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Author Topic: Can* English Voice Acting ruins Characters in RPGs?  (Read 16842 times)
Dincrest
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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2007, 08:51:59 AM »

Bad voice acting can occur in any language.  English, Japanese, Swahili, whatever.  I've played some video games where the Japanese voice acting was horrendous, meaning they made the kinds of missteps that we dislike in bad English voice acting; such as sounding completely out to lunch, putting emphases on the wrong words and syllables so that it didn't sound like natural dialogue, and voices whose tone sounded more grating than nails on a chalkboard.  Ai Yori Aoshi managed to have all that and more.  

Yes people, Japanese voice acting can be horrific too.  

Of course, all cartoon/anime voice acting is its own realm.  It's slightly melodramatic and theatric for a reason.  Just like American people don't naturally talk like The Flintstones, Japanese people don't naturally talk like anime people.

If any of you have read any of my reviews, a big criteria I have for "good" voice acting is whether or not the actors sounded like they were having fun with their roles.  If they're having fun with their roles, it comes through and they then sound more convincing.  That's one reason I thoroughly enjoyed Thousand Arms' dub; everyone seemed to have shitloads of fun with their roles.  I was even able to forgive the annoying voices of Marion and Ratchet, because the sense of "I'm having more fun than a barrel of 5-assed monkeys with this role" I heard in their voices just made it for me.
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SabreWulf11887
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2007, 09:00:45 AM »

Bad voice acting does break a game for me at all I just tune it out. I really don't mind voice acting in games, but I would rather read text. Most of the time whenever I play rpgs with voice acting. I always end up reading a line of text before the voice even finishes it. There is one thing I like better about Japanese voice actors, and that is the fact that they put way more emotion into their voices.
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Analogous
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« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2007, 10:51:15 AM »

Is it just me, or does Konami have voice acting down to a tee? I'm sure there are exceptions but it seems to me that every game made by Konami, that has voice acting involved, has always been nothing short of incredible.
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« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2007, 11:15:10 AM »

Quote from: "Hidoshi"
On the Fran issue: It may just be that you have expectations you need to put aside to get a more objective opinion of her voice. I found it rather attractive in its own way. Was it sultry? No. But for me it added a bit of an exotic touch, which is what Fran's all about. It's as though she's speaking English well enough, but like some first generationeers, there's still a hint of accent. I found that pretty cool.


I probably did have expectations from watching the old as hell FF12 trailer before the game even came out, and when I actually saw Fran I thought "Whoa, she's hot". Her voice was great, she was kicking somebody over, who knows. But she looked and sounded awesome. Seeing how much a character can be changed just by localization, just the character's personality, was like Square Enix splashing a glass of ice cold water in my face.

An example of keeping the characters true to their original counterparts is the anime Full Metal Alchemist. I've watched it in both Japanese and English, and it's like they tried to improve upon the original characters while keeping their emotions and personality in-tact completely. It's like the VAs heard the Japanese versions ahead of time, and tried to match the characters with their own voices for the dub.

My friend promised me that I'd learn to love Fran's voice, but I could not accept that. It's like hearing a big, burly muscular man in a lumberjack outfit with a big axe over his shoulder approach you in the woods, then sounding like 10 year old girl when he speaks. That's exaggerating, but you catch my drift.
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Ashton
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« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2007, 11:31:09 AM »

Or you could realize the fact that Japanese voices don't always work in English. In fact, much of the time if you try to emulate the Japanese voice in English, you'll fail miserably. A company once tried having the Japanese voice actors do the voice overs in English for the localization of their games. That'd turn out just awesome wouldn't it? I mean they're the original voices! How can they NOT be good?

Megaman X4 and Megaman 8 apparently disagree, though.
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Ryos
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« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2007, 11:39:40 AM »

Quote from: "Analogous"
Is it just me, or does Konami have voice acting down to a tee? I'm sure there are exceptions but it seems to me that every game made by Konami, that has voice acting involved, has always been nothing short of incredible.


