This third-person shooter was told in first-person narrative, and so the narrator, our titular Alan Wake, had to give a good performance or else we'd be sick of his voice by the end of the game. Luckily, the performance wasn't only good, it was game-shaping. Alan was terrified when you were supposed to be terrified and contemplative when you were supposed to be confused. He slowly recounted all the actions he took in the game, with you at the helm. He made the game feel real, which made the game that much more disturbing. Without this stunning narrative performance, the whole game simply wouldn't have worked.
Final Fantasy XII didn't have the best voice acting out there. In fact, some of it was flat out horrendous. (For the last time, you are not Captain Basch fon Ronsenburg of Dalmasca. You are a stupid little kid who doesn't know how to wear a vest of the right size.) However, deep in this muck is Balthier, a character who routinely refers to himself as the leading man, and makes a very good argument for why he probably should have been the main character all along. Balthier is a smooth-talking gunman who knows what he wants and takes it. He has a slick British accent, and he speaks with believable emotion. He successfully manages to show every emotion from happiness to anger to fear and everything in between over the course of the game. Compared to characters like Penelo who have one emotion: brick, Balthier is a god among voice acting.
Snake is one of the most iconic video game voices of all time. He's responsible for one-liners such as "Ugh, Metal Gear!" and "Otacon!" Normally, tough guy voices are a dime a dozen. Duke Nukem, Kratos, anyone from Gears of War: they're all the same, but David Hayter's performance as Snake has managed to stick with us over the years. In fact, he's the only tough guy voice actor to really survive from the PSOne era. (Except for John St. John's Duke Nukem, of course, but it's hard to say that Duke Nukem: Forever really counts.)
Without Ellen McLain's wonderful portrayal of GLaDOS, Portal would be half the game it is today. In Portal 1, she successfully portrayed the most passive-aggressive A.I. you could possibly dream up, and in Portal 2 she just got better. No other voice actor or actress made us laugh so much while being simultaneously terrified. Well, no good voice actor of actress at least. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night may give GLaDOS a run for her money on the "funny and terrifying" spectrum, but it was funny and terrifying because of how bad it is, though it's not nearly bad enough to make this list.
Mark Hammil's Joker is easily the best Joker of all time. Move over Heath Ledger, Jack Nicholson, and whoever played the Joker on the Adam West show. Mark Hammil's Joker on Batman: The Animated Series gave me nightmares when I was a kid, and now that it is partnered with the grizzled, almost decaying face from Arkham Asylum, it's giving me nightmares as an adult. He is, simply put, the perfect villain with the perfect voice. I don't think anyone in a video game has outdone him yet.
By Angelo D'Argenio
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*