When it comes to video games that are predominantly story-driven or text-based, dialogue, whether we like to believe it or not, is everything. Without a solid script to bring out the best in their characters, an otherwise immersive experience can fall incredibly flat. And making dialogue seem effortless and natural is, without a doubt, the biggest issue for most, if not all writers. Nail it, though, and a run-of-the-mill project can blossom into something extraordinary. Get it wrong, and no amount of redeeming qualities will ever be able to fix what’s already been butchered.
Of course, we’ve seen more than enough bad scripts over the years, many of which have been billed as hallmarks of hilarity. Question is, which scripts have conjured the most belly laughs over the last, say, two or three decades? Well, here are the god-awful passages we remember, though perhaps for all the wrong reasons.
5. Resident Evil
Capcom has never been one to deviate from the cheesy dialogue and clichés — even after Resident Evil swung for a more serious tone in the early noughties. Prior to swapping out the formula for a darker script, the zombie survival horror series was known for having some of the worst monologues in gaming, something that was only exacerbated by the hilariously bad voice acting.
As much as we enjoy hearing the monotone “you were almost a Jill sandwich” line from Resident Evil, we do have to face facts that the Capcom writers, as talented as they were, really didn’t know how to translate quality lines into genuinely convincing character dialogue. That said, its unintentionally bad script and flat voice acting was partly the reason for its success. And that’s a fact.
4. Duke Nukem (Series)
If there’s any series that’ll make you wince in second-hand embarrassment, it’s Duke Nukem. And not just any Duke Nukem game — but every Duke Nukem game. Thanks to the blonde hunk of meat and his laughably brutish demeanour, the entire saga was laden with questionably shallow dialogue, most of it being based around, you know, “babes” and bazookas.
Let it be said that Duke Nukem isn’t a bad series. However, some of the lines it waltzed away with back in the nineties most definitely wouldn’t ship in today’s world. Perhaps, then, that that’s reason why Forever crashed as hard as it did. It wasn’t a bad third-person shooter by any means. But it was, however, very poorly written, and spinning it as hilariously bad would probably be an understatement. Interested in seeing it first-hand? Well, “what are you waiting for? Christmas?”
3. Dynasty Warriors (Series)
As iconic as the line “do not pursue Lu Bu” is, Dynasty Warriors is definitely lumbered with shockingly bad one-liners and criminally bankrupt monologues. It’s not that the series is bad or anything, but its scripts are definitely questionable, even at the best of times. And that English dub that Omega Force has been trying to get right these past twenty years? Boy, oh boy.
While hack and slash games aren’t typically known for their compelling scripts, there’s definitely a par that yearns to be met. Dynasty Warriors, however, has fallen short in just about every entry the developer has served up to date. The nail in the coffin, though, is and always will be the line “I defeated an Officer,” a passage that has been used more times than any quote ever. What’s funny is the developer’s inability to comprehend the idea of expanding its vocabulary.
2. Silent Hill 2
It’s one thing to include an alternate ending that puts a dog as the main antagonist, but to add a whole reel of bad dialogue that spoils the horrifying ambience is a step too far. That being said, Silent Hill 2 is still considered to be one of the best survival horror games of all time, in spite of it being loaded with caricatures and tasteless off-the-cuff one-liners.
Silent Hill 2, at least atmospherically, is on point, and it’s a crying shame that a lot of the game’s cinematics are bogged down by laughably bad small talk and melodramatic gestures. Eddie, alone, is just one of the reasons why gamers remember the belly laughs more than the bone-shattering chills. Because let’s be honest, who actually sits around eating pizza in the middle of a demon outbreak? Eddie, that’s who. Apparently.
1. Kingdom Hearts
It’s true, Kingdom Hearts does get a lot of stick for its monumentally complex storyline and incomprehensible nexus of side characters. What doesn’t help is its poor script, which doesn’t even alleviate the weight of the narrative in the slightest. Although it does have its heartwarming moments, its dialogue, in general, is borderline cringe. And it doesn’t matter how much you adore Disney, because there’s just no excusing its excessive amount of questionable monologues.
Kingdom Hearts is a series that tries its absolute hardest to be inclusive of all gamers and their genre preferences. Unfortunately for Square Enix, though, the action role-playing...thing, bit off far more than it could chew, and it seemed as if the dialogue was trying to appeal to one too many audiences. That said, if you love a bit of cheese peppered on your RPG, and you aren’t one too quiver at the sight of a spell-wielding duck, then you’ll certainly love Kingdom Hearts.
So, what’s your take? Do you know of any scripts that would outrank the above five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.