When I watch a movie that was based on a book, there is usually a smarmy bastard or two who canít help but incessantly remark at the differences in this adaptation. They always arrive at the conclusion that the book was better, and that anyone who hasnít read the book is inferior and probably touches their tacos inappropriately. For all the analysis these smug nitpickers pride themselves on, they never seem to arrive at the obvious conclusion, which is that the book is almost always better (the only exception I can recall at the moment would be The Shawshank Redemption).
The book is better because the reader utilizes their imagination instead of watching what equates to a summary of someone elseís interpretations. My favorite video games tread a similar path, providing basic imagery, accompanying music, and succinct character outlines/development rather than pure text over elongated descriptions and dialog. But one characteristic will curdle my demeanor like the aforementioned smarmy bastards, and that is voices in videogames.
This one too.
The novelty of voices wore off for me fairly quick, somewhere after Resident Evil. Itís always seemed entirely unnecessary, an afterthought to make the game ďnext-genĒ at worst, a misguided attempt to propel the medium forward at best. Sure, adding actual voices does advance gaming from a technical standpoint, but itís in the wrong direction. Itís too often that a potentially emotional scene is shattered by hammy acting. I loved Lost Odyssey, but felt many scenes lost much potency due to the acting. Worse, piss-poor writing can be glossed over by overacting the same way so many glam bands glossed over their shitty ballads with an overdone guitar solo Ė Heavy Rainís Ethan Mars comes to mind as a prime example.
I'll concede that some good comes out of bad acting
(or I would, if the embed would work).
Memorable and emotional moments prior to the advent of voices in games relied on maximizing the mediumís potential. Voice acting could be a fine accent to these established tactics, but instead itís used as a crutch. This is why I shudder when I realize a gameís dialog is exclusively delivered in voiceovers. Give me a game absent of voices over something like Heavy Rain any day. Writers and developers need to focus on making a memorable story, an atmospheric world, an evocative narrative, interesting characters, and great gameplay. Let the player take care of the voices.
LOOK WHO CAME:
Dr Light ate your Magicite