Today, dear readers, I am going to talk to you about my favorite game in my PS2 library. Yes, I love it even more than Mister Mosquito.
The game I speak of is a hidden gem in its own right. It’s gained a cult following over the past few years, but is still relatively unknown. I might go so far as to say it’s a legend; a beautiful, beautiful legend. Ladies and gentlemen, for the unaware, feast your eyes on Chaos Wars.
It looks kind of fun, right? Look at all those anime characters on that cover. They all actually look kind of well designed! And that’s because they’re all from existing properties.
Chaos Wars was made by Idea Factory as a crossover game between several RPG series that were popular in Japan. It was a pretty massive crossover, crossing over games such as Shadow Hearts, Growlanser, Blazing Souls, Spectral Souls: Resurrection of the Ethereal Empires, Gungrave, and Shinsengumi Gungraw Den.
Never has such a collection of games I’ve never heard of been assembled in one place. “But Siege,” I hear you shout, accusingly, “Why would you waste money on a crossover game when you don’t understand anything that’s being crossed over?” The answer to that, children, will come in good time.
Chaos Wars is a turn-based tactics game, much like Disgaea, except gameplay doesn’t occur on a grid. Instead, your movement is determined by linear distance traveled, and your attacks are affective within a circular range. In this sense, Chaos Wars delivers fairly well. The RPG gameplay is solid and legitimately fun.
The battle system doesn’t appear to be as deep as some other series in emulates, but I actually prefer that. While the depth of games like Disgaea is fun sometimes, I like having a game that is a little bit more forgiving.
Personally, I’ve enjoyed the game as far as I’ve played it. The dialogue is decently written, and the Japanese voice acting is pretty spot-on. However, I didn’t buy this game for the gameplay, the writing, or the Japanese voice acting. I bought this game for one reason, which those of you who have heard of this game before surely know.
I bought this game for the dub, and what a dub it is.
You may mistake this for a fandub, and no one would blame you. And that’s exactly why I love this game.
You see, this game is the stuff of legends. No one seems to know much about it’s localization or how this dub was put together. But it was, and that’s beautiful. All that we know about this game is based on assumption. For example. since most of the voice actors share last names with people who worked on its localization, we can assume that the voice actors are probably all friends or family with the people working on the localization.
Presumeably, O-3 Entertainment had little to no budget when localizing this game. In fact, Chaos Wars was the last game they published before closing their doors in 2008. By the way, go back and listen to that dub while remembering that this game came out on the PS2 in 2008. These aren’t the early days of voice acting. This game came out after games like Bioshock, Halo 3, and Mass Effect. Just let that sink in for a moment.
Not only did O-3 seem to rely on friends and family, but they didn’t even try to find friends or family with any kind of interest in acting. A few characters’ voices try very hard and end up with respectable performances (all things considered). Those voices are few and far between, and are completely drowned out by voices that simply don’t care, or voice actors who don’t seem to have basic reading skills at some points. In fact, it even seems like the game was made using entirely first takes of voice acting.
This combination, though, makes for what might be the most eclectic and interesting instance of bad voice acting ever. You really have no idea what you’re going to get from this game. What is the next character going to sound like? Are they going to be insanely bored? Are they going to be extremely effiminate for no real reason? Are they going to read sentences in such broken ways that you wonder if they passed the first grade? Or maybe they’ll just literally screech at you. There’s no way to know.
I haven’t gotten very far in this game due to the voice acting alone. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love how awful the voice acting is. It’s legendary in its awful voice acting, almost the video game equivalent of The Room in terms of acting. It’s enjoyable on an almost morbid level, but it has to be taken in small doses. After all, when the first enemy you encounter makes this noise:
You have to take a break or two.
You don’t have to take my word for it, though! You can buy Chaos Wars on Amazon for less than $20. Then, you can experience this beautiful monstrosity for yourselves.
Can you think of a more hilarious voice acting job than this? Let me know in the comments. And hey, maybe you’d like to give some of my other articles a read.