The First Annual Refresh & Reload Video Game Awards!

Curious about what games us nutjobs liked this year? Look no further!

Several weeks ago, Spike TV broadcast the Video Game Awards, full of HILARIOUS one liners, gross inaccuracies, some of the worst guest speakers ever and almost a third of the awards not even shown. Some of the winners that were shown included Red Dead Redemption winning Game of the Year, BioWare winning the Studio of the Year award and Sgt. Woods, of Call of Duty: Black Ops, winning the Character of the Year award. It’s only saving grace was the fact that it was hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, of How I Met Your Mother fame, who spiced things up by discrediting Olivia Munn on national television, and attempting to create a live action version of “Angry Birds“, shortly before being shut down by the Producer, after “calls” from peta, oh how droll.

So we though maybe we’d have our own little Video Game Awards, just for you guys, since Spike has shown, anybody with half a brain can nominate a game to win an award. Most of the awards are fairly straight forward, however we have included some more detailed awards for those games we feel sparkled in their own special way, and you’ll find out that special way soon enough. Be sure to listen to our companion podcast for more detailed deliberation on each award!

Game of the Year, of the Year

The Best Annualized Game released this year.
Nominees: Rock Band 3, MLB 10: The Show, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Skate 3

Worthy of Returning Next Year
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Criterion managed to inject new life into what was certainly a dead series with Hot Pursuit’s incredible chases, cat & mouse multiplayer and Trials HD inspired Autolog which rewards you for attempting to beat friends lap times. It will be interesting to see if Criterion will continue with another game in this vein, return to another Burnout game with features like Autolog or possibly create some combination of the two.
Runner Up: Rock Band 3
Cop Bugatti Veyron

The 1st Annual David Lynch Award

Given to the game that best embodies David Lynch’s Twin Peaks style of storytelling, atmosphere & batshit craziness.
Nominees: Deadly Premonition, Alan Wake

Let me double check my coffee Zach
Deadly Premonition

Swery 65’s insane budget horror title takes the cake by taking the basic concept of Twin Peaks then throwing it further off the rails with some of the most insane characters, music, clarivoyant coffee, audio levels, peanut butter & cereal sandwiches along with the greatest plot twist in a long long time. David Lynch could not create a finer hurricane of insanity than Deadly Premonition.
Runner Up: Alan Wake

Action Game of the Year

Nominees: Bayonetta, Dante’s Inferno, God of War 3, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Splatterhouse

Pure Platinum Winner

Hideki Kamiya and Platinum games have managed to craft not only the spiritual successor to Devil May Cry but the new Queen of the genre. Bayonetta managed to merge the absolute insane action that Devil May Cry 3 was famous for with an incredible combat system with easily the best dodge ability in the genre along with the best boss fights this side of Shadow of the Colossus. Platinum has crafted one of the few “games” to actually come out of Japan this year and other developers in the East should look towards before creating another 3rd rate shooter.
Runner Up: God of War 3

Best Indie Game

The best PC Indie experience.
Nominees: Super Meat Boy, Amnesia, Limbo, VVVVVV, Beat Hazard

Maybe it will love me back someday
Super Meat Boy

Team Meat delivered with one of the most controller snappingly difficult platformers ever created, the level of challenge manages to stay near impossible but still manages to leave enough of a sliver of hope that you can survive. Include a menagerie of indie characters, insane cutscenes and some damn solid platforming and you have a shining example of what an indie title should be.
Runner Up: Amnesia

Best Downloadable Console Game

Nominees: Cave Story, Costume Quest, Monday Night Combat, Pac-Man CE DX, Snoopy: Flying Ace

Pac Man Championship Edition DX

Championship Edition DX managed to come out of nowhere and topple our expectations not only for a Pac-Man game but for downloadable games as a whole. There is absolutely nothing more satisfying than the sound of eating 30+ ghosts in a row, it had me standing up cheering the first few times it happened. Developers take note reversing the design of a game to allow you to kill what was once a force to be reckoned with is an easy way to make the player feel like a god.
Runners Up: Monday Night Combat

