The Fire Emblem series' localized scripts are usually decent, if occasionally witty, but the people at 8-4 Ltd. truly outdid themselves on the dialogue in the latest entry in the series, Fire Emblem: Awakening. The dialogue combines a few somewhat antiquated terms and other interesting word choices with a more contemporary manner of speaking, which works surprisingly well for the game. While the writing quality shines best during humorous scenes, the more serious and emotional scenarios are solid as well, managing to tug at our heartstrings just as well it is able to elicit our laughter. Where the localization especially stands out is in the many support conversations between characters. Most of the playable characters barely say anything during the main story, but it is during these conversations where their personalities come to light. Just about everyone in the Shepherds is written to feel distinct, such as Gregor and Donnel's accents, Miriel's broad and occasionally confusing vocabulary, Tharja's deadpan sarcasm, Sully's blunt and somewhat foul-mouthed manner of speaking, and Henry's love of the macabre and bad puns. There are even a number of surprisingly subtle allusions and references to things like CastleVania II, The Hobbit, and a line by Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime. Much of the dialogue is so witty and amusing that many fans can't help but recite it, whether the quotes are from battle or support conversations. Fire Emblem: Awakening has become one of our most loved titles on the 3DS, and the fantastic dialogue is a large part of the reason why.
If there is one thing that makes a massive game world feel real, it is the quality of its dialogue. The way in which the multitude of playable and non-playable characters talk to each other can easily make or break the level of immersion the player experiences. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn offers a world in which the various NPCs all have their own nuances and idiosyncrasies. The subtle humor of a quest that is meant to be silly. The desperation of a guild leader who has all but lost his spark. The self-resignation and ultimate redemption of a world-renowned weaponsmith. Without these necessary personalities, Final Fantasy XIV's Eorzea would be a stale world, void of emotion, filled with pointless quests. Considering the number of NPCs and amount of text in the game, no line feels like a throwaway. The writers lovingly use even the most meaningless and inconsequential NPC shout outs as an oppourtunity to entertain or inform us. With its rich and varied dialogue, Final Fantasy XIV creates a world that motivates players to complete quests for the story well after the experience reward is no longer relevant.
Once again credit has to be given to NIS America (even if the company didn't publish the game) for its amazing localization work on the Atelier series. This series' dialogue gets stronger as new iterations release. It's so easy to fall in love with the interactions between the characters and often the dialogue is so snappy and humorous that you'll find yourself laughing in the strangest of moments. Atelier Ayesha's dialogue is just as good as Totori's or Meruru's, and its new cast of quirky characters really helps make the story elements shine because they are not simple rehashes of past Atelier games. Atelier Ayesha's writing is smart, cute, and just plain fun.
by Cassandra Ramos, Ken Staples, Sam Marchello