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#327082 - 05/14/08 11:32 AM Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them?
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Whether the voiceovers in a game are good, bad or in the middle is one of the areas where I see many contradictory opinions. I think this is partly because the gamer hears just the voice, and doesn't see a full acting performance (Full Motion Video is rare in games these days).

What makes a voiceover performance really bad? I think we can all agree that no expression in the voice makes a performance bad. And a voice that is terribly grating or loud or full of odd pauses or disruptive emphasis is bad. An overdone/inauthentic accent (that isn't supposed to be funny) can be annoying. Okay, even when it is supposed to be funny, it can be annoying.

On the other hand, a performance where you are so drawn into the story and the life of the character that you completely forget that there's an actor voicing the lines would be a good performance.

How do you judge everything that's in between?

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#327117 - 05/14/08 12:25 PM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: Becky]
Rushes Offline
The Three Pipe Moderator
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 07/10/05
Posts: 23755
Loc: UK
I don't judge everything that's in between. grin Anything that's inbetween is perfectly ok with me: it's not annoying, it isn't bland, it may not be fantastic but it's adequate. For an adventure game, that's perfectly good enough.

What drives me around the bend and back again is voice acting with no inflection whatsoever, or a nasal/whiney intonation. Having said that, I can tolerate quite well poor voice acting where the speaker's first language is not English. For example, AnaCapri: The Dream. The voice acting was poor for the most part, and yet I still found it charming, and it and the story as a whole, kept me gripped. Oh, contrary me! lol
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#327134 - 05/14/08 01:00 PM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: Becky]
Shany Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 02/27/07
Posts: 472
There are many cases where I don't like the voice acting:
- Bad accents. I usually don't care if they're fake, unless it's really bad. Even in comedy games - if it's a funny fake accent it's ok, though.
- Old people and small children voices - very similar to accents, only even worse since everyone knows how they should sound like. I've heard so many kids voiced by women who make the whiniest most high pitched sound it's impossible to listen to without getting a headache.
For old people, people usually use a gruff, slow voice, and that also gets on my nerves.
- Monotone - Luckily I don't hear much of that, but it sure is annoying when it happens.
- Cartoon voices - Does anyone remember one of the dumb brothers from Still Life? The one who sounded like a goon from Looney Toons or something? In the middle of a gritty game about serial killers? That really hurt the atmosphere.
- Bad voice directing - this is usually not the actors' fault. If they need to put the emphasis on a certain word and they don't, or need to sound scared, but they sound very sure of themselves - it's sometimes because of bad or no directing. It hurts immersion, especially if you're playing with subtitles and you KNOW how the line should go.
- There rare occasions where a voice just does not fit a character at all. Happened with Jack Keane - Amanda should not sound like that. She sounds like she's 13.
- When they change a character's voice for no reason in a sequel. Sushi in Runaway 2, and the ferryman in Ankh 2. I can understand when they change the voice if it was bad, or if the actor couldn't come back to do it, but other than that there's no reasone to do it.
- Annoying voice - hard to describe, but you'll know it when you hear it.

For the in-between stuff, I think it just feels OK. Adequate. There's the wrong intonation here and there, and the voice doesn't exactly fit the character. There could be an out of place accent, etc.

As for what I like? When it all fits. Easy to say, but hard to achieve.

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#327180 - 05/14/08 01:54 PM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: Shany]
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35363
Loc: southeast USA
Originally Posted By: Shany
I've heard so many kids voiced by women who make the whiniest most high pitched sound it's impossible to listen to without getting a headache.

It's even worse when they're voiced by men using a falsetto voice.
Is it really so hard to get a real kid to speak a few lines?

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#327183 - 05/14/08 01:55 PM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: Shany]
Taurnil Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 03/15/08
Posts: 158
Loc: Piraeus/Greece
I agree with you Shany.

wave
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#327203 - 05/14/08 02:19 PM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: Becky]
mission Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 03/28/08
Posts: 276
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Perhaps the worst voiceovers is Crime Stories: From the Files of Martin Mystere where there are long pauses, lots of "arrr", "ummm" etc. I didn't experience or play this game, I wanted to buy the game but the feedback given and reviews said the voiceovers is as such.

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#327207 - 05/14/08 02:26 PM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: mission]
BrownEyedTigre Online   happy
The Sassy Global Moderator PR Liaison
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 01/04/04
Posts: 64921
Loc: In the Naughty Corner
Martin Mystere was far from the worst voices. In fact so far, that I don't even remember it being an issue. It's a shame to miss out on a game because someone said they didn't care for a voice.

