language learning for my Japanese. I found it really interesting hearing the Japanese voice track and actually preferred quite a few of the Japanese voices, not because the English voice acting was bad (I don't even mind the infamous ‘hahaha’ scene), just because of personal preference. I got very used to trying to get some sort of meaning from the Japanese which was great for when I play games in Japanese only, but pretty much ruined subbed games for me.
I'd like to stress that subbed games being ruined for me isn't anyone's fault but my own for the most part. What's happened is that now when I play a subbed game, I'm still trying to get meaning from the Japanese and during this, there’s a chance I’ll get completely wrapped up in the concept of exact translation vs localisation. I get tied up in really small localisation tidbits, not because I know better than the wonderful people who localisation, but just hearing minor differences. I can't think of any specific instances recently as I've been strictly using dubs for a while but it could be the difference between something in the Japanese track saying ‘yes’ and the English track changing it to ‘Yes sir’ or ‘Yeah man’. The meaning is the same but the personality being displayed in the speaking style is enough to set my brain into overdrive. For a lot of people this probably is a non-issue, but for me it really pulls me out of being immersed in the game.
favourite games of last year, Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth, is only available in English in subbed form. Even though it had a few very minor typos here and there, the deep gameplay and fun story was enough to keep me absorbed and hearing the great Japanese voice acting was a nice bonus. An English dub would have been nice but with all the Digimon to voice alongside the main characters, it would no doubt be expensive and for a smaller game, I can see why they saved the money and just released the sub.
Do you prefer subs, dubs or the native experience? What's your favourite dubbed-JRPG?
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