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I Dub Thee, O Video Games

So Xenoblade Chronicles finally released in the US. Congratulations! I'm happy for you guys and proud of all of you who participated in Project Rainfall, and I hope you're all enjoying it as much as I did. Do yourself a huge favour and buy it if you haven't already, it may well be my GOTY of 2011 for me.

But did I create this blog post just to ramble on about how much I love the game and threaten you all if you don't buy it? Well, it is tempting, but no. You see, on that special disc you'll find bundled with that excellent game, are two language tracks: English and Japanese. For many JRPG fans, the addition of Japanese voices is a must-have. But is it really that big of a deal?

Apparantly so. I've noticed a common attitude towards Japanese media among gamers and anime fans on the Internet: only Japanese voices are allowed and all English voice actors MUST DIE.

Of course, with Xenoblade's release, I've seen comments everywhere that they won't be using that awful English audio. It's not that I'm against anyone enjoying their video games the way they want to. Hey, I think it was a good move for Monolith Soft to include the Japanese audio, as I'm all for more content. And if you enjoy the Japanese voice acting, that's great! Myself, I haven't tried it.

When I start playing a game, or watching an anime series, I automatically choose the English dub if its available. It hasn't happened yet (and admittedly I haven't watched that much anime), but if I were to find a dub that was so terrible, then I'd fire up the Japanese audio. That's what the English dub is there for, right? For English people? Maybe I simply haven't played and watched enough Japanese media, but to me English dubbing doesn't seem to be at a place where it has a reputation for being so terrible to the point that it must be avoided. In fact, I think that there some fantastic examples of decent dubs in Japanese games.

Again, I don't have beef with the people who play their games in Japanese. You guys are cool, and clearly not as lazy as I, who doesn't need to put the effort into reading subtitles. Its the people who ignore and disregard the English dub, without hearing it or giving it a chance first that I don't understand.

You have to remember that without Nintendo of Europe's localisation team, Xenoblade wouldn't have made it out of Japan. It doesn't make a difference to the actors what language you play it in, but they did put the effort in. Sure, with such a big cast in Xenoblade there are a few less-than-great actors; and not everyone wishes to withstand "let's not lose our heads though!" and "now its Reyn time!" through hours of battles. But there are many who you can tell had fun with their lines and care about their characters enough to provide a good performance. Have you heard Xord's evil, snarling Londoner tones as he threaten the heroes of eating their people alive? Dunban's epic "born in a world of strife, against the odds, we choose to fight!" line during his Blossom Dance attack? Shulk's cries of vengeance during the action cutscenes? I'm not angry, I just don't want you guys to miss out!

Recently I finished playing The Last Story, another great Wii RPG that's also on its way to the States. Unlike Xenoblade, there is no option to use Japanese audio - there is only the English dub. I fear that many may choose to miss out on this amazing game for that reason alone, but in fact the acting in the game helped make me feel part of the world - and The Last Story is all about immersion. I was quickly traversing through a town with a broad range of accents. My comrades included a suave and flirtatious Scottish man and a female Mancunian drunkard, while in the town Irish children ran around playing, posh Southerners roamed the castle and cockney villains brought their evil presence in the many battles I fought in. An excellent cast helped even more by the charming banter and witty jokes shared between them.

I also happen to be playing Lost Odyssey right now, and I've found a new favourite character with Jansen. Though I haven't yet completed the game, the acting is amazing and there are already some very moving performances and emotional scenes that are only possible with the excellent cast that the game is lucky to have.

It just baffles me that some will neglect all of this. Is it because some fear that English voices will detract from the Japanese style and flavour of a game created in Japan? Is it because it's odd to see anime-style characters with big hair and over-sized swords speaking in American accents? Or is it me who's missing out, because the Japanese are generally better at voice acting?

Take what you will from the blog post, as I'm aware I may be treading controversial ground. Say I'm stupid. Tell me I play games wrong. You can even call me a racist Jap-hater. Just don't let this strange attitude cause you to miss out on the hard work of decent actors and actresses.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oDGBDUKMcc We've come a long way since Barry Burton.
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About ReeceTheBeastone of us since 5:40 PM on 10.29.2011

I'm Reece from England. I'm a newly-recruited News Writer for gaming site Explosion.com, and its all thanks to this here website and blog! I love it here, I love this community and I love to write. I'm always willing to read your blogs here too, so maybe we can be friends!

You can catch more of my work right here.
- Explosion.com
- GamerSyndrome
- Zelda Universe

Recent feature: Happy Birthday, Shigeru Miyamoto! Here Are His Best Moments and Quotes

I've been into gaming since I was about 4 years old, playing the Game Boy, PlayStation 1 and Sega Mega Drive (Genesis to you Americans! Damn you, stealing the better names). Having these systems around during my youth lead to the greatest and most-anticipated Christmas ever - the year I got my N64!

Ever since then I've been playing any and every game I can get my filthy mitts on, no matter what system or genre. I currently have a Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 and a 3DS. Come on Vita, get more games so I can buy you too!

My favourite games are Resident Evil 2, Zelda: The Wind Waker, Streets of Rage 2, Left 4 Dead, Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter at the handle @ReeceH92. If you do follow me, send me a PM on here so I know you're from Destructoid and I'll follow you back too if you like! I will be more active on there as I get more followers and won't just spam news stories, and I'd be happy to chat any of you. I'd appreciate it as I'm new there and the majority of my followers currently consist of sexbots. If they were real ladies at least I could pass myself off as some kind of Twitter pimp.

My promoted article:
- Collaboration: Nintendo and an old friend

Posts I'm proud of/had the most fun with:
- I Boiled A Broken Xbox 360 Game
- Resident Evil and Me - Part 2: Why REmake is the Scariest in the Series
- Top 10 Gaming Web Series