Best First Person Shooter

Nominees: Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops, ArmA II: Operation Arrowhead, Halo: Reach, Singularity

ArmA II: Operation Arrowhead

Operation Arrowhead refines the already excellent ArmA II experience by introducing features such as scope zeroing from various mods and a much more accessible campaign making it the perfect game for those interested in tactical shooters to start with or continue to get their fix. I mean honestly what other game can you airlift a 60 ton Bradley tank and hot drop it into the middle of an enemy base?
Runners Up: Singularity

The Gabe Newell Unnecessary Hat Award

The game with the most blatant viraling advertising scheme ever, Hats for Team Fortress 2!
Nominees: Team Fortress 2 Mannconomy, Alien Swarm, Left 4 Dead 2, Poker Night at the Inventory

Lining Gabe’s Pockets
Team Fortress 2 Mannconomy

The Mannconomy managed to take the already dropping quality of Team Fortress 2 and bring it to a new low by adding dollar signs to the items that had already drove most servers to insanity. The update has essentially turned the game into an MMO with hordes of people spamming trade requests mid game and even more farming for hats to sell. On top of this the Polycount pack added with the Mannconomy broke the game even further by giving the classes who got new items ridiculously overpowered item set bonuses and making these sets very hard to obtain without buying them. Congratulations Valve you’ve ruined a once great game.
Runner Up: Poker Night at the Inventory
Free hat when you sign up!

До свидания, Komrade

The best game of Eastern European descent
Nominees: Metro 2033, ArmA II: Operation Arrowhead, Limbo, Amnesia, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat

Выйдите здесь
Metro 2033

Metro 2033 takes the distinct Russian flavor of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series and by some miracle turns it into something that a normal person can actually play, and it looks damn fine while doing it.
Runners Up: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat

News From The Front Lines!

The best article from the Refresh & Reload website, not necessarily real.
Nominees: Game Boat, Duke Nukem Forever Lives!, Professor Layton x Ace Attorney game news, 3DS Information, Team ICO Collection announced

Overwhelming Winner
Game Boat

It’s a boat for a game that doesn’t need a real boat, brilliant!
Runner Up: We’ll post more stuff next year we swear!
Game Boat

They Had It Coming

Special Award: Due to the closure of Realtime Worlds, this Award will be given to the game that embodies the tragedy of the studio’s closure.
APB: All Points Bulletin for the promise of it’s character creator.

Crackdown 2 for the game it could have been.

Global Agenda for attempting to pick apart the corpse of APB for scraps of user flesh.

Crackdown 2

Realtime Worlds had an incredible opportunity moving off the heels of the original Crackdown but due to Microsoft’s incompetence at approving a second game Realtime Worlds had moved on. Despite Ruffian Games best efforts Crackdown 2 was a mere shadow of the former game and a death nail in what was once a great up and coming franchise for the Xbox 360.
Runner Up: Global Agenda

The Drunkard’s Choice

This game is absolutely unbearable unless under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol, Australian approved!
Nominees: Metroid: Other M, Gran Turismo 5, Goldeneye 007, Team Fortress 2, Doctor Who: Return to Earth

Pass me another 12 pack
Metroid: Other M

I’m not sure if drinking a whole bottle of Jack could make me numb to the godawful cutscenes and gameplay of Other M.
Runner Ups: Gran Turismo 5, Goldeneye

I feel drunk just looking at this.

Nostalgia Rush!

This game brought a warm nostalgiac feeling to our hearts, with a modern twist.
Nominees: Pac-Man CE DX, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns, 3D Dot Game Heroes, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game

3D Dot Game Heroes

3D Dot takes the classic Zelda formula, which even Nintendo doesn’t really follow anymore and puts it in an absolutely stunning 8-bit style 3D world. Atlus manages to craft a stunning tribute to the series without feeling like a rip off. Also you can play as a banana or Santa Claus, definitely won’t see that in a Nintendo game!
Runner Up: Pac-Man CE DX, Kirby’s Epic Yarn

It’s Looked Good, Honest!

