Thankfully these days, we mostly find ourselves applauding games for how realistic and cinematic their voice acting tends to be, but just a few short years ago, this really was not the case at all. We weren’t always blessed with the likes of David Hayter delivering steely, wholly believable performances that made us totally buy into their characters; no, once upon a time, we had to deal with the horribly stifled performances that populate this list (though a few of them are, embarrassingly, from recent games). The only plus, then, is that in some instances it can enhance the game’s iconic status, as with Resident Evil (pictured above), and somewhat accentuate its B-movie-inspired tone, even if completely by accident.
Whether we’re able to glean some humour from it or not, here are 10 awesome games with terrible voice acting.
10. Heavy Rain
Heavy Rain was another thoroughly ambitious title from David Cage (Omikron, Fahrenheit) who has, with his thoroughly cinematic approach, attempted to blur the line between films and games. Though the technical execution of his attempt is very precise, it’s the voice acting that so often lets him down, as he made the ill-informed decision to cast several French voice actors and then ask them to impersonate Americans. That result is hokey enough – especially with the character Norman Jayden - but it’s the voice acting from a home-grown American that actually gets the worst of it, notably as Ethan Mars runs around a mall looking for his son early on. As a result, the “JASON!” scene has been parodied by countless sites online, because the stifled delivery of the singular word just doesn’t have the intensity or the import that David Cage had surely hoped it would.
It doesn’t help in this case that the “press X to Jason” idea is pretty dumb, but it only helps to heighten the awkwardness of some of the voice acting, a problem when you’re trying to fashion a vividly cinematic game.
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This article was first posted on December 6, 2012