TA Top Five: Voice Actors

By Marc Hollinshead, 4 years ago
When you think about how a game's story progresses and what causes the emotional impact, it always leads back to the characters. The people/creatures of our precious games are vast and numerous and there are a multitude of different personalities to be found. What actually is it that really fleshes them out, though? While looking the part is certainly helpful to their cause, it's the voice that takes them to another level, and it's the beautiful people of the real world that help to do that. That's why we've decided to go down a different route with our Top Five this week. We're going beyond the boundaries of games themselves and taking a look at the best voices the gaming industry has to offer.

Due to how downright amazing voice actors are, this list was particularly tricky to pick out. Don't be disheartened by not seeing your favourite actor mentioned/placed lower than you'd hoped. They all have a unique quality to offer!

Honorable Mentions

Liam O'Brien

Liam O'Brien

To go with that almost ruminate-like expression, Mr O'Brien has the voice to match. He tends to side towards those with deep, brooding voices or at least someone who has a bit of flare in their attitude. Cute little children can stay clear of this guy. He's had the privilege of jumping into the shoes of Asura in Asura's Wrath, War in Darksiders and even Father Balder in Bayonetta. See what I mean by deep and brooding? The flare box also gets a giant tick thanks to Balder and his peacock feathered outfit.

Claudia Black

Claudia Black

This glamorous lady has quite the voice. To accompany her intellectual persona, Ms. Black is able to bring a character to life in ways that many women would struggle with. She possesses a voice that fits perfectly with intelligent women who don't fit the "girly" stereotype and so fantasy and sci-fi is most definitely where she belongs. Morrigan from the Dragon Age series, Admiral Xen from Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 and Sam Byrne from Gears of War 3 are proof that it's not all handbags and high heels with the women of today.

Melissa Hutchison

Melissa Hutchison

Whereas Liam O'Brien is comfortable with the dark and brooding, this lady is quite the opposite. With her exceptional acting, she has brought gamers to tears as they've watched Clementine from The Walking Dead endure the worst life possible for a child. It can be extremely tough to make a character this believable, especially when it's a child, but Hutchison perfected Clementine as a character. Even though she's slightly older in The Walking Dead: Season Two, Clementine is still a child at heart thanks to that heart-wrenching voice work.

Top Five

5. Mark Hamill

Mark Hamill

Voice acting is so much of a thrill that even Luke Skywalker had to check out. Mark Hamill is probably known most for that role but he also did one heck of a job as The Joker in the Batman games. Although he stepped down after Batman: Arkham City (Xbox 360), he left on a high note. The Joker is a dastardly villain with a crooked mind who needs a voice to match and Hamill delivered on that front in bucket loads. With his experience as the character throughout the years in animated series', it was nothing short of perfect by the time he brought that maniacal laugh to the gaming world.

4. Laura Bailey

Laura Bailey

Laura Bailey is a well known name in the gaming scene as she's dabbled in many projects. Anime is one of her strong suits, and as a fan of anime, I approve of that so she's a winner in my book. While conveying that full-on "girly" persona as Catherine in Catherine, she can also turn the tables and bring forth a dark and mysterious character like Lady Comstock in BioShock Infinite (Xbox 360). For The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim fans, she also voiced the vampire, Serana in the "Dawnguard" DLC, so like Claudia Black, it isn't just handbags and high heels for this lady either (although she probably loves a good pair of leather boots).

3. Nolan North

Nolan North

This gentleman is another one of those well known voices on the gaming front. Those of us who have played (or at least watched) the Uncharted games will know him as the voice of Nathan Drake, but he has also performed exceptionally on this side of the console waters as well. Desmond Miles of the Assassin's Creed series was brought to life by Mr. North as well so he's played some rather substantial roles. He is able to bring out his own personality in his performance and the epitome of that would probably be as Deadpool (Xbox 360). Everyone loves a quirky performer, and if you want that done right, then call Nolan North.

2. Tara Strong

Tara Strong

There's something about hearing an adult take on a high-pitched child-like voice and making it work that's just incredible. Tara Strong has had plenty of experience doing just that with her role as Timmy Turner in The Fairly Odd Parents and even Dil Pickles in Rugrats. On the gaming side of the spectrum, she has also done plenty. While Nolan North voices quirky male characters, Mrs. Strong is able to create extravagantly humorous and eccentric female characters. She has graced the Batman games as Harley Quinn, Seth in Lost Odyssey and to top it off, Juliet Starling in Lollipop Chainsaw. If being a high school cheerleader who shreds zombies to pieces with a giant chainsaw isn't an awesome role to play, then I don't know what is. Tara Strong has been well acquainted with voice acting for years, and we should expect to see her work flowering in TV and games for many more.

1. Troy Baker

Troy Baker

It's hard to count how many voices this guy has done as he seems to crop up just about everywhere. Baker is one of the go-to voice actors when you want a fully fleshed out character and so he has brought life to many video game characters over the years. Originating from Texas, he was the perfect fit for Joel in The Last of Us as one of his recent major roles but alas, Xbox gamers didn't have the joy of experiencing his performance first-hand. 2013 was quite the year for him as he also excellently voiced the main character of BioShock Infinite (Xbox 360), Booker DeWitt. For a character whose face you barely ever see, that's quite a feat. Further down the timeline, he voiced the b*****d space ninja that is Kai Leng from Mass Effect 3, so we can see from these roles alone that Baker can put his mark on all sorts of characters. I'm sure we'll see him again soon in someone else's shoes, but who that person is could be anyone's guess.

Those are our picks for the best that voice acting has to offer. While these guys have done some exceptional work, there are plenty more out there who have given us fantastic characters. Did your favourite make the list? If not, be sure to let us know in the comments who yours is!

The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five every Sunday until we run out of coolness to debate and discuss. If you have an idea for a Top Five you'd like us to do, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.