Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception  RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Nine Things Next-Gen Multiplayer Needs to Succeed https://www.gameskinny.com/2tbct/nine-things-next-gen-multiplayer-needs-to-succeed https://www.gameskinny.com/2tbct/nine-things-next-gen-multiplayer-needs-to-succeed Sat, 18 Jul 2015 15:07:14 -0400 Elijah Beahm

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Multiplayer has been a part of this industry from the start, and its impact can be felt across the spectrum of platforms we play on. Whether you like online gaming or not, we've come a long way, and have a even further journey ahead to travel. Here's hoping developers choose the right path for online gamers.

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Encourage and Grow Your Communities

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This last part is something only a few publishers and developers have done really well. For example, 2K Games managed what seemed almost impossible at the time, and bred a longstanding Bioshock 2 multiplayer community. Between offering assets for wikis, and porting the game out of pocket to Steamworks as Games for Windows Live began shutting down, 2K Games did good by their community.

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They also repeatedly tried to do right by them in terms of DLC. When it seemed like Minerva's Den might not release, they gave out the Protector Trials for free on PC. When they found out they could port it over still, they did, and they kept the Trials DLC completely free regardless. They also gave Minerva's Den for free to anyone who had bought the original, Games for Windows Live version of the game. On top of that, they made all multiplayer DLC free for everyone, and decreased the grind in the progression system so members of the community could regain their ranks quickly in the new Steamworks version.

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This is how you reward a loyal community. You don't treat them like EA did with Dead Space 2, where they never ported any of the DLC, and when it was found some was already on-disc, EA just quietly made a few items and armor sets unlocked for PC users. They never got the Severed DLC campaign (which reportedly never got past pre-Alpha on PC before being cancelled on that platform), nor did they get any of the multiplayer patches.

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Publishers and developers both need to learn from these and other examples, and understand that you don't survive through game sales alone. You need that community who will stick it out years from now. Bioshock 2 is thriving and active on PC after five years. By contrast, no one is playing Dead Space 2 on PC anymore. Consider that fact.

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Scoreboards Don't Count as Multiplayer

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I would think this would go without saying, but judging by the number of games that have tried to use this as a placeholder for real multiplayer, it apparently does not. A scoreboard is fine on its own, but it does not make for great multiplayer. Most people don't care, and often times those who do are more interested in kill/death ratios in Call of Duty than how many Animus Fragments they've found in Assassin's Creed. Let's stop using this as a crutch.

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We Need More User Generated Content

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For a long time, it seemed like modifications were on the way out. Very few games supported mods during the last generation, save for a handful of shooters, and a number of strategy and RPG titles. That is changing though, thanks to a rebound in the focus on user generated content. Even if a game is a completely solo experience, you can play levels or experience new content made by other gamers.

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User generated content is the lifeblood of many older games. Tron 2.0 and Skyrim both got fan expansion packs in the past three years, well after their publishers had moved on. Mods are free DLC that developers don't have to spend a dime on. Whether or not you think mods should be commercially released is another debate, but you can't deny the popularity of modding. Some developers even use mods as ways of finding the best new talent to hire for their next project.

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As development tools become more user-friendly, and in-game toolsets get more powerful, it stands to reason that user generated content needs to be taken more seriously as a means of online content.

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Let Cooperative and Competitive Multiplayer Blur

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The fact cooperative and competitive multiplayer are beginning to blur is a great sign, but there are only a few games that have toyed with this. Dark Souls, DayZ and Watch_Dogs remain the only notable examples, and even this early on, they show promise. Dark Souls in particular has caused many anti-multiplayer gamers to reconsider their stance on the issue, because it put it in a new context.

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Taking competitive play out of instanced matches and making it more like a boss fight puts it in clearer context for those who don't regularly go out and play Domination or Capture the Flag. With the addition of cooperative players helping each side during conflicts, Dark Souls lets the players define the battlefield.

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Watch_Dogs took this a different direction by empowering players with a variety of play styles. Maybe you go and spy on someone or hack their phone in a one on one battle. If you prefer racing, you could take on mobile device users or enter street races. If you like team battles, those are available too. They aren't carted off in some alternate landscape, but instead are present in your game, and have tangible rewards for both offline and online play.

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As we step forward, these types of integrated multiplayer could even tie into grander mechanics. Imagine a world where the Dark Souls invasion system and the Shadow of Mordor nemesis system are combined. The potential is tantalizing, to say the least.

