30VGC: Day 26 – Best Voice Acting

To know me is to know that I love my yearly series, and here’s a new a one! This year I’m taking on the 30-Day Video Game Challenge (30VGC). Though, actually, it’s going to be more like the 26-Week Video Game Challenge, since I’ll only be covering two or three topics from the challenge each month. You can check out my intended schedule in this post. With that, it’s game on!

My choice for the game with the best voice acting is Uncharted 2.

I have to admit that this choice probably stems from the fact that I recently replayed the Uncharted series. A close second in my head was Batman: Arkham City, based almost solely on Mark Hamill’s amazing performance as the dying Joker. Third might have been The Lost Story, but not really actually, and only be because of the dreamy-sounding dude who voiced Lowell.😍😍😍

But I digress.

Much like with me and video game music, voice acting isn’t something I immediately think of when I start up a new game. And maybe that’s a good thing. After all, the more natural and “human” your characters sound (as long as they are human), the better for the players. Add to that good actors with the abilities to imbue their characters with personality, charm, and charisma, and you’ve got yourself a good foundation. Because even the prettiest and fanciest of games can be brought down by bad voice acting.

Without a doubt, there are prettier and fancier games than Uncharted 2, but what pushes it to the top for me is the excellent script that’s filled with witty one-liners and lots of banter. (And again, some very awesome people spoke those lines, which helped tremendously.) And really, the banter is what’s key…along with Drake’s habit of talking to himself. I imagine that hits home for many folks who, like myself, are into having non-interactive discussions with themselves, especially when they are in the midst of tasks, chores, etc. I do it all the time. And I’m certain that if I was Nathan Drake, I’d be sarcastically commenting to myself, or my companion, along the way as well, because it’d probably be the only way to deal with all the stress and pain of being Nathan Drake.

But seriously, aside from Drake’s running solo commentary, the interactions between him and his companions also help to keep the action from being silent and boring. Without all the occasional quips, the game would be…well, it certainly wouldn’t be Uncharted. It’d be just another action-shooter games with some puzzles thrown in for good measure. As enjoyable as Uncharted 2 is to play, along with the series as a whole, what keeps me engaged are the characters, listening to them, laughing with (and at) them, fearing and cheering for them. Naughty Dog did good in finding a core group of passionate professionals who were able to enliven Uncharted’s cast, make the characters seem real and fantastic all at once, and elevate otherwise standard premises to new heights.

Damn, just thinking about all this kinda makes me miss Uncharted 2 all over again. It also plays into one of the reasons why Uncharted 3 fell flat for me, neither the banter nor Drake’s commentary were as good or as prominent. But at least I’ll always have soothing sonant sarcasm of Uncharted 2.

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