Narrators in video games have a long history of being able to fill in the gap between teacher and entertainer. In some games, the narrator has a wonderfully diverse sense of humour that keep us holding our sides. In others, they instruct us to use our wits in the most effective way possible. Move past the two though, and on rare occasions players will get a delightful combination of the teacher and entertainer with a narration that lasts a lifetime. With that being said, these are the top 10 video game narrators.
10. Unnamed (Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playground)
Sam and Max: The Devil’s Playhouse, the third season of the episodic series by Telltale Games, is filled with bizarre, surreal, and sometimes nonsensical humor that is truly unique. One of the new things that the third season brought to the table is The Narrator, an obvious parody of Twilight Zone narrator and creator Rod Serling. The Narrator provides some goofy narration at the beginning and end of each episode, but his true nature isn’t revealed until the very end (I’ll leave it at that). This narrator may seem like a rather strange addition to the series at first, but considering he comes from a game that stars a six-foot-tall suit-wearing dog and a hyperactive rabbit who are also detectives, it makes a lot of sense.
9. Zobek (Castlevania: Lords of Shadow)
The telltale sign of a good narrator is, of course, the voice. In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, the narrator is Zobek, whose delightfully powerful voice is done by legendary actor Patrick Stewart. The story of the game Gabriel Belmont’s quest to resurrect his wife and defeat the titular Lords of Shadow, with Zobek providing us with narration in between each level. His voice is commanding and epic, and though it sometimes sounds rather sinister, Stewart’s magnificent voice still manages to captivate you with how elegant it is. This game made me realize that Patrick Stewart is a perfect voice for audiobooks – his command over words is excellent, and his voice is charming in its awesomeness. I highly recommend you take a listen to the narration on YouTube and see just what his voice brings to the table.
8. Max Payne (Max Payne Series)
Dark, noir style video games seem to be an ever fading genre in the vast sea that is gaming titles. One such title from this genre was Max Payne, a game most notable for it’s eerie presentation and woeful narration (In a good way.) The character who was behind such narration was the title lead himself, Max Payne. Using a dark and gritty tone in his voice to often lull the listener into the game’s world, Payne was always an individual who knew how to keep things dreary. His storytelling is so effective in every way, that the game could litreally sell itself on Max’s narration alone and it would still be a hit series. All in all, as weird as it sounds, Max’s Pain makes for a solid narration.
7. Unnamed (Fallout Series)
“War. War never changes.” That haunting, chilling phrase greets you at the beginning of every Fallout game. And in all the games in the series (except for Fallout 4), the narration is provided by Ron Perlman. His iconic voice is one of the staples of the series, and that iconic line is something you immediately think of when you think of the series. It’s a line that sums up the series in general, as even after war destroys the world, people are still fighting each other. Perlman sets up the world wonderfully in each installment, and listening to his wrap-up of the events of the game at the end is always an enjoyable time. It reminds us of our humanity – how violent we can be, but also our strength, our resilience, and our ability to survive.
6. Unnamed (Thomas Was Alone)
Thomas Was Alone is a fun little puzzle platformer following the adventures of a series of shapes. You wouldn’t think this leaves much room for…well, anything in the way of story. The thing is, Thomas Was Alone has one of the most engaging stories of any indie game I’ve ever played. Its characters are well developed, the plot moves along at a brisk pace, and it has some genuinely emotional sequences. All of this is due to the game’s narration, provided by British voice actor and Assassin’s Creed alumni Daniel Wallace. His dry and witty delivery manages to evoke a sense of professionalism throughout the game. Wallace imbues the multicolor blocks that make up the cast with genuine personality, whether it’s the curious Thomas, the bitter Chris, or the (wannabe) heroic Claire among others. This makes the tragic losses and emotional moments the party experiences along the way hit all the harder. Wallace brings a storybook aesthetic to the world of Thomas Was Alone, and the game is all the better for it.