Posts Tagged ‘Voice-Over’

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The Secret World: Little Photo Album Of Horrors

July 5, 2012

Note: While none of these screenshots are going to be terribly revealing, I have to say this anyway to cover my ass: some of the following images may contain itty-bitty elements of spoilers. If you have plans to play The Secret World and would like to head in with completely fresh eyes, you may wish to avoid this post. I have also ordered the images from least to most spoilerific.

Wish you were here!

Nick: Look Dear, what a nice, quaint looking town sign.
Laeyn: Oh, oh! Let’s take a photo in front of it together like the annoying tourists that we are!
In the distance: BRAAAAAAAIIIIIINNNNNNNS…

Zombies and fire, not good bedfellows.

Excerpt from the Templar’s Guide to Zombie Defense Training:

Always exercise caution when encountering a zombie on fire. Flames do not affect the undead as it would for humans in that it unfortunately acts as a poor deterrent; however, given time the zombie will eventually be neutralized due to the normal processes of combustion. In other words, flaming zombie kabob. While not necessarily an unwanted result, it’s what occurs in the interim that poses the biggest problem.

This does not bode well…

Kingsmouth town is full of disturbing images like this one, leading you to wonder what might have happened to the poor, hapless bastard who lost all that blood.

Yes, that WTF expression is completely justified.

The denizens of Kingsmouth — or those who survived, anyway — are a pleasant folk, just trying to make do the best they can in a bad situation. Unfortunately, I think being holed up in the middle of a zombie apocalypse has made a lot of them a little loopy. Though in the case of Scrapyard Edgar, it is entirely possible that he might have been like this to begin with.

I hope to hell that you’re not contagious.

Here’s an interesting article about Ragnar Tornquist and how his film background may have influenced TSW’s direction, which I found very enlightening (thank you to @PaganRites for originally pointing me to the link). From the cinematography and high production values evident in the game’s cutscenes to the quality of the script and talented voice work — it all make so much more sense now.

Mommeeeeeeee!

One of my favorite screenshots, not only because it is visually arresting, but also because the quest itself almost made me wet my pants.

Tarantella: “I’m sure ‘Not waving blades around in aircraft’ is on something like page 2 of The Templar Health & Safety Manual, Laeyn. Didn’t you read it?” Hmm, evidently not.

Guest screenshot from fellow cabal member Solaris, from our all-guild run of the instance Polaris (for quest Dead in the Water). Not much to say about this shot that wouldn’t be a spoiler, so I’m just gonna leave you with “Can you say, Cloverfield moment?”

I call this pic, “The Stand.”

Another shot of our heroes: Thermic, Tarantella, Laeyn, Solaris, and Dutty facing down a boss in Polaris. Being specialized for damage but possessing even just the wimpiest of defense abilities immediately elevated me to the position of main tank. A promotion on the battlefield, as it were. Taking a more focused path to tanking may be in order, but what impressed me was how quickly I was able to move some stuff around and still perform quite decently.

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Kingsmouth Hits All The Right Buttons

July 2, 2012

I believe I’ve mentioned before that one of the things that impressed me about The Secret War is its atmosphere. Funcom pays tribute to the masters of horror fiction and media while deftly utilizing elements defined by pop culture to play to our fears. The whole game oozes a dark, creepy vibe, and the town of Kingsmouth illustrates this nicely.

Stalked by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

TSW has perfectly captured a tiny slice of life in this beautiful, once peaceful seaside New England town that has been completely overrun by the forces of undead.

Playing in a dim environment with headphones on, it’s easy to become entirely immersed in the world without realizing that you’ve unwittingly ignored general and cabal chat for the last half hour (so I hope my guildies will forgive me for being anti-social).

It’s not just the quests that have grabbed a Kung Fu death grip hold on my attention, even though the investigation quests do tend to require a lot of concentration. It’s the sights and sounds that really do it for me — sudden loud noises like raid sirens ringing through the mist, the dozens of carrion crows perched disconcertingly over the devastation, or the innocent-looking corpses that suddenly animate as soon as you get close.

