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The Top 8 Video Game Performances in 2019: Death Stranding, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, More

December 31, 2019 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Death Stranding

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week, I’m here to talk about performances in video games. There has been an even larger increase in motion capture/facial capture work done, and this list reflects some of that. Then again, regular old voice acting is still strong as well. Let’s begin:

#8: Pip Torrens (The Curator, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan)

While not quite as funny as he was in Preacher, Pip Torrens was just about the only saving grace of Man of Medan for me. He was sarcastic and sinister, commenting on your choices you made while also telling you what a bad person you are. He’s a lot like the Cryptkeeper from Tales from the Crypt, just instead, it’s a bald Englishman. Actually, the Cryptkeeper was bald also, so maybe they’re the same person? Regardless of that, Torrens delivered about the only non-embarrassing performance in Man of Medan, and that should be called out here.

#7: Norman Reedus (Sam, Death Stranding)

Reedus is on here, kind of by default, since I haven’t seen a ton of Mads in the game yet, and Lea Seydoux has only been in one scene. I generally find Reedus to be a wooden actor, so he is almost perfectly cast a Sam, a guy not entirely comfortable with himself or other people. Also, he does do a lot of good grunting/stumbling sounds as you navigate the landscape. At least he doesn’t have a replacement voice actor like Deadman does.

#6: Laura Post (Catherine, Fire Emblem: Three Houses)

I could frankly fill an entire list of great Fire Emblem: Three Houses performances. But, for the sake of this, I’m limiting it to just two people. I enjoyed Mrs. Post’s performance as Catherine because there was an element of spunkiness to the character. Catherine really could have been written/performed as haughty or insufferable but she really isn’t. She knows she is better than most of the other teachers/Knights, but doesn’t lord it over them. There are some scenes where the façade also drops, and the voice work really shines through. I really look forward to hearing Laura’s work in Persona 5 Royal next year.

#5: Ashly Burch (Parvati, The Outer Worlds)

Let’s be real, Parvati is about the only companion in The Outer Wilds that has any personality. Vicar Max has some fun things to say, but he doesn’t really have a character, as such. Burch imbues Parvati with her best “Kaylee from Firefly” impression, with a slightly naive and sweet performance. Her attempts to flirt/date that floor captain are pleasant and one of the few genuine bits of humanity in the game. Also, it’s a nice departure for Burch, who tends to typically play more brassy characters, having to play a, comparatively, meek one but still hold her own.

#4: Courtney Hope (Jesse Faden, Control)

I would probably say that Jesse Faden is the most fleshed out of all the Remedy protagonists. A lot of this is due to Courtney Hope’s performance. She has to go from being confident to perplexed to taking charge, to confused, all as you play the game and uncover the secrets of the Oldest House. Her inner monologues are great, as she has to process what someone has said/done, in real time, as events unfold. Above all, it’s nice to have a really strong, new, female hero in a game as the actual main character.

#3: Cameron Monaghan (Cal Kestis, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order)

I’ll admit I’ve always liked Cameron Monaghan, even from the first episode of Shameless. I really like his turn as Cal though because while the archetype is fairly standard, there is enough good work in his acting to make it somewhat unique. He’s not too emo, which could be a real danger to a character like this, but is believable in his reactions to what is going on. I’d rather see Cameron in a real-life version of this game as a TV series (or even movie) than most of what went down in Last Jedi or Rise of Skywalker. The only real downside is that the main woman, Trilla, should have been played by Emma Kenney.

#2: Takuya Kimura (Takayuki Yagami, Judgement)

Kiryu was always a tad wooden because he was an artificial character. Yagami was a lot more detailed and expressive since he was based on Kimura. If you look at that guy, you can clearly see that he was the model for Yagami. While I’m sure the English voice acting is decent, I played the game with the Japanese audio track and Kimura’s voice acting, of which there is a lot of, was all great. He came across as someone who was haunted but also did have a jovial personality, especially when he was hanging out with his friend Kaito. The only downside to his performance is the lack of Karaoke songs, which would have been really great to see.

#1: Tara Platt (Edelgard, Fire Emblem: Three Houses)

Mrs. Platt has to walk a fairly fine line in the role of Edelgard. While the character can come across as arrogant, there are some specific moments where her vulnerabilities come through and you see her having some doubts. Her real performance sines through though, when it’s revealed (Spoiler Alert) that Edelgard is in fact the Flame Emperor. When this character reveal is done, especially if you’re part of her house, then you can see the real differences in the voice work and just how good she is in the role. I’ve always been a fan of Tara’s work but her role as Edeglard is one of her best.

For comments, list which performances you liked in 2019 and why.

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Top 8 Video Games of 2019

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The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison