VGC Day 26: Speak Up!

Welcome back to our 30 day video game challenge! If you’d like to catch up with the other days, click here.


I can’t believe we’re up to Day 26 already!
“Can’t believe”? It’s literally been half a year… Yes, but shh….

My inner voice aside, today the Video Game Challenge wants to know:

Day 26: Best voice acting.

So full disclosure: these challenges have not been posed as questions. I can usually figure out what the “question” is, but here I’m stumped. Do they mean a single voice actor that is particularly talented, or a game that overall has particularly memorable voice acting?

Well… why not both? PixelDump Gaming wrote a fantastic article a while ago about some of the best voice acting in games, and so I encourage you to head on over there and check it out, since his list is much more extensive than mine will be.

What game has the best voice acting?

This is way too broad and I don’t like the question. So…

Name one game from each console that you owned (and that had voiced characters in its games) that had particularly memorable voice acting.

–Playstation/PSOne – This might sound weird, but I really liked the voice acting in Grand Theft Auto III, even though Claude is a silent protagonists. I remember thinking it was cool how the characters sounded like they were in a mobster movie, and I never thought the acting sounded stilted. I’m not sure if that means the game had objectively memorable voice acting, but coming off of things like Crazy Taxi and Spiderman, I was impressed.

–Playstation 2 – I really, really love Solid Snake, and I really, really love Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and both of those things happened on this console (haha). But the game was so wonderfully campy, like a Saturday morning cartoon, yet so serious at the same time, and I thought the array of characters fit the premise of the game. I can easily pull up each character’s voice in my memory, and Solid Snake’s overly-action-hero voice had the right balance of seriousness and cartoonishness so his lines just worked well.

–Playstation 3 – It seems too easy to say the Dragon Age or Mass Effect series. I can’t remember any line seeming incredibly out of place. But I’ll keep my love of BioWare out of this…

rememberme

I actually really liked the voice acting in Remember Me. Nilin had some weird lines sometimes (“This little red riding hood’s got a basket full of kick-ass” being one of them) but she delivered them well. Across the board I thought all the voices fit, and I loved that Edge sounded so human and so forlorn, for reasons that would be a spoiler if I talked about them.

–Wii – I actually had to check my games for this one. I admit I wasn’t a real Wii connoisseur, so unfortunately my library for this console is pretty limited, but by process of elimination, the top spot goes to The Last Story, simply because it has the most voice acting of the games that I have. Some of the delivery was stilted, but that was less to do with the talent of the actors and more to do with how the programmers spaced the lines, resulting in awkward pauses in between sentences as characters conversed.

–Playstation 4 – I haven’t played much Uncharted 4, but what I’ve seen/heard has been very impressive. As of right now, though, I think I’m going to go with Horizon: Zero Dawn. My reason is terrible: I actually expected the voice acting to be really awful, and that the directors would somehow try to have the characters sound “tribal” and just ruin everything. No, I don’t know what “tribal” sounds like, other than my belief that the devs would garble the lines as they tried to find that “sound.”

Horizon Zero Dawn™_20170504203002.jpg

Also, considering how the characters don’t fully open their mouths when they talk, I like how Ashly Burch works that in to her lines, placing a lot of the words in the back of her mouth as if she were really speaking through her teeth (but not in an angry way).

Name one voice actor/actress who you think is a cut above the rest.

Oh, how I um’ed. Um how I oh’d. Do I pick David Hayter for his great, cartoony action-hero voice? Or Nolan North for the sheer volume of games he’s been in? Or Kiefer Sutherland for stepping into Big Boss’s enormous combat boots to take him in a less cartoonish direction? Or do I pick Alix Wilton Regan or Corinne Kempa because I could listen to them read grocery lists all day and still melt into a happy little puddle of fan goo?

No, no. If there is one voice actress I wholeheartedly admire, it’s this woman:

jennifer hale

Jennifer Hale. I’ve loved her voice ever since I first met Naomi Hunter in Metal Gear Solid. And my appreciation for her talent grew when I re-met Naomi in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and she sounded so different. If I hadn’t known it was the same actress, I wouldn’t have guessed it. And then someone told me that she also voiced Emma Emmerich in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty… and I knew I had to find out more. There was no way Naomi and Emma were voiced by the same person. But they were, and then I went through a whole list of voice acting credits, and…

Courtesy of BetaRayILL

She’s really, really talented. Now that I know the characters are voiced by the same person, I can pick out similarities (for some), but otherwise… not so much.

Who would have thought that Naomi Hunter, Commander Shepard, Avatar Kyoshi, and Princess Morbucks were all voiced by the same person?

Again, I highly recommend you check out PixelDump’s article for a longer list. It was hard to pick just one…

No it wasn’t.

I should go.

Courtesy of Sneaky Zebra

What about you? What voice acting in a video game has really blown you away? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
~ Athena


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22 thoughts on “VGC Day 26: Speak Up!

  1. Great article! I’m afraid my video game acumen is pretty poor, so any opinion would be super biased. However, one of my favourite bits of voice acting is the narrator in The Cave (Stephen Stanton). Without spoiling too much, it was a pretty clever use of VO narration.

    I’m glad to hear the voice acting in Horizon: Zero Dawn takes the audience seriously.

