So many gaming websites and magazines hand out generic "Best of the Year" awards and lists that it gets super boring after awhile. "Skyrim" and "L.A. Noire" are good games? Cool story, bro. That's why redbullusa.com is here to make amends by handing out our own leaner and meaner brand of video game awards you won't see anywhere else.
Most Enjoyable Way to Get Carpal Tunnel Award
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Here’s a tip: you might want to head to gym and work out your biceps and forearms before venturing into game world of Zelda: Skyward Sword.” To defeat all of the colorful enemies and underworld dungeons in Skyward Sword, you’re going have to wiggle and waggle your WiiMote around multiple thousands of times to pull off all of the motion controlled sword slices and thrusts.
But hey, be glad you don’t actually have to carry a heavy metal shield or wear Link’s flamboyant green pajama-like outfit in real life.
Strangest Fighting Game Character
Phoenix Wright, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
How is it possible to feature a playable character in a fighting game that doesn’t even fight? Capcom somehow found a way by shoehorning Phoenix Wright into their update of “Marvel vs. Capcom 3.” That’s right, as in Mr. Ace Attorney.
Instead of punching and kicking his way to victory against the likes of Ryu and Wolverine, Phoenix Wright weaponizes paperwork, calls out his mystical assistant Maya Fey, or summons a giant judge’s gavel to slam down his enemies. It’s an unconventional move, but we do not object, your honor.
The LOL Award
Video games are many things, but funny isn’t usually one of them. In the realm of humor, games tend to be about as hilarious as a cream pie-in-the-face or one-liners from presidential candidates.
But “Portal 2,” Valve’s brilliant action-puzzler blends head scratching riddles with brilliantly delivered laugh out loud dialogue. We can’t think of a character in any medium with better lines than Stephen Merchant ‘s goofy evil robot Wheatley.
Best Use of Nostalgia
The NBA lockout meant that real basketball won’t be played until Christmas Day. We may have been bitter at the current league, but “NBA 2K12” did a good job emphasizing the glory days of the NBA from the ’70s, ’80s and ‘90s.
They brought Michael Jordan back as well as dozens of other basketball legends like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Seeing Wilt Chamberlain dunk on LeBron James a couple times made us feel a little better about the sad state of pro basketball.
The Morbidly Creative Award
Saints Row: The Third
If the Spike TV show needs more material for their TV show “1,000 Ways to Die,” the producers should pop in “Saints Row: The Third” for a little lesson in creative death scenes. In this open world crime game from THQ, you can kill bystanders with every weapon imaginable (guns, missiles, lasers), or by performing wrestling moves on them, beating them with sex toys, or even shooting them out of a clown car equipped with a cannon.
It’s tons of fun, even if you might feel the need to shower afterwards.
Badass Super Power Award
Ionic Storm, Infamous 2
On the surface, T-shirt and messenger bag-clad Cole MacGrath doesn’t look like much of a super hero, but his electricity-based powers say otherwise. Most impressive is an ability called Ionic Storm, which summons an ominous looking lightning storm from the sky and strikes the most powerful enemy in Cole’s sight.
It’s a power so visually arresting, it’s gotta make old Spider-Man villain Electro shake in his cheesy yellow boots.
The Most Interesting Game Character In The World
Victor “Sully” Sullivan -- Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Most elderly characters in video games serve as aphorism spouting gurus or spellcasting wizards, but Sully is different. Even though he’s long in the tooth, Nathan Drake’s mentor is still a fearless, swaggering, skirt chasing rascal who provides a dash of comic relief and a little level headedness to Drake’s impulsiveness.
It’s hard to look at Sully, and not be reminded of The Most Interesting Man in the World from the Dos Equis commercials. Hey Sully, stay awesome, my friend.
The Ouch-That-Hurts! Award
The FMG machine pistols -- Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
Overpowered weapons in multiplayer are no stranger to the “Call of Duty” series (Model 1887’s in “Modern Warfare 2,” anyone?) and this year that title goes to the FMG. Equipped with the Akimbo ability which lets you carry one in each hand, these bad boys can chew through opponents at short range so fast it’s like their equipped with magic bullets.
Luckily, Infinity Ward toned them down in a recent patch meaning you won’t be yelling “NO!” at the TV so much when you get ganked for the millionth time by an FMG user.
The Holy Shit! Award
“Immersive” is a word overused in the video game industry to describe graphics or sounds that make you feel like you’re really there. But few experiences in gaming comes close to the sounds of war in “Battlefield 3.”
The sound team at DICE got up close and personal with the sounds of battle during live military exercises and it shows. When you play the game in stereo, the explosions are downright startling and the roaring guns make weapons in other war games sound like kids’ toys.
The Horror Comedy Award
Shadows of the Damned
Though it plays a lot like "Resident Evil 4" and borrows the tone of the Evil Dead movies, there’s a gleefully weird and fun vibe in "Shadows of the Damned." The game can best be summed up as an action/horror/comedy and stars a Latino demon hunter named Garcia Hotspur, who literally goes to Hell to rescue his girlfriend from the Lord of Demons.
It’s an absurd premise for a game that delights in absurdity and it’s worth playing if you’re in the mood for a raucous romp where you stuff strawberries into screaming baby mouths to open doors or must burn away “demon pubes” to enter gateways.
The Hardest of Hardcore Award
In a video gaming world that values user-friendliness and experience over challenge, "Dark Souls" feels like a relic from a different time. The third-person action-roleplayer features an absurdly hard difficulty level, a head-scratching fantasy story about an undead hero, and even has graphics that look straight out of 2006.
You'll die time and time again while traversing the midieval world of Lodran with it's dungeons full of evil skeletons and giants, but no other modern game gives you quite the feeling of satisfaction for accomplishing a goal or defeating a demon like this beast of a game.
Most Innovative Cooperative Play Idea
The second player in most cooperative shooters is basically a reskinned version of the main character. But in the underrated “F.E.A.R. 3,” player two suits up as Paxton Fettel -- the ghostly brother of Point Man.
While Point Man sticks to shooting a variety of weapons he finds laying around, Fettel boasts paranormal psychic powers like the ability to shoot mystical bolts, levitate enemies to leave them as sitting ducks for his bro, or temporarily possess the bodies of enemy soldiers. As a result, an average solo campaign becomes essential gaming for coop lovers.
Game of the Year
Batman Arkham City
The 300-hours of gameplay of “Elder Scrolls: Skyrim” might give gamers more bang for their buck, but still we think “Batman Arkham City” is the best game of the year. The second game in the series has critics and fans alike going batty for a reason.
The game world is bigger, there are more snazzy gadgets at your disposal, and this time you can take a break from Batman to play as Catwoman, who has her own style of feral-like combat –- slashing at enemies with claws and knocking them down with a whip. Between the Arkham games and Christopher Nolan's movies, the Batman Renaissance continues in pop culture.
Check out Ryan Smith’s column Video Games Plus for the latest video game news, features and more.