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Topic: Great voice acting in video games

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Philip_J_Reed

1. Posted:

We always hear (rightfully so) about the really, really, really bad voice acting that affects some video games, but there are a few exceptions out there.

And I don't mean competent voice acting...I mean voice acting that is uncommonly powerful, or otherwise remarkable. Acting that isn't just "good for a video game," but worthy of merit and distinction on its own.

I'm curious what forum-goers here consider great voice acting in video games. (Remember, not "good" or "decent," but legitimately great.) And, hey, if you really don't believe there is any, then feel free to say that, too.

Three examples from me:

  • Robert Culp as Dr. Breen in Half-Life 2: without any question my go-to example of great voice acting in a video game. Breen is a fascinating character, and would remain so even if you never heard him speak, but good gravy does Culp bring him to life in a remarkable way. He really does manage to sell the tricky balance between Breen's public face, and his internal trepidation over what he's gotten humanity into. His increasingly panicky messages to you in the Citadel are great, too...he may never attempt anything other than intimidation, but Culp did a great job bringing so many different types of intimidation to life...especially the really frantic ones.
  • Rene Auberjonois as Mr. House in Fallout: New Vegas: The Fallout games aren't really known for their great acting, but the unnerving, bizarre charm of Mr. House really would steal the show in almost any game. Auberjonois essentially gives a voice to a static image--he can't rely on a physical character to sell his performance. Perhaps that's why it's so effective, I don't know. But it says a lot that this smarmy green face can seduce you away from what you think is right and set you on an entirely separate path through the game, serving his interests above everybody else, and your own. What's more: he makes you like it. That's some masterful oppression right there.
  • Neil Ross as the Narrator in Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist: I first played Freddy Pharkas in its earlier, non-CD-enhanced version, meaning the characters had no voices. I also played it at least 10 times through before I ever did get a copy of the talkie version, and, since I enjoyed it so much, I spent all the time I could discovering every single humorous message in the game. It was a lot of clicking, but it was a lot of fun, and, to this day, I still haven't found a funnier game. (Or anything that even compares, really.) So the voice actors really were fighting a losing battle with me when at last I heard them. Some of them fit my expectations, some of them didn't, but none of them were more enjoyable than just reading the text at my own pace, in my own way. Except for Neil Ross, who, as the narrator, should have had the most difficult job of them all. Yet, somehow, he gave those silly messages a comic emphasis that a lesser actor would have tried to oversell. It was the kind of performance that served the comedy well...and, what's more, it was pretty easy to feel like he found the jokes just as funny as you did. You never heard the narrator laugh, but it'd be darned difficult to hear him without imagining a big smile.

Ahem. So...what are yours?

Edited on by Philip_J_Reed

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Singularity

2. Posted:

Martin Sheen as The Illusive Man in Mass Effect 2: Quite simply put, some of the best voice acting I've ever heard in a video-game. He conveys the Illusive Man's enigmatic personae perfectly, his tones neither sounding ominous nor welcoming.

Troy Baker as Snow in Final Fantasy XIII: Alright, so the character wasn't the best. Some of the lines were a little cheesy ("We're heroes!" But Troy Baker gives a brilliant performance, putting all his heart and energy into the character and turning what would be a fairly droll, insufferable character into one of my favourites of all time. If that's not good voice acting then I don't know what is.

Steve Downes as the Master Chief in Halo: No widely varying tones, or immense range of emotional capacity here. Simply put, just one of the coolest voices of all time... ever.

Sean Bean as Martin Septim in Oblivion: trollface.jpg

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noblo601

3. Posted:

As far as I'm concerned, the Monkey Island games take the cake with voice acting.

Guybrush Threepwood is possibly the most wonderfully voiced character ever. The way he delivers his lines is always fantastic.

Murray the Demonic Skull and Stan (only from Curse of Monkey Island) and also fantastic, and who can forget the Barbershop quartet lol.

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Philip_J_Reed

4. Posted:

noblo601 wrote:

As far as I'm concerned, the Monkey Island games take the cake with voice acting.

Guybrush Threepwood is possibly the most wonderfully voiced character ever. The way he delivers his lines is always fantastic.

