Very similar to the award we give to dialogue, there is just something about the quality of voice acting that can really make a game go from good to great. The vocal inflection, the intonation used, and just the timing can liven up a conversation in a way that text cannot. Here are the three RPGs we thought stood out above the rest in terms of delivering lines.
Mass Effect 2 has some of the best voice acting this year bar none. "But why is this?" you may ask. Because it manages to sell you on the humanity of its characters in a way that few games can ever hope to achieve. One of Mass Effect 2's main focuses is on the myriad of options in building interpersonal relationships. The voice acting is essential to that goal, creating some of the most believable characters ever seen in a game. The only games that even come close to this level of voice acting are BioWare's own creations, as well as some standouts such as The Witcher. While the companions are standouts, the star of the show is undoubtedly Shepard him/her self. Whichever gender you play as, the voice fits the personality of the character you build. Shepard's voice acting, in conjunction with his companions, sells the breadth of its universe and immerses you in it so completely that part of the fun of the game is to shut out the outside world for the time being. While you play it you cease to be you and you become Shepard. At the end of the day, Mass Effect 2's voice acting is so untouchable in its quality that even if you didn't enjoy the game itself, this fact you must concede.
It's no secret that Resonance of Fate didn't exactly get much of a push outside of Japan by Sega. What many people may not realize, though, is that no one told the voice cast this. Highlighting the fantastic cast is of course Nolan North, who many will know as the voice of Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series. He injects a lot of humor into the character of Vashyron, the oldest of the main characters, who can be a bit of a goofball at times. Humor is often difficult to localize, given varying tastes in comedy, but North, combined with a great localized script, provides for many funny moments in the game. Scott Menville, who many may recognize as Lloyd from Tales of Symphonia and Robin from the Teen Titans Cartoon, provides his usual fantastic work as Zephyr. A darker character than the other two, Menville does a great job bringing Zephyr's tortured personality to life. Rounding out the main cast is Jessica DiCicco as Leanne. Her credits seem to include mostly secondary voices and extras as far as video games go, but in a leading role here she does a brilliant job bringing the charming leading lady to life. All in all they make for one of the finest voice casts in recent memory. Sega deserves credit for putting together this cast, along with the many fine secondary voices in the game as well.
A muscle-bound hero, a talking book, and a foul-mouthed, half-dressed young lady walk into a bar... stop me if you've heard this one. Oh, you haven't heard it? Well, you should, because Nier offers some of the best voice acting for the year. From the second the game starts, Kainé is heard spouting off a string of profanities, but it's not the language that is impressive; it's the way things are said. The voice acting is on the money. From the vile Kainé to the smarmy book Weiss, the dialogue is just impressive throughout. The only rough spot is the main character's battle cries, but he makes up for it with some great lines of his own. Nier offers fantastic dialogue, only made better by the voice cast.
by Michael Apps, Roy Burnet, Michael Cunningham