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The new voice cast for Final Fantasy VII Remake might have raised a few eyebrows for those who enjoyed the performances in Advent Children, but the new actors have done an amazing job fleshing out their respective roles even more. Cody Christian takes over as Cloud Strife, and not only does he fit the role well, he expands upon Cloud’s emotional range in the remake. The rest of the cast follows through with remarkable performances. Tyler Hoechlin has some large shoes to fill as he successfully takes on the role of Sephiroth, though it is a slight shame that his tone lacks that sinister bite that his predecessor had; nonetheless, Hoechlin shows great promise and Sephiroth still carries that aura of superiority in his voice. Overall, the dub has an excellently-rounded cast, and the actors really add personality and presence to their characters, joining the music for a first-rate audio experience.
Fans of the Japanese voice actors can also delight in knowing that the Japanese voice cast remains largely unchanged. The actors from Crisis Core and Advent Children reprise their roles for Final Fantasy VII Remake, and even actors with smaller roles such as Kenichi Suzumura, who played Zack Fair, are here. Having the same cast throughout the Japanese Final Fantasy VII-related releases will please fans that appreciate consistency with the voices, and the Japanese cast has been outstanding since the beginning. As always, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Sephiroth’s voice actor, really captures the essence of the villain in ways that give goosebumps upon his entrance. Given such a talented cast breathing life into these characters in both English and Japanese, Final Fantasy VII Remake earns its place as the top contender for RPGamer’s Best Voice Acting award.
With a script as dialogue-heavy as the one in 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, the quality of the voice work was a big determining factor in making or breaking the narrative experience, especially since every line is fully voiced. Fortunately, both the Japanese and English voice casts are more than up to the task, with both language tracks helping to bring the game’s complicated yet fascinating sci-fi tale to life thanks to great casting and direction. As one of the titles and elements to feel the full effects of 2020’s events in its localization, the efforts in producing such a great English dub is especially noteworthy. The performances ensure what was already a stellar tale is told as expertly as possible and help the game become one of the year’s standout releases.
One of the most ambitious projects of 2020 is undoubtedly CD Projekt RED’s Cyberpunk 2077. Though this game has received severe criticism on many aspects, voice acting is not one of them. Keanu Reeves, the public image of the voice-cast, does a remarkable job as Johnny Silverhand, and Cherami Leigh and Gavin Drea (the female and male voices of V) also give outstanding performances. Meanwhile, the fixers and secondary characters have distinctive traits that make each of them unique. Jackie Wells and other characters talk using a mix of languages, which has the effect of a multicultural environment. Since the game is fully voiced and Nighty City is a gigantic city, the game includes an enormous cast to give life to a vast array of denizens, yet no performance is a letdown. Other issues aside, Cyberpunk 2077’s voice acting gave a unique seasoning to this futuristic world and definitely deserves to be acknowledged.
by Elmon Dean Todd, Ryan McCarthy, and Luis Mauricio