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Think Outside the Box For What Genres Can Have Multiplayer

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A year doesn't go by when I don't hear someone say "[game] doesn't need multiplayer!" Except, did you ever ask yourself what kind of multiplayer that would be like? The XCOM: Enemy Unknown team asked themselves that, and what resulted is a surprisingly popular turn-based RPG style multiplayer that even got a wealth of new maps in the expansion pack Enemy Within.

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The same happened with Mass Effect 3, and later Dragon Age: Inquisition. Perhaps its time we stop saying something shouldn't be done, and start more regularly asking "can this be done, and will it be fun?" Not only does this open the door to new multiplayer games, but it lets mechanics be handled in new ways. Assassin's Creed: Rogue's detection system wouldn't exist without Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's multiplayer, and similar examples exist across many franchises.

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So let's really push the envelope and see what works. If it fails, then go back to the drawing board; but if it succeeds, then help it grow.

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Truly Dynamic Levels

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Letting us level one building in Battlefield 4 was impressive back on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Now though, with the hardware available to developers, we should be seeing a lot more dynamic elements in levels, and not just in shooters. If anything, more games need to look to some of Sony's more recent games for inspiration.

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Take the airstrip level in Uncharted 3. When the level opens, one team is a plane that is preparing to take off. Meanwhile, the other team is on a set of moving trucks, chasing after it, guns blazing. This leads to some hilarious and awesome moments that only happen because of the players and the level both being equal participants.

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Similarly, PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royal built itself around levels that would blend between two games. One minute you're in Pappa Rappa, but within minutes, Killzone invades with giant mechs firing on players. Every level did this, and would significantly impact the approach players would take to battles. That isn't even counting smaller dynamic elements players could use to their advantage, like setting off traps or knocking opponents into hazards.

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We need more levels like this. While making a level flood or have half of the map become full of poison gas might seem impressive to some players, we could do so much more. Destiny's raids have randomized, dynamic elements as much as they do scripted ones. Syndicate had different enemy spawns and behavior based on difficulty levels. These are the sorts of things we should aspire to in future multiplayer titles.

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Understand What We Want From Online Co-op

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When I reviewed Sunset Overdrive, the game had an excellent open world that was begging for two player campaign co-op. Instead, it had one of the blandest eight player horde modes ever created. Too many games just tack on online cooperative multiplayer without any consideration of what the mode needs. This weird misunderstanding of what we want in co-op is increasing in frequency, as more and more cooperative games are made.

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First off, we want to play together with like-minded players. This really is what developers should consider first when going forward. Halo: Reach had one of the best matchmaking filters by asking you several general but important questions about how you liked to play Halo This helped like minded gamers to team up easily.

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This should be a default feature in co-op, especially when the co-op is in the main story campaign. If someone is just there for the action, then pair them up with other people there for action. If someone cares about the story, get equally considerate players on board with them.

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We also need goals worth playing for. The point of cooperative multiplayer is that you are working together, towards some end. This is why co-op in campaigns works so well, and why standalone co-op modes that are barely connected with the main game fall apart. Some games like Halo 5: Guardians have been making strides to close the gap and integrate co-op into their stories, but we still have a lot further to go.

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Still, making players work for a narrative goal might get them through once or twice, but we need consistent, enjoyable reasons to bring friends along. We need new tactical options to open up in cooperative shooters. We need new dialogue choices in cooperative RPGs. We need incentive to play in co-op that offers a different experience, without cutting players out of every option. The benefits should be realistic to the player count.

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Online co-op has been evolving at a fast rate, ever since Halo 3 and Borderlands popularized it. Hopefully that means these growing pains can be passed through just as quickly.

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More Content, Not Bigger Battles

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This is another thing that has continually been happening, and is a big issue for multiplayer. Sony was able to get over two hundred players playing together in its game MAG. It was also so dry and visually bland a game that it could have been a PlayStation 2 title in pre-Alpha.

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Some developers have caught on to the idea that more content is better than grander scale, but still are struggling with it. Titanfall offered over twenty maps at launch, and released a bunch of free content updates, but also tried to charge ten dollars for three packs of three new maps. This was a terrible idea, and the game benefitted greatly by just letting everyone have the new maps for free.

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This shouldn't even be news to developers. For years older games like No One Lives Forever and Unreal Tournament offered free map packs and new game modes as updates, not something you had to pay the right to use. Splintering communities with pay walls is one of the worst things you could do in multiplayer.