Ana wave
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#327222 - 05/14/08 02:47 PM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: BrownEyedTigre]
chrissie Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 4403
Loc: london uk
I'm not a big fusspot when it comes to voice acting - I really can't think of one game where less than perfect (& in one game I played consistently downright awful!) detracted from the flow of the story for me & I didn't enjoy despite. For me, if the story is no good, 'Oscar winning' voice acting is not going to make it any better! But when it is well done I do appreciate it & does enhance the overall aesthetic feel of a game. smile

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#327238 - 05/14/08 03:19 PM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: Shany]
gremlin Offline

Addicted Boomer

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1618
Loc: Isle of Man
Originally Posted By: Becky

Whether the voiceovers in a game are good, bad or in the middle is one of the areas where I see many contradictory opinions.


Now here is a case in point:

Originally Posted By: Shany

- There rare occasions where a voice just does not fit a character at all. Happened with Jack Keane - Amanda should not sound like that. She sounds like she's 13.


Ray Ivey, in the JustAdventure review, also agrees with Shany. However, I had no problem at all with Amanda's voice.

IM(NS?)HO voice acting is one of the most subjective areas of gaming. Just as I like Amanda, and Mephisto from Faust (Seven Games of the Soul), I'm sure there are people out there who find Mephisto's velvet tones a complete turnoff.

I have a personal weakness for soft female Southern Irish accents, but can't abide the archetypical Southern drawl from the USA. wink

But the worst thing in voice acting is emotionless reading of lines from a page. Ugh! It's even worse than a bad accent. (Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins anyone?)

Gremlin

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#327265 - 05/14/08 03:44 PM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: gremlin]
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35363
Loc: southeast USA
Originally Posted By: gremlin
and Mephisto from Faust (Seven Games of the Soul), I'm sure there are people out there who find Mephisto's velvet tones a complete turnoff.

Actually I've never heard of anyone who disliked Mephisto's voice in Faust. He was rather exceptional.

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#327363 - 05/14/08 06:48 PM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: Jenny100]
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Anybody out there who didn't like Mephisto's voice? Speak now, or forever hold your peace. laugh

(I loved the voice, though the character gave me feel wildly ambivalent emotions.)

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#327399 - 05/14/08 07:28 PM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: BrownEyedTigre]
mission Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 03/28/08
Posts: 276
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Ana, It is not just one person or a comment posted by someone but almost all reviews that I read complain about Crime Stories.

This is what inferno (GameBoomers) wrote about Crime Stories .

Quote:

But the largest issue for me - the most grating and irritating portion of this adventure - was the dialog in both the written and spoken forms.


Staci Krause (IGN) wrote this about Crime Stories in her review:

Quote:

Sound is even more frustrating than the gameplay and graphics issues. At the end of every subtitle line, the dialog pauses, even if it wouldn't naturally pause.


In his review, this is what Alex Navarro (GameSpot) has to say about Crime Stories:

Quote:

The dialogue in particular is atrocious. In part it seems an abhorrent English translation is to blame..., but also the editing is simply terrible. ....


If you think this game is worth playing, I may pick it up next time I see it. It's selling for $9.99 so it's not so bad if it turns out bad.


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#327485 - 05/14/08 09:58 PM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: mission]
Mad Offline
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 23409
Loc: United Kingdom
Hi smile

Like lots of us here, I've played many, many games and have therefore experienced plenty of the Good, the Bad and the Downright Awful [lol]

My hopes with voiceovers are more for being able to hear the voices over the music (if the music doesn't have its own volume control) .... and .... that when I can hear them, the diction is good enough for me to tell the words that are actually being said yes

Cheers.

Mad wave
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#327541 - 05/15/08 01:35 AM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: Mad]
nickie Offline
Grand wizard of high mucky muck
Adept Boomer

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 13453
Loc: Texas
I think the only voice that bothers me are the talking parrots. Well, that and the secretary in Carte Blanche.
It always surprises me when some reviewers give voice acting a lot of weight. But maybe they're right to, because a lot of players do too. It surprises me when that is what ruins a game for some people.


Edited by nickie (05/15/08 04:59 AM)
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#327607 - 05/15/08 06:43 AM Re: Voiceovers -- How do you Judge Them? [Re: nickie]
gremlin Offline

Addicted Boomer

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1618
Loc: Isle of Man
I find that it seriously affects the believability of the characters, and so, my immersion into their stories.

Gremlin

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