Where the Heart Leads - PS4 Review

Where the Heart Leads
by developer and publisher Armature GamesSony PlayStation 4 review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

If there's one thing in life that we usually end up asking ourselves it's this. What if I had done it differently? What if I had decided to be nicer to my family? What if I had decided to put my foot down when someone was out of line? What if I had taken that job instead of passing it to someone who I knew really needed it even if I did? All of these choices big and small are what make us who we are and that's exactly what Armature Games' Where the Heart Leads is about.

Starting off on a dark night, the Anderson family’s best friend, the goodest girl named Casey, runs out of the house and into the field while the ground below everyone is shaking. Followed by their children Alex and Kate, their mother Rene soon follows while you, the father Whit are the last to leave the house and start to see the horror in front of you. A good chunk of the property now has a giant sinkhole reaching far below eye level and your beloved Casey is trapped on a ledge where none of you can reach her. This starts off what may be the most emotional experience that I’ve had in a long while as I empathized, laughed, cried and got angry at the people that Whit will have dealt with over the course of a lifetime starting from from his younger days as a high school student into his much later twilight years.

If there is one thing that I struggled with while going through this well thought out and written adventure, it would be how to describe it. It's an adventure for sure, but not in the traditional sense. Calling it a narrative adventure works, but it’s also not quite there as there still is plenty of interaction that you would have from a point-and-click experience. There are no monsters to slay, royalty to save, or "quests" to be completed, but there is Whit's life and the choices that he makes along the way both big and small that will affect both him as a person and all of those around him.

This is really what drew me in as Where the Heart Leads is like an interactive novel that has you continuously turning the page while simultaneously forgetting about the clock on the wall and the time of day as it slips by. There’s never anything jarring, or time pressing, or even stressful unless you count making major life choices as stressful. I know I do. Instead, each part of Whit’s life is played out in parts with areas that can be interacted with as time goes on such as his family’s farm, a part of downtown, an outskirt of the town by the docks and while these areas will have you spend hours in them, they never feel restrictive and only help to reinforce the story being told.

To do all of this though, you’ll simply be moving Whit around and then either talking to those that are available, inspecting points of interest for more background story, or just enjoying the eye pleasing surroundings that you find yourself in. Talking to people is easy enough and the dialog can either be passed through with the click of a button, or, you can set it to automatic and then adjust the auto-play speed as needed in order to suit your needs. It’s rather relaxing but it’s also well thought out and engaging as these aren’t just characters on the screen that you’ll walk by once or twice and then leave it at that. These are people that will change just as much as you over time and it’s how you deal with them that makes you want to continue as you’ll continuously want to know what comes next and was what you did worth it.

There’s a lot, and I mean a lot that I could say about Where the Heart Leads, however to get into any of those details would spoil various parts of the story or even potentially influence a certain path through and that’s far from what anyone would want. So on that note, I would honestly recommend NOT looking at the trophy list, at all, as I found that because I saw something written out, I was like “oh, oh no” and went another way which in the end, was maybe not where I actually would have gone having not know about the trophy and what it could have possibly meant.

The above said though, just because you didn’t go down a path one time doesn’t mean that you shouldn't go down it the next time as there are some decent variants to be explored depending on your actions. Overall though, in about a dozen-ish hours I went through one possibility of a lifetime with Whit. Just one. I kept secrets that could harm his family, I helped out those that seemed like a lost cause and I lost relationships with some people that you would have thought would be there forever. It’s engaging and for the most part, I did it my way. I just hope that my next trip down is just as pleasant as I did leave a lot of the tough love and harsher choices out of my first run through. 


Having only gone through one of the possibilities that Where the Heart Leads has to offer I was sold. Over the course of that dozen hours alone, the interactiveness that Whit has with the environment mixed in with the well written characters and the emotions that they bring as you live through this slice of life is both engaging and moving as I found myself happy, heartbroken, and even angry at times with some of the members of Whit’s family and community. Unlike real life though, you can go back and see how differently things could play out and I plan to travel both the higher and lower moral grounds still left untraveled.

Score: 9 / 10