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If developers want to charge for something, then they should actually take a note from Batman: Arkham Origins and charge for new gear, or better yet, Battlefield 4's shortcuts. I know what you're thinking "but that stuff is the worst!" except, it really isn't. Think about it.

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Consider a world where all content updates are free, so you continually have more and more game to play. Except, since publishers will still want to make something off of the game, they offer new players the ability to catch up in the progression system. They'll still be new to the game and unsure of what gear to use, meaning balance is maintained. All the meanwhile, you've got a consistent stream of new modes and maps to play on.

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As compromises go, this one pays off way more for the core player base than the current model. It'd be awesome if we could just get the content for free, but not all publishers and developers will go for that approach. Still, anything that takes us out of the age of Sanctum and Call of Duty-style paid for DLC is a welcome move towards benefiting the player base.

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Local Co-op

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Yes, this is still a thing, contrary to so many games dropping support for it. Whether it's a desperate bid to optimize (like Halo 5: Guardians) or just cut due to rushed schedule (like Killzone: Shadow Fall), local co-op has been getting the short end of the stick between now and the end years of last-gen. That needs to stop.

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We need local co-op games, and not just 2D games and indie titles. Halo was born on local multiplayer matches, and Star Wars: Battlefront let console gamers play together online without a hitch. Friends could play games together both online and offline, but more and more that feature is excluded, and it hurts consoles in general.

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The more games you can play alongside a friend and enjoy, the more you'd want to have them on your own. It's just not the same experience, swapping the controller back and forth. Yes, you might have over a hundred players on a massive battlefield with AI opponents and amazing scripted moments, but you're failing the oldest mode of multiplayer in existence. Give us a reason to buy a second Xbox One or PlayStation 4 controller.

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Multiplayer has gone from the only means of play, to a standby feature, and somehow made a huge jump back into "novelty" territory before finally getting its footing again. In the modern gaming era, multiplayer is a huge money maker across consoles, mobile, and PC. Yet, despite years of innovations and experience, the industry seems to have forgotten or failed to realize several things multiplayer gaming needs to really do well.

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Top 5 Favorite Drinking Buddies in Games https://www.gameskinny.com/9mvzm/top-5-favorite-drinking-buddies-in-games https://www.gameskinny.com/9mvzm/top-5-favorite-drinking-buddies-in-games Thu, 25 Jun 2015 02:30:01 -0400 Matt Amenda

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1. Ayla

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Chrono Trigger
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Surprised that a girl beat out all those manly party-boys on this list? Don't be: Ayla is so bro-tastic she puts them all to shame.

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Let me set the stage here: you and your party warp back to 65 Million B.C., and the first thing you see is a statuesque blonde cave girl pummeling a pack of velociraptor mutants with her bare hands. When the dust clears, she immediately throws a huge cave party in your honor, complete with crazy dancing, giant prehistoric grillables, and suspiciously intoxicating "soup". We see her drain about eight man-sized bowls of it.

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Afterwards she spends all day helping you partially dismantle an evil dinosaur empire by--you guessed it--beating up more dinosaurs. Then she goes back to her village presumably to party some more. And tomorrow: more dinosaur ass-kicking.

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That is her life, ladies and gentlemen. An endless cycle of having awesome cave feasts, killing dinosaurs, and repeat. She's a wild Triassic bombshell. She's a walking extinction event. She parties big, fights big, and she's got a big heart for friend and foe alike. She does nothing, absolutely nothing, halfway or halfhearted. She is generosity, courage, and adventure personified. In other words, the perfect drinking buddy.

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I think I'm in love.

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Runner-Ups

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Pigsy, from Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

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Conker the Squirrel, from Conker's Bad Fur Day

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Augus, from Asura's Wrath

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The Iron Bull, from Dragon Age: Inquisition

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Zeke Dunbar, from Infamous 1 & 2

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Sergeant Johnson, from the Halo series

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2. Uncle Pey'j

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Beyond Good and Evil
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For those of you who don't remember the cult masterpiece that is Beyond Good and Evil, that crazy flying pig-man up there is the first and greatest sidekick in the game, good old Uncle Pey'j. That's him leaping through a third-story window to butt-slam an alien.

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He's got boisterous personality, a mysterious space-outlaw past, he's a genius inventor and mechanic, and the branch leader of an inter-galactic rebel organization. But even as Chief of the Hillyan IRIS Network, he'll still a fun guy to hang around. He'll go treasure-hunting, he'll go hovercraft racing, he'll go alien-fighting, cop fighting, monster fighting, robot fighting, any kind of fighting from here to across the universe.  And he'll definitely take a load off with you at the Akuda Bar downtown. No matter what happens, Uncle Pey'j will have your back. I love this guy this so much.