    And I can tell you what the best (worst) example of “tribal”-sounding acting would sound like: The Quest for Fire. It’s such a bad movie, bad plot, bad science AND bad acting. I had to watch it for an Antropology class in secondary school and I still cringe at the thought of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s cool! I haven’t played The Cave, but I think in a game that uses voice acting, the types of voices and how the voices are used really can make or break a game.

      Meanwhile, The Quest for Fire seems like a movie that I will skip, in that case…… Ugh. I get that stereotypes exist “for a reason,” but I hate when they’re used as if they are universal truths..

      Like

      1. I love me a snarky narrator and it really suits the game’s dark humour. 🙂

        Also, about the Quest for Fire, I realise now that tribal is not the best word, since the movie attempts to recreate pre-historical landmarks. Still though, it’s a terrible movie.

        By the way, have you played The Secret World? I just re-read what you said about being able to listen to Corinne Kempa read the groceries and, well, she plays two very small parts in that game. I’ve only found videos of the one character. Also, be warned there is “edgy” dialogue other nonsense ahead:

        Revenge Served Hot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY5Xr1unBYk
        The Girls Who Cried Wolf: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdCfvExj5cs

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow. Thanks for sharing the links! It’s so funny to hear her with a thicker French accent – and sounding so *young!*

          I haven’t played The Secret World – I tend to not play many games on PC, so I unfortunately have missed a lot of good titles. But it looks interesting…

          Like

          1. I played it in 2012 and thought the story and world were very interesting, but I am not a big fan of paying monthly to play a game (nor am I super into multiplayer RPGs), so I stopped after a month. I recently read that Funcom is re-releasing it as a free-to-play game, and apparently players may choose if they want to play it individually or multiplayer.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. 2 games that blew.mw away. First may sound silly but Starfox 64 was amazing for me to feature fully voiced characters during gameplay. Loved the team banter and them constantly asking for help. I think it may have been the first game that features this for me so it easily stood out.

    2nd would be probably be mass effect for the sheer amount of dialogue and all the branching given the choices you could make. The voice actors were great as they really made me care for everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I forgot about Starfox!! Yeah I remember playing that and thinking it was so cool that all the characters had their own voices, and that the crew chatted to each other.

      It’s true that the Mass Effect series has a lot of dialogue and the lines were really well-delivered. The characters always sounded like real people, that’s for sure!

      I heard that Mark Meer and Jennifer Hale read all the same lines even if they knew they weren’t going to be used, so there is femShep dialogue for a Tali romance and stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The first game I remember voice acting in was Diddy Kong Racing. The big animal bosses sure liked trash talking before the race, haha. I could tell that pompous blue Walrus thought he was better than me… 🙂 I forgot about how awesome Star Fox 64 was for this! Imtiaz Ahmed reminded me in the above comment.

    My favourite voice actress is Ali Hillis. You’ve definitely heard her! She voices Liara in Mass Effect and Scout Harding in Dragon Age. She also does this pink haired protagonist chick in some Final Fantasy trilogy… What was her name again?

    My favourite voice actor is Roger Craig Smith. He voices Ezio (my third all-time favourite video game character) in the Assassin’s Creed games, and Chris Redfield in Resident Evil 5. He has also played minor roles in Final Fantasy XIII & XIII-2 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely know Ali Hillis! You know what’s funny? I can hear the similarities between Liara and Lightning, but not with Scout Harding, and I’ve literally been sitting here listening to voice clips for about 10 minutes.

      And those VOs are excellent choices, as well, from very solid games!! And Ezio’s accent is certainly easy on the ears…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jennifer Hale is pretty great! I love Grey Delisle as well – her voice is distinct but also varied enough that sometimes you wouldn’t even know it’s her. On the male end of things, Steve Blum is fantastic but feels like a cop-out answer. I think the actor who played Cole MacGrath in the second inFamous was pretty impressive – he had the added challenge of taking over an established role and he did so in such a way that captured the original attitude of the character while also giving him more range and depth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Cole MacGrath point is interesting. Eric Ladin definitely had his work cut out for him, and I really liked how he portrayed Cole in the second game. That sort of reminds me of Kiefer Sutherland taking over for David Hayter, because the new Big Boss has a little more on-screen “depth” than Snakes over-action-y hero persona, but Snake/Big Boss is so iconic that Sutherland couldn’t completely create a new character.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve always found the voice acting in the Ratchet & Clank games to be top notch. When mixed with the vibrant visuals, the voice acting helps to tie it into a Pixar-like experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like Laura Bailey’s voice for Kaine in Nier; Roger Craig Smith because I spent a lot of time playing as Chris Redfield. And yes, I enjoyed Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I knew you’d mention the lovely Ms. Hale and I whole (or “hale”) heartedly agree. ME especially 2 has such wonderful voice acting all around. I had no idea The Last Story was so good, too! I’m usually less than impressed with Squenix’s non-Japanese voices, so this is good to know 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m a huge voice actor fan. I frequent a lot of conventions to meet them as a result. JRPGs and fighting games in particular always have at least a quality that matches anime standards. I’m also a fan of the acting in adventure games like Telltale’s series and Life is Strange. In fact, I’d say that visual novels and point-and-click adventures tend to have the best voice acting since they’re so dependent on telling a good story with understandable characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true. I think games that don’t or can’t rely on graphics or fancy mechanics need to have good voice acting to carry the story.

      Life is Strange… that’s a cool pick. Even though the dialogue itself can be sort of… weird… it’s delivered well by the actors. I never actually thought about that!

      Liked by 1 person

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