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Subtitles or spoken dialogue?


Thor
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Subtitles or spoken dialogue?  

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Posts about the subtitles in the Witcher 3 thread got me wondering about everyone's preference for spoken vs written dialogue in games. 

 

Personally, I usually always prefer spoken dialogue if the option is there, and turn off the subtitles (because my brain can't ignore them if they're there). The exception here is Disco Elysium, the original on PC, which has such bad voice acting I simply had to turn it all off, it was ruining the (genuinely great) game for me, besides which it's not really a game that actually needs voice acting.  But for games like Witcher 3, the Mass Effects, Uncharteds & Last of Us etc. I'll enjoy the cut scenes, with all the voice acting (good and hilariously bad) that goes with it. Even the Destiny games, which have some genuinely bad voice acting (original Dinklebot, Sagira, The Drifter ...) I just love.

 

But I've seen there are some (perhaps many?) who will happily read the subtitle for spoken dialogue and, once read, skip to the next line before the voice acting is finished. Well, that's efficient, but I am a touch surprised. So ... a poll!

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I'm currently replaying Persona 4 Golden and doing option one. I imagine it would be infuriating for onlookers :lol: but perhaps I’m only skipping because it’s a replay? Also I can't guarantee that I'll pick up on "made-up fantasy bullshit" words without subs.

 

Foreign-language games (dubs vs subs) is probably a different discussion, but generally I'm never that picky.

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It's a bit of a mixed bag from me.  Mostly, I would play without subtitles on and try to get by by listening to the game audio.  If I miss a snippet, then that's on me!  I kinda like that, works nicely in more 'open' games, e.g. Witcher. 

 

However, if a game has annoying/bad VO then I tend to turn on subs, change voice language if that's an option, and skip once read. 

 

If a game has excruciating story/cutscenes (e.g. It Takes Two) then I just skip everything possible. 

 

It baffles me that my kids watch everything on Netflix and youtube with subs turned on.  Why?! It's so distracting. 

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Always subtitles. I'm an avid reader and read all the time - I'm simply used to it. I even put subtitles on if the game is in my native language. It's also much more comfortable for me because I often have to play rather silently, due to the kids...

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@Thor

 

Ha, that's weird - I was thinking the other day about making a thread very similar to this one.

 

I like spoken dialogue OR subtitles, but what annoys me is when a game will have VA but you can't turn off the subtitles. As you mention, you can't not read the subtitles if they're there and you end up reading them more quickly than the dialogue is spoken, so you just end up skipping the line once you've read it.

 

This was a big bone of contention with me in Hades, which was an otherwise perfect game, especially as the VA in it was so good. Text was always displayed alongside the speech in those text boxes next to each character's avatar. It was the same with The Forgotten City, which I played last week: you couldn't turn the subtitles off so I just ended up skim reading what everyone said and skipping through their speech.

 

This is actually one of the things that's stopped me from going back to The Final Cut of Disco Elysium, as I know (similar to all CRPGs) you won't be able to turn the dialogue boxes off. But then, in that game, there are so many new proper nouns that it's near-essential to have the subtitles turned on so that you can figure out what people are talking about.

 

I think the ideal is to have subtitles which appear just as each word is spoken, so you can still see what is being said but you can't skip ahead, either.

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there was something in written dialogue that existed in Zelda for example when you would just imagine the voices and the characters would just make a noise. There was some magic in that shit that I think we have lost now that Legos can talk.

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1 hour ago, Qazimod said:

I'm currently replaying Persona 4 Golden and doing option one. I imagine it would be infuriating for onlookers :lol: 

 

This is exactly what I do (subtitles and dialogue on, skip the dialogue early when I've read the subtitle) and I can confirm that it drives anyone else in the room bananas. 

 

I recall it being particularly bad for my wife when I was playing Bloodborne. Talking to The Doll would sound like 'Welcome hunt...thank yo...and so... farewell' like someone was rapidly turning the volume up and down. 

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Generally, I opt for the spoken dialogue. But I'd quickly shift to the subtitles if the voice acting is a bit wooden and the scenes in question largely consist of two characters staring blankly at each other.

 

If you're going to give me dialogue, also give me something to look at and enjoy, not a bad model with terrible lipsync.

 

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I tend to play with Japanese voices and subtitles where applicable. If it’s meant to be spoken in English then I’ll let it play in English and the subs can do one. I usually end up skipping lots of dialogue though.

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Not long started AC Valhalla and was thinking about this in the opening hour or two. Think I’m going to turn the subtitles off, games just feel more immersive without them.

 

Ghost of Tsushima with Japanese voice acting and English subs felt epic though.

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Always have them both on. No specific reason but if it’s a dialogue heavy game I can read faster than they speak so it’s quicker. Sometimes you can miss words spoken too, because of other game noise, accents, or crap sound mixing.

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18 hours ago, T Pot said:

Got a Deaf Wife. We have subtitles on for everything. It feels weird if we don't have them on something now.

 

English is not my other half's first language, so whilst she's virtually fluent to speak to, she prefers having subtitles on if possible. I've now got so used to it that it's weird for me not to have them on anymore. I turn them on for everything - games, TV shows and movies if they're available now.

 

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It depends on the game. A lot of 'acting' is shite, where the characters just stand there looking blank. A lot of the voice acting is shite, a lot of writing is even more shite and (most annoyingly) a lot of games have brutal pauses between lines or just take 10 minutes to spout a few sentences. They can all get skipped.

 

I actually quite like games that do most of the character building chat and banter when you are on a travelling horse or in a boat or whatever and keep the cut scenes short.

 

 

 

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I find that a lot of games will have important dialogue shouted at you in busy, noisy scenes - the Modern Warfare reboot was terrible for this - and in any event, I find it hard to pay attention to dialogue if I'm playing a game. My brain doesn't seem to be as good at following a storyline if I have a controller in my hand. So I tend to have subtitles on, unless it's a game I'm very familiar with.

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Both. Because video games invariably have made up names or places,  and a lot of them  , so when a story tells me I need to travel to “zybanthanox ix” or go and talk to “preceptor carthramamican” I need subtitles cos otherwise I’ll be all like “what did he say?” 

 

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