Murray the Demonic Skull and Stan (only from Curse of Monkey Island) and also fantastic, and who can forget the Barbershop quartet lol.

Yeah, Guybrush and Murray are both handled really well. Monkey Island is another example of being so familiar with the characters before hearing them speak that the actors really were fighting an uphill battle. With Monkey Island, though, they did a truly excellent job.

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JonWahlgren

5. Posted:

I really love Robin Atkin Downes' voice work for Travis Touchdown. Pretty much nails every nerdy, cool, angry, hilarious part about Travis and helps make what I find to be one of the strongest character personalities of this gen.

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Slapshot

6. Posted:

Malcolm McDowell voicing Jorhan Stahl in Killzone 3. Amazing performance bringing this character to life, and really is a huge boost that the series needed in the way of storytelling.

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TKOWL

7. Posted:

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. The voices and sounds of all the characters are perfect.

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Kid_A

8. Posted:

Nolan North is unbelievably great as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series. In fact, just about every actor in that series is fantastic. They bring a sort of humanity and relatability to their characters that's almost entirely uncommon in gaming or otherwise. The acting in the Uncharted series is as least as good as anything you'll find in Hollywood these days, if not better.

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Kingbuilder

9. Posted:

All of Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes. Such good voice-acting from that game.

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Bankai

10. Posted:

There's a voice actor who sticks to video games that I think has a really good voice. He voiced the floating, talking book in Nier, and was also War in Darksiders.

He has this kind of Alan Rickman voice that is clear, well pronounced, and quite dramatic. However, he then went and voiced Tokugawa in Sengoku Busara, which was completely misplaced and sounded weird and proved he was not infalable.

Wikipedia tells me his name is Liam O'Brien, and he has done a tonne of anime and games (his game credits:)