I also get a kick out of talking to the survivors of Kingsmouth and the flavor that they bring. I feel the script as well as the voice work are well done, though my husband, a native of Massachusetts, claims that Sheriff Helen Bannerman’s accent makes even the Pepperidge Farm guy sound authentic, so I guess what the hell do I know.

While I was playing yesterday, it occurred to me that seeing other player characters zip back and forth across my field of vision as we all run around actually, well, kind of works in this game. If anything, it plays to the confusion of waking up one day to find yourself sucked into the grips of a zombie apocalypse.

Funny thing is, I also always get this sudden urge to jump in and help another player fight whenever I come cross them in the middle of fending off zombies. Running past them or around them just feels…wrong? After all, humanity has to stick together to survive, and all that jazz. I think I watch too many zombie movies. A lifetime of that has conditioned me never to abandon a fellow human being to the undead.

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The Dialogue Wheel – Pros, Cons and the Falcon Punch

February 3, 2010

Playing Mass Effect 2 has led me to think about the dialogue wheel, the nifty little system that allows the player to choose conversation options when interacting with NPCs in the game. This isn’t my first exposure to it; I was familiar with the dialogue wheel from the original Mass Effect, and it has already been confirmed that Star Wars: The Old Republic will feature a similar if not identical system.

The idea behind it is pretty simple: the dialogue wheel comes up whenever you encounter an NPC you can speak with. Your dialogue choices are arranged around the wheel, and usually just a short snippet of a summary of what you want to say is shown. In Mass Effect, there’s even a pattern as to how these dialogue options are placed. Often, you’ll find the “paragon” or the goody-two-shoes option on the upper right, the “renegade” or the badass option on the bottom, and a more neutral option sandwiched between the two.

Given that the company behind the Mass Effect games is also the one behind SW:TOR, it’s pretty safe to assume that this pattern may be utilized in the upcoming MMORPG as well. Frankly, I’m pretty happy about this because I’m quite a fan of the dialogue wheel, though I do have some concerns. But first, let me go through the pros of this system:

1. It’s clean and tidy. A lot of UIs for MMOs are already way too cluttered, but the dialogue wheel is compact while still managing to serve its purpose.

2. It’s easy for the player to learn where everything is on the wheel. For example, in Mass Effect, whenever you wanted to learn more about something, the “Investigate” option will always appear on the left, and the “Charm” and “Intimidate” options are always going to be on the upper and lower left, respectively.

3. In my opinion, the most important advantage of the dialogue wheel is that for full voice-over games like Mass Effect and Star Wars: The Old Republic, you really don’t need anything more than the brief summaries that are shown. After all, what’s the point of displaying the full dialogue option when it’s just going to be read back to you seconds later?

And now for the cons. For the most part, the summaries on the dialogue wheel correspond well to what actually comes out of your character’s mouth…but sometimes you might just be surprised. The dialogue wheel leaves opportunities for players to select a response with the intent for their character to behave or say something in a certain way, only to have them end up doing something totally unexpected. For example, I doubt many people saw the following coming when they chose the dialogue option innocently labeled “I’ll shut you up!”

Sure, you can point out that any result would have been a renegade response based on the fact that the option was on the lower right portion of the wheel, but the last time I checked, sucker-punching someone in the face isn’t the only way to shut them up.

The fact that the summaries might not accurately reflect the full response is the biggest disadvantage of the dialogue wheel and my main concern regarding its implementation in SW:TOR. It’s all fine and good when something like this happens in a single player game like Mass Effect. Really hate the outcome of your choice? No problem, just reload and try again. But MMO players don’t often have that kind of luxury. While I have faith that Bioware will figure out a way to ensure their players won’t accidentally commit some major action without getting plenty of warning, not ever knowing for certain what your character might say or do will make many think twice before locking in on a dialogue option, thus making this system a possible impediment to the immersive experience and to a player’s overall sense of control.