Have you played Suikoden Tactics or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night?  Those would disagree with you.  Which is amusing because I thought Suikoden IV's cast was solid (not good per se but it sufficed).  Not sure what went wrong between the two games.  Were it not for the fact SotN is like an absolutely amazing game the voice acting there might have made me dislike some otherwise fantastic characters (not in terms of characterization, but eh, Castlevania's never exactly been a series for story).

BTW, Dincrest is also correct, as my very painful experience with the Sakura Taisen movie (well, one of them anyway, don't really keep up with anime at the moment) can attest to.  Nothing terribly specific follows but I'm coding it anyway.  
Code:
Remember kids, if you're Japanese and you don't have a good command of English, you shouldn't be trying to speak English.  If I have to read the subtitles to understand what you said in my native language, you fail. :p
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Ashton
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« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2007, 11:50:14 AM »

I thought Suikoden Tactics wasn't too bad, except for the fact that Kyril apparently got castrated before he hit puberty.

And SotN was released in the age of crappy voice overs, so it's legendary at this point.
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Logick
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« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2007, 01:25:09 PM »

I prefer Japanese voice acting for japanese games, but yeah if its done right like Konami has done with MSG, Silent Hill, and Suikoden V, I'm not complaining.  

A thing of note though back in the days of yore I was at a friend house watching him play FFX in japanese when his japanese neighbor dropped by.  She began watching and was laughing.  According to her, their voices were so over the top dramatic it was funny.  Makes me wonder if a lot of other games are same also.
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« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2007, 02:58:11 PM »

I think some people are missing the point of Fran. She looks like a sultry "bunny girl", but that's not her personality at all. I almost wish that they had made her, visually, very different, because a lot of people seem to be confused about this. They expected an exotic, sexy voice, when in actuality, her character is almost completely asexual and has some definitive weight. She's quiet, proud, a bit sarcastic, and only likes to speak when she's got something important to say. I thought her voice fit PERFECTLY, sure it isn't "cool", but that's not the point of her character either.

On the subject of bad voice acting... I detest bad voice acting, it's ruined more than just a few games. Batten Keitos remains the only game I've ever demanded money back for, largely due to incredibly obnoxious voice acting (which you could turn off except for the battles, which were the worst part)... it didn't help that they tried to make them sound like they were recorded inside a tin can, or that the dialog was laughably bad.

I work as a TV producer, and do quite a bit of my own voice-over / voice-acting work, and I swear I could have done a better job then some of these hacks. When you have an entire city (LA) ready to jump at the chance of doing voice-over work for peanuts, there's just no excuse.

If a game's voice-acting is done well, it works really well, but if the designers not going to go all the way, forget it. Some examples of great voice acting include the Tales series, Dragon Quest VIII (damn brits have all the fun!), FF12, and Grandia II. I'm also am quite charmed by a lot of psuedo voice-acting like in Zelda, Okami, and Golden Sun, where the style requires a bit of abstraction. I'd go as far as to say that I think these series would be weaker with voice-acting.

As for japanese vs. english... unfortunately, I'm starting to realize that Japanese is often prefered (especially in anime) because its harder to notice bad writing. Don't get me wrong, I love good Japanese voice acting, but I think one of the other reasons that so many anime fans prefer Japanese is because it masks bad dialog. That said, until recently, the US hasn't had a good assortment of great voice actors, so there are other reasons for prefering Japanese with subs, but that's changing quickly. The US is quickly emmassing a number of great voice actors such as Cam Clark, Scott Menville, David Hayter, Kari Wahlgren, etc.

By the way... why doesn't the new TMNT movie use Cam Clark? That just pisses me off, he WAS Leonardo back in the day.
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« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2007, 03:55:13 PM »

Quote from: "Prime Mover"
The US is quickly emmassing a number of great voice actors such as Cam Clark, Scott Menville, David Hayter, Kari Wahlgren, etc.


David Hayter, really? I'm not really very knowledgeable about US voice actors, but does he actually do any VA work other than Metal Gear?
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« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2007, 04:05:31 PM »

Quote from: "Cauton"
David Hayter, really? I'm not really very knowledgeable about US voice actors, but does he actually do any VA work other than Metal Gear?