Video game roles

  • .hack//G.U. vol.1//Rebirth - Endrance
  • .hack//G.U. vol.2//Reminisce - Endrance
  • .hack//G.U. vol.3//Redemption - Endrance
  • Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation - Garuda Team Take-Off Announcer (uncredited)
  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War - Bernard Schmidt (voice segments only), Detlef Fleisher (voice segments only) (uncredited)
  • Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia - Ayatane Michitaka (uncredited)
  • Armored Core: for Answer - Wong Shao-Lung (uncredited)
  • Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny - Chaos (uncredited)
  • Atelier Rorona - Sterkenburg (uncredited)
  • Baten Kaitos Origins - Lord Krumly
  • Bayonetta - Father Balder (uncredited)
  • Bleach: The Blade of Fate - Jūshirō Ukitake
  • Bleach: Dark Souls - Jūshirō Ukitake
  • Bleach: Shattered Blade - Jūshirō Ukitake
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops - Additional Voices
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - Additional voices (uncredited)
  • Castlevania: Curse of Darkness - Isaac (uncredited)
  • Castlevania: Lament of Innocence - Joachim Armster (uncredited)
  • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia - Blackmore (uncredited)
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin - Jonathan Morris (uncredited)
  • Cross Edge - Ayatane, Judas (uncredited)
  • Culdcept Saga - Drachma (as Liam O' Brien)
  • Darksiders - War
  • Devil May Cry 4 - Sanctus (voice and motion capture)
  • Dirge of Cerberus Final Fantasy VII - Incidental Characters
  • Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice - Master Big star (uncredited)
  • Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy - Kain Highwind
  • Dragon Age: Origins - Niall
  • Dynasty Warriors 6 - Additional voices (uncredited)
  • Enchanted Arms - Mysterious Man/Makoto (uncredited)
  • Eternal Sonata - Count Waltz
  • Eureka Seven vol.1: The New Wave - Steven Bisson (uncredited)
  • Eureka Seven vol.2: The New Vision - Steven Bisson (uncredited)
  • Fallout: New Vegas - Pacer, Cachino, Jessup, Additional Voices
  • Front Mission 4 - Wagner (uncredited)
  • Final Fantasy IV - Kain Highwind (uncredited)
  • Final Fantasy XIII - Additional Voices
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates - Cu Chaspel (uncredited)
  • Ghost Rider - Johnny Blaze
  • God of War: Ghost of Sparta - Additional Voices
  • Guilty Gear 2: Overture - Ky Kiske (uncredited)
  • Guitar Hero: World Tour - Riki Lee
  • Hexyz Force - Faust Schneizel, Virtus
  • Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight - Wrath, Trash Mob B
  • Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days - Various
  • Killzone 3 - Additional ISA Voices
  • Lost Planet 2 - Waysider/Various
  • MadWorld - Zombie/Soldier 7/Scissors Man
  • Mafia II - Brian O'Neill
  • Magna Carta II - Huaren Jass
  • Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis - Vayne Aurelius (uncredited)
  • Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy - Goto
  • Marvel Super Hero Squad - Nightcrawler
  • Mimana Iyar Chronicle - Heidar (uncredited)
  • Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2 - Gaara
  • Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution - Gaara
  • Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 - Gaara
  • Naruto Shippūden: Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 - Gaara
  • Naruto: Rise of a Ninja - Gaara
  • Naruto: The Broken Bond - Gaara
  • Naruto: Ninja Council 3 - Gaara
  • Naruto Shippūden: Ninja Council 4 - Gaara
  • Naruto: Path of a Ninja 2 - Gaara
  • Naruto: Ultimate Ninja - Gaara, Kotetsu Hagane
  • Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2 - Gaara, Kotetsu Hagane
  • Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 - Gaara, Kotetsu Hagane
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja 4 - Gaara
  • Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm - Gaara
  • Naruto: Ninja Destiny - Gaara
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ninja Destiny 2 - Gaara
  • NIER - Grimoire Weiss (uncredited)
  • Ninja Blade - Doctor, various zombies (as Liam O' Brien)
  • Odin Sphere - Ingway (uncredited)
  • Operation Darkness - Herbert East, Jude Lancelot, German soldiers (uncredited)
  • Persona 3 - Akihiko Sanada
  • Persona 3 Portable - Akihiko Sanada
  • Professor Layton and the Unwound Future - Dr. Stahngun, presentor, Subject 3
  • Project Sylpheed - Operator of Caliban (uncredited)
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla - Dan Mason
  • Resident Evil 5 - Reynard Fisher
  • Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles - Additional voices (as Liam O'brien)
  • Romancing SaGa - Raphael, Ewei, Bafal Fighter, The Minstrel, Additional voices (uncredited)
  • Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love - Tsugarubi (uncredited)
  • Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked - Mugen
  • Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes - Ieyasu Tokugawa
  • Seven Samurai 20XX - Natoe (uncredited)
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 - Akihiko Sanada (uncredited)
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES - Akihiko Sanada (uncredited)
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories - Additional Voices (uncredited)
  • Singularity - Additional Voices
  • Soulcalibur IV - Custom Voice #3 (uncredited)
  • Soul Nomad & the World Eaters - Levin, Raksha (uncredited)
  • Spider-Man: Web of Shadows - Electro, Shocker
  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty - Additional Voices
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time - Dion Landers (uncredited)
  • Suikoden II - Luca Blight (uncredited)
  • Suikoden IV - Keneth (uncredited)
  • Supreme Commander 2 - Jarren
  • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World - Orochi, Various Vanguard soldiers (uncredited)
  • Tales of the Abyss - Dist (uncredited)
  • Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology - Stahn Aileron (uncredited)
  • Tales of Vesperia - Cumore (uncredited)
  • Tekken 6 - Miguel Caballero Rojo (uncredited)
  • Tenchu: Shadow Assassins - Rikimaru (uncredited)
  • The Last Remnant - Allan
  • The Saboteur - Additional Voices
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron - Air Raid
  • Undead Knights - Lord Follis
  • Valkyria Chronicles - Karl Landzaat, Knute Jung, Noce Woodsworth, Additional voices
  • Valkyria Chronicles II - Baldren Gassenarl, Nahum Dryer
  • Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria - Lezard Valeth (uncredited)
  • Wild Arms 5 - Chuck Preston, additional voices (uncredited)
  • World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade - Illidan Stormrage
  • Yggdra Union - Durant
  • Zatch Bell! Mamodo Fury - Kafk Sunbeam
  • [[Rift Planes of telara] - Eldrek Sazz <Runecrafter>

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Kid_A

11. Posted:

Kingbuilder wrote:

All of Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes. Such good voice-acting from that game.

