Tag Archives: voice acting

Blameless is ironically not without its faults


I don’t play many horror games. Honestly, I’d like to touch more, truly, but I have a hard time being the deciding factor of opening that creaky door and stepping into the dimly-lit room full of monsters with only a twig as my sole mean of defense. I’m thinking the last one I danced with was Silent Hill 2, some three years back, and I made a promise to play Silent Hill 3 last year around Halloween…but that never happened. There’s also Outlast, Siren: Blood Curse, and Lone Survivor, installed and waiting. They might be waiting for a long time. Heck, I even have that last named game ready to go in two different locations (laptop and PlayStation 3). Nah, the mood is never right, and by “the mood,” I naturally mean my mood.

So, what pushed me over the edge to play Blameless, which is totally a horror thing? Well, besides being completely free to play, I saw via HowLongToBeat that it was a quick experience, with completion times ranging in the fifty- to sixty-minutes range. “I can handle that,” I told myself, clicking the “play” button and sitting up straighter in my chair. I also politely asked my cat Timmy not to make any sudden jumps on to my lap. Surprisingly, he behaved.

All right, here’s the rundown on Blameless. It’s a mysterious first-person adventure focusing primarily on solving puzzles in the vein of collect specific item and use it on another specific item correctly to make magic happen. Point and click, but with more exploration. You are an architect dude–maybe you have a name, but I can’t recall what it is–investigating a potential project house currently under a lot of construction. Alas, once there, you get bopped in the head by the man you agreed to meet and left in a locked room. As you make your escape, you discover more acts of violence. Your best chance is to get out of there and call the cops.

Visually, the game has a decent look. It’s no PT, but it makes a valiant attempt. I mean, it’s a house full of clutter and the remnants of bereft construction workers. I’m not expecting beauty from the tool benches, garbage bins, and unused materials, but it does all seem to look as it should, and that fact helps create a realistic, believable environment. That makes poking around in its darker corners all the more unnerving. The voice acting, unfortunately, is sub-par and really jarring, and the puzzles never become more complicated than finding the right item to use where it is supposed to be used. I will give the developer props for making me use a set of keys twice and actually take them out of the first padlock manually; I mean, that’s how you’d do it in real life, but a lot of games would have automated that process so you wouldn’t stall moving forward.

Unfortunately, Blameless broke in a big, big way right near the end, to the point that I had to abandon the whole sojourn and look up how it ended via YouTube. Ironically, I was almost there, only a few footsteps from the conclusion myself. Oh well. For some reason, after a spoiler thing happened and I failed to remain alive, the game reloaded me into a previous checkpoint, except all the walls of the room were missing and I couldn’t interact with anything. Basically, I killed the scripting and found myself unable to move forward. I tried re-loading the same checkpoint multiple times to only end up at the same roadblock. For a free game that took me only about an hour to get through and wasn’t anything I’d shout from the mountaintops about, I can’t be too annoyed, though it certainly cemented my thoughts about its quality right then and there. The ending tries to stuff a somewhat unbelievable twist in there and really force it down your throat; I wasn’t a fan.

Let’s hope whatever the next scary game I play at least lets me complete it.

30 Days of Gaming, #26 – Best voice acting

Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain is infamous for its truculently long loading times, but I actually really liked the game, especially its voiceover work. If anything, that’s what I remember most, Kain narrating his own journey to the Pillars of Nosgoth. Now, I know the topic train for today’s meme entry calls for the “best voice acting,” but there were really too many choices to pick from these days, as the bar has been raised and re-raised over the last few years thanks to titles like L.A. Noire, Mass Effect, and Bioshock. So, instead, I went with a game that had great voice acting though I’m positive nobody would back me up if I called it the best.

As will soon be revealed, I love The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It’s a game I’ve played and replayed, discovering new things in it each time and just losing myself in the world and its characters. I can still remember how confused I was when Link switched between the Light World and Dark World, turning into a bunny elf thing, a sad reflection of his inner self. And when he…wait, no. I’m not here to talk about Link’s journey to rescue Zelda from Agahnim, as well as get the Master Sword and three mystical pendants. That’s another blog post, definitely forthcoming.

Transitioning on, when Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain came out in 1996 for the PlayStation, it was like getting an adult version of A Link to the Past. There was blood and violence and cruelty and creepiness, all played in a top-down perspective with a journey across an expansive land where collecting items and power-ups would help the hero explore even further. Plus, you drank blood from unsuspecting humans to regain health. I don’t even remember how I was able to buy it at the sweet age of 13, but I had. Or maybe someone else had for me. Can’t really picture that happening, as the only times I used a neighbor’s help was for getting discounted games from the now extinct Kay Bee Toys, such as Suikoden and Wild Arms. Either way, I had a copy of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, and I played it night after night, my best friend over, stretched out on the floor, wide-eyed at the crazy beheadings and bloody swordsmanship. It was crazy times back then.  And while FMVs were a new and cool thing at the time, they were bereft of voice acting. For that glorious work, you had to play the game and discover.

Going back, it’s amazing to hear how similar Kain narrates his journey in an almost Bastion-like way, commenting on items he picks and locales he passes by in real time. It’s hard to say what was more exciting: gaining a new power or hearing Kain’s description of it. Simon Templeman‘s confident, scorned voice does wonders to bringing Kain to life, and that’s saying a lot considering he’s undead. The soundtrack also plays ally, backing Templeman with bells and choir harmonies and ominously held notes. If medieval times had a soundtrack, this is it. Kain is certainly the star of the show in Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen, but there’s some other spectacular performances to call out, such as Paul Lukather as the ancient and reclusive vampire Vorador and Tony Jay as the cunning puppet-master Mortanius.

Some of my favorite quotes from the game follow. Naturally, they do not read as well as they are heard, but whatever. I’m not in the mood to link to a bunch of YouTube videos. Those interested can certainly seek Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen out to see and hear what it’s like. Right:

“In his life, he was unknown…a petty noble. In death, he was unknown. Yet by choosing oblivion, he restored balance to the land. Shades cast no shadows.” – Ariel

“I am the last Pillar. The only survivor of the Circle of Nine. At my whim, the world will be healed or damned. At my whim.” – Kain

“The world had changed to my eyes. I had not expected such cruelty from the light. For in the embrace of the sun, I could find no comfort, only malice. This would change in time for the worse, along with other thing.” – Kain

I never got to play any of the other games in the series, like Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, but it seems like some of the same voice actors carried over. Might have to try and find a used copy or two. Y’know, just to hear my friends again.