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3. Darunia

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The Legend of Zelda series
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That rock-hard barrel of awesome up there is one of the original video game party animals: Big Brother Darunia, Boss of the Gorons and King of all Dad Bods.

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Since he's from a mostly E-Rated series there's only so much drinking and debauchery he can get away with on screen, but just look at that grinning mug of his; that's the face of a man who'll drain a few barrels of Hyrule beer and go smash a dragon's skull in as a weekend hobby. But the best part about Darunia isn't his own strength; brotherhood and friendship are pretty much his theme, for life. He's always looking out for others, making sure his people are safe and happy. He's a fantastic guy all around. I'm just not sure I could keep up with him.

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4. Gray

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Bulletstorm
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How would any of you like to party with a space pirate?

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Captain Grayson Hunt always pairs his drink with mayhem and mass carnage. He doesn't just get drunk before and/or after carving his way through a planet's-worth of bloodthirsty psychos; he'll toss back a few during. He's the kind of guy who enjoys the challenge of committing genocide while impaired.

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If he sounds too intense to have a good time with without getting slaughtered, don't worry about it: under Gray's grizzled, violent exterior beats the heart of a man who cares deeply about his friends. He'll watch your back to hell and back, or at least let you borrow a neat gun. Murdering's always better with friends, after all. And lots of space booze.

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5. Nate and Sully

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Uncharted Series
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Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan. Globe-trotting, swashbuckling, world-saving treasure hunters extraordinaire. If you're ever lucky enough to sit down with these two over a couple of cold ones, you're either planning the heist of the century of having a toast for the adventure of your lives.

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And when things get hairy with the locals, boy do these fellas know their way around a bar fight. The first scene of Uncharted 3 features this scrappy pair in an epic bar brawl against pub full of London thugs. Well-used to fighting against impossible odds, these two lovable scoundrels are always up their eyeballs in adventure. 

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Man, this list made me depressed. Know why? Because as long as I live, I'll never meet anybody cooler to drink with than some of my favorite video game characters. And chances are, neither will you. When will you clear out a goblin's nest and celebrate in a tavern with any of your friends? Or better yet, drink and kill goblins at the same time? Not going to happen, my friends.

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But a guy can dream, can't we? That's why I put this list together in honor of the boys and girls of video gaming I'd love to share a brew with, whether in celebration of a quest well done or just fueling up on liquid courage for demon-slaying ahead. With drinking buddies like these, I'd say yes to anything. Anything.

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THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Announces Blockbuster Voice Cast https://www.gameskinny.com/ghs1s/middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor-announces-blockbuster-voice-cast https://www.gameskinny.com/ghs1s/middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor-announces-blockbuster-voice-cast Thu, 22 May 2014 19:16:27 -0400 Pendy_617

Warner Bros. released some exciting news about Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor today. A new story trailer and gameplay details were announced today but the even bigger news is the announcement of the voice acting cast. The studio has gotten some of the biggest names in the industry to work on the project. Here's the run down:

  1. Troy Baker - Talion (The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Origins, BioShock Infinite, Batman: Arkham City, Final Fantasy XIII and lots of others.)
  2. Nolan North - Black Hand (Uncharted series, Batman: Arkham Origins)
  3. Alastair Duncan - Wraith (Mass Effect series, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception)
  4. Laura Bailey - Loreth (Halo 4, Batman: Arkham Origins, The Last of Us)
  5. Liam O'Brien - Gollum (Infamous: Second Son, Grand Theft Auto V, The Last of Us)

Also announced today was that Garry Schyman would be composing the music for the game. He has worked on several game titles and won awards from the British Academy of Film and Television and the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences for his work on BioShock: Infinite. 

The release date for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is October 7 and is going to be released on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. 

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A Rose, By Any Other Voice, Would Smell as Sweet? Bad Voice Acting is the Thorn in the Side of Final Fantasy XIV https://www.gameskinny.com/fc7km/a-rose-by-any-other-voice-would-smell-as-sweet-bad-voice-acting-is-the-thorn-in-the-side-of-final-fantasy-xiv https://www.gameskinny.com/fc7km/a-rose-by-any-other-voice-would-smell-as-sweet-bad-voice-acting-is-the-thorn-in-the-side-of-final-fantasy-xiv Mon, 19 Aug 2013 13:32:52 -0400 Destrolyn.Bechgeddig

Like millions of others, this weekend I became a social hermit at the mercy of Square Enix. The fourth, and last, phase of beta testing of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has come and gone. 

