Translating games is a difficult job. So difficult, that fans often get stuck waiting years for translations of games they want to play in their preferred language.
The wait becomes so unbearable at times that fans take the translation process into their own hands, providing people with a way to play a game that otherwise would have not been possible (Mother 3, we’re looking at you).
However, there are also times when developers do decide to localize their game for other countries, but somewhere along the way, things get lost in translation.
Here are six games that had terrible localization.
Tales of Berseria
The 16th entry into the Tales series, for the most part, is localized quite well. The main story and quests in Tales of Berseria that players endure are handled with care and are accurate translations.
However, once the player steps outside of the main storyline and attempts some of the post-game sidequests, there is a stark difference in localization quality. So different in fact, that it feels as though a different localization team may have handled the efforts for these sections entirely.
The translation errors in the post-game are riddled with errors and come off as sounding like the ramblings of an insane person (see image above).
Reading the various translation mistakes multiple times serves no purpose as most of them are impossible to decipher, even for those that speak both Japanese and English. Attempting to determine what the writers actually meant is an exercise in futility.
For a game that released on PS4 only two years ago, you would expect the localization to be top-notch throughout the entire game, but alas, Tales of Berseria is riddled with localization errors that will more than likely leave you confused, but will most definitely make you laugh.
Battle Rangers, also known as Bloody Wolf in Japan and Arcades, is a 2D run ‘n gun game relased by DataEast in 1988.
Although the game is not a text-heavy, 80-hour RPG, it is still plagued with localization errors that are hilariously baffling for anyone who comes across them.
You might think that with less text to translate, errors are less likely. That is not the case with Battle Rangers as nearly every text box you come across is riddled with confusing sentences and improper use of various words.
Nothing highlights these errors more than the final stage of the game where you take on the final boss, aptly named Boss, who vomits a constant stream of localization mistakes at you until he is defeated.
Although the errors are quite amusing, the game remains a shining example of how less text doesn’t necessarily mean fewer localization errors will occur when translating.
If you ask someone who plays video games regularly what Zero Wing is, they probably will not be able to tell you.
But if you say, “All your base are belong to us,” that same person might instantly get the reference.
Although the sidescrolling space shooting gameplay is quite good, Zero Wing failed to become a standout hit and remains largely forgotten to this day.
However, unlike the other games on our list that are laughed at due to their poor localization, Zero Wing broke through and became popular due to its mistranslation.
You may have heard the phrase, “All your base are belong to us” before but never knew where it came from. Well, its origin is none other than Zero Wing.
Due to this translation error, the game has become a meme among internet circles, often shared on forums and other places where video game culture is celebrated.
Zero Wing is a great example of how terrible localization doesn’t ruin the entire experience that the game offers, and in the end, can even keep it relevant decades later.
Fire Emblem Fates
Fire Emblem Fates originally released in Japan in 2015 before coming out six months later in North America.
Due to this long wait, fans were racing to translate the game on their own before Nintendo could release theirs. In other words, the thirst for the game was real.
However, once fans got their hands on the translation that Nintendo provided when they released Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest and Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, they realized that the localization was pretty badly flawed.
Although the game was not littered with typos like the other games, what lands Fire Emblem Fates on our list of terrible localization is the way that Nintendo de-characterized and made certain characters one dimensional (I mean, who obsesses over pickles that much?).
There were various support conversations that were altered or removed to fit better with the Western audience as well, such as a haunting conversation between two assassins that describe what it is like to murder for a living.
Although a conversation like that seems typical for Nintendo of America to remove, it left fans feeling like they received a censored version of the game compared to their Eastern counterparts.
Another one of the biggest issues revolved around the removal of a certain scene in which a character who is nervous around men is slipped a “magical potion” into her drink, which then turns all men into women in her mind, making her feel more relaxed around the opposite sex.
It can easily be argued that removing that scene was for the better, especially for Western audiences where it was criticized for promoting the unsuspecting drugging of a woman and leaning slightly into gay conversion therapy.
For better or worse, the game remains a great entry in the Fire Emblem series, regardless of the localization changes made by Nintendo.
Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment
Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment was originally released in Asia in 2014. However, despite the game not getting an official release in the West until years later, Hollow Fragment’s Asian release contained an option to change the language to English.
This caused fans who were eager to play the game to import the title rather than waiting for Bandai Namco to translate it properly themselves.
However, once they got their hands on the game, fans might have realized it was better to wait all along.
Despite some of the terrible localization efforts we have on the list so far, nothing quite outshines Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment.
Due to the great work of LegendsOfLocalization, we have multiple screenshots that encapsulate just how (hilariously) bad the localization is (see above).
Not only is the English broken and devoid of all sense, but there are also times when the text improperly wraps, extending off the screen to never be seen.
If you are having a bad day, we highly recommend you check out some of the translation mishaps that the game has to offer, as it’s sure to make anyone laugh.
It is worth noting that the game did finally make its way to the West and cleaned up much of the improper grammar and broken English contained in the Japanese version.
Let’s just hope that Sword Art Online Alicization Rising Steel fares better in the localization department when it releases in English in the near future.
Breath of Fire II
Breath of Fire II, despite being more critically appreciated than its predecessor (which you can try for yourself with SNES online), still brings with it a mountain of terrible localization errors.
When you first start playing the game, you might not realize all of the errors at first, however, they slowly begin to pile up over the course of the game to where it is impossible to ignore.
Whether it’s the awkward item descriptions that appear when going through your inventory or the absolutely insane dialogue between characters, you will leave Breath of Fire II scratching your head as to what exactly they meant.
When you finally put down the controller, you will wonder whether or not the game was the worst translation effort in existence or the most hilarious one.
Although the game has terrible localization, those translation errors give the game a level of charm that would otherwise be lost had it been translated correctly.
As with any list detailing games, we may have missed one or two. Let us know what we missed in the comments below and stay tuned to Twinfinite for more!