Heh... you got me there, naw, he doesn't do much else (Eternal Darkness, a few TV shows, blah blah blah), so I guess I shouldn't have put him down. But you have to admit, he does a killer job as Snake, very distinctive. I would like to say I'd like to see him in other parts, but he's so attatched to Snake, it would be hard to shake that. Sort of how it was hard to shake the "Leonardo" off of Cam Clark.

BTW, I just looked him up on IMDB, and he IS officially listed as doing the voice of Snake for Brawl... I'm not surprised, but I was worried that they'd just go with grunts and things from the Japanese voice actor. That makes my day.
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Losfer
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« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2007, 04:33:31 PM »

Quote from: "Ryos"
I might have liked Grandia more if it wasn't acted by what I called janitors.


ROFL

That was...  The most incredibly ACCURATE DESCRIPTION of the voices in that game I have ever read.  Grandia has one of the worst voice over casts I have ever heard.  Justin always sounds like he's muttering under his breath and Sue...  God.

I remember first hearing voice acting in a game...  It was Christmas in 199...  Something or other.  I had got a Sega CD and Shining Force CD and OMFG the game had REAL TALKING in it!  And it wasn't overdone, just some dialogue at the start.  Voice acting was at it;s Golden Age with the Sega CD if you ask me.  Cause now EVERY game has voice overs.

It's like games are trying too hard to be movies.  I would have enjoyed Devil May Cry more (and finished it) if I didn't have to listen to Dante's and Trish's terrible fucking dialog.

I have just recently played through all of Ys Ark of Napishtim and it was AWESOME.  And man, I REALLY enjoyed turning off the voices in the game!  :P

I don't mind Japanese voice overs, but in a game it can get REALLY old.  Not for a cutscene, but for just two static unmoving portraits of characters and bouncing polygonal models sitting there facing each other while they speak.  Then you need to hit X to CONTINUE THE DIALOG.

Hero: Alas!  It is the Evil Overlord here for revenge!

X

Badguy: Roar, I will steal your soul!  :O

X

Hero: In the name of holy light, I will continue my quest to defeat you and

X

rescue the princess!

And you have everything fucking READ BEFORE YOU HEAR IT AT THIS PACE.

I am so turning off more voice overs in the future.  :P
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« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2007, 04:54:09 PM »

Quote from: "Losfer"
Voice acting was at it;s Golden Age with the Sega CD if you ask me.  Cause now EVERY game has voice overs.

Are you a fucking idiot?

Ok, not Sega CD, but same time period and oh good fucking god. Hell, I bet there's something just as bad for the Sega CD if I looked hard enough.

I have to agree on the Japanese bit though. Reading it all + talking in a language I don't even understand = this is boring I'm skipping ahead.
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« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2007, 04:59:46 PM »

I wanted to be the one to fill your dark soul with...LIIIIIIGHT!!!

Seriously though, wasn't Devil May Cry 1 basically dubbed in English BY the original Japanese staff, much the same way that certain Biohazard/Resident Evils were?  I mean the "actors" are obviously native English speakers, and I don't know if there was an alternate Japanese language dub track, but I'm fairly sure that the English dub was present on the original Japanese version of the game.  Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.


Also, I'm something of a fanboy for American VAs, so I have to admit: I like hearing some of my favorite actors in the games I play, with no offense meant against the original voices.  When the voices turn bad (Grandia was a great example: the voice that really stood out for me (mainly as an example of sheer indifference and lack of even TRYING to act) has got to be Mullen), it  doesn't bother me so much as other people I think.
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Dice
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« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2007, 05:01:45 PM »

Is it just me, or do the Japanese take that kind of thing more seriously?
Single albums, sing-a-long lyrics at the bottom, voice actor/actress interviews, pop songs made by actual musicians the greater half of the time.

Hell, Bilyl West has voiced god knows how many characters over the years, but I think that voicing in Japan is like a somewhat celebrity status over there.
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