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Full voiceovers ruin text-heavy RPGs for me

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by J_C, Sep 7, 2020.

  1. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    As I was churning over my huge backlog, finally I got to Pillars of Eternity 2. I was curious about the game, since it got such a mixed reception. And I have to tell you the truth, I uninstalled if after 2 hours of playing. But not for the reason many Codexers would think.

    The graphics were awesome, I very much liked the music, and I have to be honest, I even liked the gameplay changes compared to the first game.

    But there is one thing which ruined the game for me. Full voicovers. They are just annoying. Not because of their quality, they were typical fantasy voiceovers (not particularly good or bad), but there is so much text in this game, that listening all those lines fully voiced just bored me to death. It is so much faster to read them.

    Now you might say that I could just skip the voiced dialogue when I finished reading the line. That's true, but maybe because english is not my native language, it is distracting for me to read while listening some other spoken dialogue.

    I remember retards gamers being all over fully voiced RPGs, but I just don't get it. It's OK with cinematic, first person or third person RPGs, but these oldschool, text heavy RPGs suffer a lot IMO. There is just too much text, that listening them all fully voiced is getting boring really fast. Now Divinity OS2 and Wasteland 3 are still in my backlog, but I'm already dreading to play them. I want to play them, but there is a chance that their full VO will ruin them for me.

    I always was on the opinion that the IE games did it best. Voice the more important lines, or just the first sentence of a character and let the player read the rest. It's sad that game developers force the VO for games which are not suited for it.

    So devs, if your game is text heavy, just don't use full VO, please don't. If you want VO, use an editor who cuts the text to a managable length.

    Anyone else experienced similar thing?
     
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  2. Goldschmidt Learned

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    All this text without VO is a bore to read. Next thread plz.
     
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  3. soulburner Arbiter

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    I played both Pillars with voice turned to 0 in the settings. Highly recommended.

    I also like the IE games approach to voiceovers, with the first line being spoken or just a simple "heya".
     
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  4. Thac0 Hopeless Optimist Patron

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    I play a lot of text heavy rpgs by just turning off the audio, and putting up some nice music for the mood. Even better if the audio settings are so detailed I can shut down only the voices.
    Also for some mediocre rpgs they can still have value as something to keep your hands moving while listening to podcasts/watching video essays on the second screen.

    There is really too much importance placed in VA nowadays. Look at Solasta brutalising their budget, because they need VA to even have a sliver of a chance to reach their assumed target demographic of mainstream gamers (still confused about that one).
     
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  5. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    That is the overkill approach. But this would kill the mood of the game. I want a few words or a sentence to be fully voiced, to get the feel of the character. Like, Planescape Torment wouldn't be the same without the Dieonarra monologues, so I welcome a few voiced lines. But fully voiced is terrible. So for me there is no win-win situation. I guess I just skip the game, it's not like there aren't a lot of good games to play in my backlog.
     
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  6. Riddler Magister Patron

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    No, I think there is just an issue with you in particular, or perhaps for people with limited reading comprehension (in the relevant language).

    I guess it could be a bit distracting if the game was truly text heavy, with each line in a conversation being a A4 page of text, but as far as I'm aware such games do not exist. A line is usually limited to 1-4 sentences and that is perfectly manageable to read while it is being narrated imo.

    Do you think this would have been an issue if the text and narration was in your native language?

    That said, I don't feel like there really is a purpose for full narration unless it's part of a cinematic cutscene. An opening line + something more for emphasis is enough to establish character and mood.
     
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  7. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    It's possible that it is me, but I can't really do anything about it. Either I turn of the voice for the entiry game (overkill approach), or I don't play it because the full VO is not a good experience.
     
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  8. soulburner Arbiter

    soulburner
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    I don't like the voices in PoE games, they sound cheap and done by maybe two actors, who barely changed their voices between characters and read their lines soooo sloooowlyyyyyyyy. Turning all voice off didn't kill the mood for me.
    I can read 1000% faster than any NPC can speak. I understand full voice overs in TPP and FPP games and I usually listen to them in such games (unless the acting is very bad), but I'm so used to IE games approach so much, I'd rather play with voice disabled completely. I play Divinity OS with the voices, because (unpopular opinion) they are funny and I dig the humour.
     