Nice, I've been meaning to play that one. I just finished my entire play through of the Metal Gear Solid series yesterday by beating MGS4. I must say I was impressed at most of the voice work in the game. David Hayder really perfected Snake in that one, giving him a more vulnerable quality that, I think, made it much more effective.

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irken004

12. Posted:

All the voicework in Team Fortress 2 is hilariously good.

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Wesker

13. Posted:

I totally agree with Liam O'Brian, Darksiders has outstanding voice acting, but Nolan North is the champ imo, in fact the first Uncharted would have been a little boring without his timely and well-executed quips. The guy who plays Solid Snake is amazing. And finally he who plays Golom from LOTR is pretty good in Enslaved, nothing too special though, Anthony Seikis or something like that I think. He was also in Broken Sword.

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zezhyrule

14. Posted:

Kid_A wrote:

Nolan North is unbelievably great as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series. In fact, just about every actor in that series is fantastic. They bring a sort of humanity and relatability to their characters that's almost entirely uncommon in gaming or otherwise. The acting in the Uncharted series is as least as good as anything you'll find in Hollywood these days, if not better.

Agree, was gonna say that, It's cool how they recorded the lines while doing the motion capture :O

He also voiced 'additional voices' in FFXIII (though it seems a lot of people do who I like) and Sigmund in R&C: CiT.

speacking of R&C (and additional voices in FFXIII for that matter), the guy who voices Quark. He's amazing at that D:

and if Wikipedia can be trusted, he's had lots of good parts

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Hawker

15. Posted:

Simon Templeman. If you don't know him, here's a list of games he's done work for.

Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain - Kain
Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain - Kain
Crusaders of Might and Magic – Black Guard
Dragon Age: Origins - Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir, "sassed" Circle Mage, Entrance guard of Haven, Bann Ceorlic, Caladrius.
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening - Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir
Fable II – Victor the Ghost
God of War III - Peirithous
Final Fantasy XII – Judge Zargabaath
Jade Empire – Kai Lan the Serpent
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light - Kain
Legacy of Kain: Defiance - Kain
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver - Kain, Dumah
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 - Kain, Dumah
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth – Narrator, Gondorian Soldier
Mass Effect 2 - Admiral Han'Gerrel vas Neema; Dr. Galvin Archer
Rise of the Argonauts - Pelias
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – Various Sith soldiers
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune – Gabriel Roman
Neopets: The Darkest Faerie - Gelert Assassin
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together - Narrator

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Popyman

16. Posted:

The entire cast of Nier and Enslaved had me captivated. I could listen to the characters of both games just talk for hours.

David Hayter as Snake in Metal Gear Solid is also brilliant. He like embodies the spirit of the series, you can tell he loves Snake and his story.

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The_Fox

17. Posted:

Alyx from Half Life 2 comes to mind. Well written, very well acted and one of the most memorable side kicks in recent memory.

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CanisWolfred

18. Posted:

No love for Metal Gear Solid? It's, like, the only PSOne game that didn't have terrible voice acting as far as I know.

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Philip_J_Reed

19. Posted:

The Fox wrote:

Alyx from Half Life 2 comes to mind. Well written, very well acted and one of the most memorable side kicks in recent memory.

Yeah, the Half-Life 2 acting is pretty phenomenal top to bottom. Most surprising to me is that the same guys who voiced the cloned background characters in HL 1 (the characters who later became Kleiner and Barney) show up again, and really do some unexpectedly fantastic work. I never would have guessed they had it in them.

Also, I almost added him to my original post, but I didn't want two Half-Life 2 characters there, lest anyone think I'm playing favorites...but to heck with it: the guy who plays Father Grigori is a-friggin-mazing.

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Ravage

20. Posted:

John Marsten from Red Dead Redemption has an excellent voice.

Oh my! Father Griggori was amazing! I loved him, but at the same time was so creeped out by him; I couldn`t figure out if being alone in that God forsaken place was better.

Edited on by Ravage

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