I could wax lyrical about the good and the great about the game, and on some of the handy little tweaks and developments since phase three. But one thing that’s gotten players talking (pun intended) is the voice acting. In short, it’s as pleasant as a diseased Tonberry in an open blender. 

You have reached Square Enix's answering machine… 

The main problem is that all the voices sound so forced and cardboard. Could Square Enix really not find decent voice actors for the roles? 

However, if you really think about it, the measure and metre of dialogue is completely unnatural to being with. There are pauses built-in to include movements and actions, breaks to allow players to interact, or move the narrative at their own pace, and bits of dialogue that are outright contrived to make something happen or to jam in some much-needed back story.

Because of this lack of intrinsic flow, it’s no surprise that characters, especially Elder Seedseer Kan-E-Senna, sound like an automated switchboard. Therefore, it seems insincere to goad the actors who have provided their voices, as they’re faced with quite a difficult task, no? 

But Square Enix has spent the last three single-player Final Fantasy titles improving its voice acting. Even Final Fantasy X, though often mocked for feeling a little am-dram, was still some of the best seen in video games up until that point. They also had an ace in the hole by getting John DiMaggio, better known for voicing Bender in sci-fi animated sitcom, Futurama, to voice ginger Blitzball captain, Wakka. 

By the time we got round to Final Fantasy XIII, we’d seen a great improvement. Furthermore, other video game companies are really upping their game regarding voice acting. For example, Namco and Level-5’s Ni No Kuni: The Wrath of the White Witch notably had Steffan Rhodri lend his dulcet Welsh tones to the character of Drippy, along with a great cast in general. A further example is the brilliant voice acting in Naughty Dog's Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. Therefore, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn just feels like a step backwards by comparison, and makes Square Enix looks like it wants to be left in the wake of its competition.

Thancred sounds, "more granddad than sex god". Screenshot: Courtesy of Square Enix.

Final Fantasizing

What really doesn’t help is that those who played from beta phase three onwards, like me, experienced extended gameplay without any voice acting. Therefore, they will already have a pre-imagined style and timbre of the voices of the characters they've already met. Much like a film adaptation of a much-loved book, trying to define a single manifestation of myriad different imaginations will always mean that many will be left upset with the end product. For example, it's now easier for people to resist swooning over Thancred as they seem to have made him sound more granddad than sex god.  So can we really blame Square Enix for not meeting our unique expectations?

But many of the races and character-types aren't unfamiliar to the series. So it’s no surprise that many are disappointed, if not baffled, by how some of the voices don’t match their stature. I like to imagine Lalafells sporting a broad Brooklyn accent, but I think that might just be me. Even so, accepting that Moogles will predictably be a little high pitch, it doesn't excuse them from being irritating and wholly unbelievable - like shrews on acid breathing an atmosphere made exclusively of helium.

Spreken ze deutsch? 

Despite trying hard to give Square Enix the benefit of the doubt, I took the opportunity to have a listen to the voice acting for the other languages the game supports; Japanese, French, and German. 

It’s no surprise, being a JRPG, that the Japanese voice-acting is superlative. The voices match the faces, and everything sounds far more natural. But, to my disappointment, even the German and French sound less bemusing and stilted as the English. 

It feels like us English speakers have gotten a bit of a bum deal, especially, to add insult to injury, there are reports from version 1.0 players that the English voice acting was considerably better before the relaunch. 

Changing Channels 

The thing is, despite my grumblings about the voice acting, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is still a fantastic game. Plus, players had plenty of other things to put up with this weekend aside from some ropy dialogue, like the 3102 errorThe advice many players are dishing out is this: change the voice acting to a different language, and just read the subtitles

But it’s just a shame that the English voice acting is a huge let down. God, as always, is in the detail, and Square Enix seem to forget that. It’s often the little things that can really wow, such as the new thunderstorm weather effect in the Black Shroud areas, and these really lift a game up from being a good title to being a great one.

Suspension of disbelief has always been one of Final Fantasy's strong points, and something that is an important aspect of all good video games. The voice acting is so bad that we really don't get that here. Because of this, I’d rather not have voice acting at all. Silence, as they say, is golden.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn launches on 27 August 2013. For more information about the game, including how to pre-order, visit www.finalfantasyxiv.com.

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