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  9. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

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    I'm highly fluent in English even though it is my second language, and use it everyday in my work. I even think more in English than in my native language. Yet reading text while also hearing it spoken is distracting and pulls me back to the sentence currently spoken rather than the later one I'm already reading. I have the same issue with my native language, because it occupies my brain with two parallel lines of thought at the same time.

    It leads me to not pay attention to the dialogue as much as I just quickly skim through the text and click onward, whereas if only the first line is voiced and the rest isn't, I spend more time reading the text and getting into it. The voice acting just distracts me. It's detrimental to the experience.

    I barely paid attention to the dialogues in Divinity Original Sin 2 because of that. I switched off the narrator voice because that was just ridiculous but for some reason kept the character voices. When I played Pillars 2, I just switched it all off. MUCH better experience.
     
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  10. Nifft Batuff Arbiter

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    I experienced exactly the same thing but I just switched off the VOs and pretended they had never existed in the first place. You cannot believe how much better it is in this way. It seems a completely different game.
     
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  11. Gregz Arcane

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    Almost any text-heavy RPG is already ruined.

    Long exposition has no place in this medium.
     
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  12. Nano Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    Imagine if books were fully voiced. What's the fucking point. Why do people actually like having the lines read out to them?
     
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  13. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

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    Apparently audiobooks are a thing and popular.

    I don't get it.
     
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  14. Mister Familiar Scholar

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    Too much voice-acting eliminates my favorite part in RPG narratives, and that's the brief detailing of a characters demeanor or manners in a way that characterizes them before you are subject to any of their dialogue.

    And a character with little quirks or breaks in their speech comes across much better when their dialogue is written than when some hapless VA has to try their best to act it out.
    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Nifft Batuff Arbiter

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    Maybe audiobooks are nice if you are doing something else while listening a book. Like driving or watching a porn.
     
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  16. Nano Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    I thought audiobooks are just things people listen to while doing something else, like podcasts. You're telling me people actually have the book open in front of them while listening to the audio?
     
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  17. Riddler Magister Patron

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    What confused me here is that I have never ever heard this particular complaint before, despite voice overs being a thing for decades. Which leads me to believe that it might be something specific to the very special demographic of people on the codex that post in this thread complaining about this issue.

    Another thought is that it might be due to growing up in a country where subtitles are unusual. You are from Germany where most things are dubbed, right? I'm from Sweden and most media I've watched is subtitled.

    Still doesn't explain why there isn't any complaining from American gaming communities though.
     
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  18. Butter Arcane

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    Because Americans don't read if they can help it.
     
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  19. rusty_shackleford Arcane

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  20. JackOfOwls Erudite

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    I knew full voice acting for every NPC was not The Way as far back as King's Quest V with my first CD-ROM game for DOS. It was jarring to have to hear all voices done by some developer or intern sounding like your reedy-voiced daddy reading you a bedtime story and trying to do different voices for each character. I can still hear the horrendous hoot of that horrible owl going, "Hooo, hooo! hooo, hooo!" What is heard cannot be unheard.
     
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  21. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

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    But when you're doing something else while listening to it, don't you lose track of the story? Wouldn't you have to go back a minute or two occasionally because a stray thought distracted you, or you had to focus on a difficult traffic situation for a second?

    If I wanna read a book I read it and pay attention to the story. If I want to listen to something in the background, I put on music.
     
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  22. Ol' Willy Arcane Zionist Agent

    Ol' Willy
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    While voice acting goes along the gameplay, it's fine. Like in Kane & Lynch.

    Voice acting in text-heavy RPGs is fucking annoying.
     
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  23. rusty_shackleford Arcane

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    Unsurprising that ESLs hate voice acting. "yech, vy does ee not sound like zee fegot like i??"
     
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  24. Butter Arcane

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    When I was a kid my parents sometimes put on audio books while we were on long drives. They probably didn't get the full experience while focusing on the road, but it was perfectly good for the passengers.
     
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