Highlights Immersive voice acting is crucial in creating a believable and engaging gaming experience, relying on audio mixing, script quality, and actor skill. The Stanley Parable and Disco Elysium use voice acting to enhance the storytelling and create a sense of intrigue, confusion, and distrust.
When creating an immersive gaming experience that truly feels as if the player has transported themselves into a completely new world, it’s not just about the visual experience, but the auditory too. Voice acting can make or break a game, and it all depends on the audio mixing, the quality of the script, and the skill of the actors.
However, it’s not all just about how convincing the voice acting is, but how immersive it is. Does the auditory experience feel cohesive? Do all the characters feel part of their own little world? Ensuring that the characters all fit together in the world-building process is a big part of creating a genuinely engaging gaming experience. Here are some video games with the most immersive voice acting.8 Resident Evil 7
Horror games are best when they make the player feel isolated and alone in the world the developers have created. For years, the Resident Evil series was successful but notorious for its campy voice acting; until the release of Resident Evil 7.
RE7 was considered the rebirth of the RE series by many fans and always stood out because of its drastic shift in themes; bringing the action-filled RE series back to its survival horror roots. RE7 introduced a very different kind of environment but still managed to feel a bit familiar. Aside from protagonist Ethan’s realistic performance, Jack and Marguerite’s voice acting was properly terrifying. The player could hear the twisted pain and anger in their voices as they fought Ethan and met their untimely ends.7 Portal (Series)
The sound design in the Portal series is a great example of creating a believable, concealed world from just sounds and voices. Portal and Portal 2 both instill an eerie atmosphere, one that makes the player feel as if they are truly the only living being in a vast and seemingly endless facility.
The beloved antagonist, GLaDOS, is iconic and can be recognized in an instant by just about any avid gamer. Her voice, along with the pesky little core, Wheatley (introduced in the sequel), set the tone perfectly and manages to bring the still and sterile Aperture Science training facility to life.6 The Last Of Us (Series)
Even with setting aside Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson’s breathtaking vocal and motion capture performances as Joel and Ellie, The Last Of Us still has a ton of audio-based world-building to offer. One of the most notable characters whose voice acts as the “face” for the post-apocalyptic world of The Last Of Us isn’t even a protagonist; let alone a character with a name.
It’s not a singular boss or infected that The Last of Us fans fear the most, but the entire variation that sends shivers down everyone’s spine. The Clicker is the third and last stage of infection, leaving its decayed victim with no means of sight other than sound. Clickers rely on echolocation in order to find their prey and thus were born the terrifying (and iconic) Clicker noises (courtesy of actors Misty Lee and Phillip Kovats) that were present in both the video game and the HBO television series.5 Layers Of Fear
The atmosphere in Layers Of Fear is eerie, mysterious, and uncomfortable, and keeps the player on edge during every second of the game; and that’s just what the developers intended. A horror game isn’t supposed to make a player feel at home, it’s meant to create a thrilling experience rather than a relaxing one.
The unnamed protagonist is the primary voice the player hears throughout the game and immediately, just from the tone of his narration, the atmosphere is set. While the player character (often referred to as “The Artist”) starts off as a young, ambitious artist with a good head on his shoulders, it’s clear that his physical and mental well-being began to deteriorate. Not only is the player constantly haunted by the voice of the terrifying antagonist of Layers Of Fear, but they’re also controlling him.
The world-building in Hades did have a crutch to help get players into the world featured in the game, but aside from the already established presence of Greek mythology in real-world literature, Hades still managed to create a universe that felt fresh and imaginative.
The voice acting (and overall sound design) of Hades does wonders for getting players in the shoes of young Zagreus. The voice acting in the game all have similar (but not the exact same) direction that makes them feel cohesive and belonging to the same realm. From the smooth calmness and sophisticated wit of Thanatos to the charmingly snarky attitude of Meg, the Hades characters are definitely responsible for getting players in the right mindset before heading off to escape the Underworld once again.3 The Fall
In a game full of AIs, it’s strange to think that there could be an immensely personal feel to the overall storyline. The Fall follows Arid (short for her actual name, “Autonomous Robotic Interface Device”), the operating system built into the Mark-7 Combat Suit of the now unconscious Col. Josephs after his spaceship crashes on an unknown planet.
Arid’s only goal as an AI is to take over the Mark-7 Suit and get her pilot to safety and seek medical attention. While she begins her journey as a rigid and cold being, she meets other AI (“The Administrator” in particular) and begins to interact with them in rather human-like ways.
Comparing Arid’s robotic way of speaking to Admin’s loose, very casual speech pattern paints a detailed picture of exactly how different these two AIs are and how they decided to view the world and their objectives.2 The Stanley Parable
The Stanley Parable takes the player on a pensive journey with multiple endings, all about the concept of free will and what happens when a player contradicts instructions given in a self-aware game. The infamous narrator is the only voiced character in the game and begins as a simple third-person, omnipotent being that simply voices the game’s events. However, as the player begins to question the narrator’s motives and directions by not following orders, the narrator slowly becomes more hostile toward the player and changes the story accordingly.
Although it seems as if the narrator has ulterior motives and is lying to the player, players often still choose to trust him to some extent because his words are simply all they are given to go off of. Between the isolation and suffocating back-seating,The Stanley Parable successfully creates a sense of confusion, intrigue, and distrust, simply from a voice.1 Disco Elysium
The whole crux that lies in the middle of Disco Elysium (besides the murder to be solved at hand) is the drug-fueled amnesia that the player character (unnamed at first, later revealed to be named Harry) awakens with at the very beginning. The moment Disco Elysium begins, the work of the incredible narrators and voice cast immediately transports the player to Martinaise, trapping them in the frenzied mind of the troubled detective.
The Disco Elysium experience is akin to having one of the best and most charismatic GM/DMs in a murder mystery tabletop RPG. Each narrator in Harry’s mind conveys a very specific kind of emotion after every skill check and does a fantastic job of “doing the thinking (or rather feeling) for the player”. Aside from the narration, the game has a talented cast for the rest of the characters in the game Harry interacts with as well, giving Martinaise a sense of liveliness despite its gloomy visual atmosphere.