Games with outstanding English dubbing are so rare that they may well fit into a modest list. Here are the best of them in recent decades.
As a rule, English-language dubbing in many games leaves much to be desired, and the earliest examples of such localizations can only be called terrible. The fact is that the practice of dubbing in the West is still not very common, and therefore there have been so few games with outstanding English dubbing in recent decades that they may well fit into a modest list.
Good dubbing, first of all, requires a competent director. Even the best voice actors in the world will not be able to cope with the task if the director cannot explain to them the emotional context of a particular scene and its meaning within the framework of the overall plot. Unfortunately, such directors can be counted on one hand, but they are able to please even the most cynical fans with a chic localization.
Metal Gear Solid
The original Metal Gear Solid was remembered by Western gamers for exemplary English dubbing. Released in 1998 on the PlayStation, the game impressed everyone with its high-quality voice acting, which with its emotional range surpassed most films of that era.
David Hayter’s debut as Solid Snake was so successful that this role was firmly entrenched in him for the next 12 years; and the rest of the cast was on top. This is why the first Metal Gear Solid often pops up in discussions about excellent English localizations.
Tales of Symphonia
Tales of Symphonia came out at a time when many oriental RPGs received mediocre dubbing, and therefore managed to impress fans of the genre with surprisingly high-quality dubbing. If you close a couple of typos in the text, then natural and lively speech awaited you in localization, as well as a unique chemistry between all the voice actors.
Of course, Tales of Symphonia could not boast of the same complex plot as its contemporaries, but its English dubbing perfectly conveyed the full depth of emotions in both tragic and humorous scenes.
For a long time, even fans of the Kingdom Hearts series found it difficult to follow all the intricacies of the plot, because the franchise was constantly moving from one console to another, which earned itself not the best reputation. Because of this, many even forget about how strong the dubbing of the first part turned out.
The original Kingdom Hearts raises some pretty interesting thoughts about the nature of Light and Darkness, with the dialogues themselves being executed in a manner typical of Disney cartoons, and the dubbing meets the high standards of the House of Mouse. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the subsequent parts of Kingdom Hearts.
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
The English dub of the entire Disgaea franchise is performed at the highest level, but the adaptation of the first part remains the best localization among the entire series. The voice acting of the original Disgaea for PlayStation 2 could not be surpassed by any of the sequels, however, it got to the re-releases in an edited form, where several characters had to be partially or completely re-voiced.
Much of the success lies in the incredible work of Amanda Wynn-Lee, who played Etna exactly in accordance with the original, which Michelle Raff did not succeed in the subsequent parts.
Final Fantasy XII
Playing Final Fantasy XII in English is like watching a Shakespeare play in the theater. The lines are delivered with sublime elegance, spanning the full range of emotions, and an almost palpable chemistry sparkles between the voice actors. All this combined made FFXII dubbing not only one of the best in the series, but also one of the best in the history of localizations.
The thing is that experienced theatrical actors were involved in the voice acting, and the script was also slightly corrected, thanks to which the characters had regional accents, emphasizing the overall scale of the fictional world.
The English dub of Xenoblade Chronicles X and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was frankly passable, which cannot be said about the original Xenoblade and its outstanding (by RPG standards) localization. Here, as in Final Fantasy XII, there is a certain theatricality, and the casting directors from Nintendo Europe are to thank for this. They were especially successful in choosing an actor for the role of Shulk, who eventually became one of the best protagonists of the genre.
However, the dubbing directors of Xenoblade Chronicles X and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 could not understand the secret of the success of the adaptation of Xenoblade 1. And it consisted not only in reverent attitude to the original source, but also in the outstanding acting. Although the actors recorded their lines for Xenoblade separately, they always perfectly understood the context and emotions hidden behind each phrase. But localizations X and 2 had big problems with this.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows Of Valentia
Attempts to adapt games from the Fire Emblem series have been made since the launch of the franchise, but they were first crowned with success in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. This is a remake of the second part of the series (Gaiden), which has a number of flaws in terms of map design and overall narrative scale, but has managed to gracefully modernize the original game. The story in the remake has become much prettier, and the English dubbing turns it into a fascinating performance, which the SoV series only suits.
Dragon Quest XI
This is a JRPG franchise that has long adhered to the archetypes familiar to the genre. This is not to say that Dragon Quest shuns innovation; it’s just that the authors of the series put recognition at the forefront. In the original Japanese version of Dragon Quest XI, voice acting was completely absent, as the developers did not want to deviate from the tradition of classic RPGs. But the creators of the English localization decided to go their own way.
Western adaptations of the past parts of Dragon Quest have already allowed themselves liberties in relation to the original source, but this was good for the games. And Dragon Quest XI has acquired English dubbing with regional accents, allowing you to feel the overall grandeur of the story. The voice acting is so loved by RPG fans that the reissue of the eleventh part for Switch has already received a Japanese dub.
Yakuza: Like A Dragon
The English dubbing of the first Yakuza turned out to be so disgusting that the creators of the series after that simply stopped turning to overseas localizers. The Yakuza setting itself is steeped in Japanese culture, so the very idea of English voice acting seems foreign. Nevertheless, they decided to repeat the experiment with dubbing many years later in Like A Dragon.
Contrary to all expectations, the English voice acting of Yakuza: Like A Dragon has become exemplary for the genre. She was beautifully directed, and many scenes were masterfully dubbed using the lip-sync technique (lip sync with sound). That is why Like A Dragon has climbed so high in our selection.
Nier Replicant Ver. 1.22
The original Nier sported amazing English voice acting, which is even better in the remake. Of course, the game lacks the voice of Jameson Pierce in the role of Father Nir, but this is compensated by the talented work of Zach Aguilar and Ray Chase, who voiced Brother Nir and endowed him with a versatility that simply was not in the original.
Each line in the remake was voiced anew with more convincing acting (which, in principle, is a rarity for re-releases and remakes). Thus, the authors of Nier Replicant Ver. 1.22 took excellent voice acting and managed to bring it to perfection.