will be playable on PS5 via backward compatibility. Today Technology was provided with a PS4 code for this review. MORE: Before Your Eyes Devs Discuss Using Blink Detection to Drive Narrative

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