I don’t remember the first game with extensive voice acting, but I do recall that when BioWare released the first Mass Effect in 2007, it was still something a Big Deal that every line of dialogue was spoken aloud.
Of course, more traditional voice acting has been around for quite some time. Ryu and Ken “Hadoken-ed” all over the place in the ’90’s, and the townsfolk in Diablo I all had short little messages before you read their dialogue – I can still hear Deckard Cain and his “Hello!”
These days, as I’m still – still – playing Skyrim, and just recently moved on to play a little Deus Ex: Human Revolution, 100% of the dialogue is spoken, just like in Mass Effect. And I don’t like it.
I know that I read significantly faster than people talk, and I’m almost positive that’s not only normal, but likely just a simple fact. Unless you’re dyslexic or suffer from some other similar disorder, you will read faster than anyone this side of an auctioneer speaks. Therefore, after a while, I grow a little frustrated listening to dialogue that I could
just as much more easily read instead.
It’s true that in both Skyrim and Deus Ex – and most any voice acted game – that you can enable subtitles and skip through the voice overs. Unfortunately, Deus Ex seems to skip entire portions of dialogue, fast forwarding to the next words spoken by the other conversant rather than skipping to the next phrase in the dialogue. Highly inconvenient, that.
In the end, the immersion brought by complete voice acting is nice. But it isn’t efficient, in my playing time or in regards to game memory, and in the end I can live without all the voice acting – and, for the most part, would prefer to. Maybe that isn’t the case with everyone else.
Therefore, in a last ditch effort to change your mind, I present the immortal Last Alert. Enjoy.