This game suckered you in with the promise of glory, then kicked you in the balls until you pee’d blood.
Nominee: Alpha Protocol, Mafia II, APB: All Points Bulletin, Metroid: Other M, Final Fantasy XIII

Not the face!
Alpha Protocol

Alpha Protocol on paper sounds like a great idea, take the gameplay style of Mass Effect introduce a unique conversation system and set it in a modern day spy setting. Unfortunately the developer Obsidian as usual could not release a game without serious game breaking bugs and an extremely flawed combat system where more often than not you could shoot a dude point blank in the face and not hit him.
Runner Ups: Metroid: Other M

The First Annual Eric-chan Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Weeaboo.

This game best embodies the spirits of the great, all powerful Nippon and Eric-chan.
Nominees: Recettear, Yakuza 3, Blade Kitten, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Naruto Shippuuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2

Blade Kitten

Furries and anime with mediocre platforming, sounds like a hit with the young otakus!
Runner Up: Recettear

Do us a favor and pull the trigger.

Where did my day go?

The game that leaves you in a sleepless stupor on your couch covered in cheese dust and chicken grease yet continues to pull you in more and more.
Nominees: Professor Layton & The Unwound Future, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Mass Effect 2, Just Cause 2, Super Meat Boy

Excuse me while I go back to
Mass Effect 2

It says a lot about a game if I’m willing to do a damn planet scanning mini-game for 5-10 hours just so I can get the ending that I want. For anything else I wouldn’t tolerate it but the characters and universe managed to propel me forward and eventually hook me all over again until I finished it in less 5 sittings.
Runner Ups: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Just Cause 2

Oh god so many minerals!

Unnecessary Sequel

A sequel to a game we didn’t want or need in the form in which it was released.
Nominees: Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, Valkyria Chronicles 2, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, Army of Two: The 40th Day, Call of Duty: Black Ops

Please Don’t Make a Sequel to
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

After killing off your main character you would think that Lucasarts would have backed away from creating a sequel to Force Unleashed, never underestimate the plot loophole powers of clones. The Force Unleashed II did nothing to improve on the first game and managed to do it in a whopping four hours, it’s absolutely insane that Lucasarts decided to make this over a sequel to Republic Commando, X-Wing, Rogue Squadron or Battlefront.
Likewise for: Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days

Not even Monkey Island: Unleashed

Game Video Award

For the absolute worst use or overuse of cutscenes in a game.
Nominees: Heavy Rain, Just Cause 2, Bayonetta

Make it Stop!
Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain was poised to fix the end game narrative problems of Indigo Prophecy and become a defining modern adventure game. Unfortunately the game was crippled by too many red herrings, plot holes and voice acting that sounds like it was localized for Quebec. Don’t believe us? Watch for yourself.
Runner Up: Just Cause 2

Sell Out!

The absolute worst day 1 DLC, Hats, Skins, anything which could have been in the game originally but was removed, to be sold back at a premium/preorder “bonus”.
Nominees:Team Fortress 2 Manconomy, Mafia II Day 1 DLC, Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage, Fable III, World of Warcraft Item Shop

Get the hint yet?
Team Fortress 2 Mannconomy

Rewarding players with crates that can only be opened with a $2.50 key, need I say more?
Runner Up: Mafia II

'Nuff said.

Script-Kiddie Award

Only a completely buggy, amateur mess of coding has a chance at winning this award.
Nominees:Call of Duty: Black Ops (PC Version), Medal of Honor,Gran Turismo 5, Perfect Dark XBL, Goldeneye 007

Time to Take Computer Science Again!
Treyarch for Call of Duty: Black Ops on PC

It’s absolutely baffling that for a release as gigantic as Call of Duty Black Ops, Activision would allow a completely unplayable PC port to be released and subsequently barely fixed through a series of useless patches. Absolutely pathetic for a series that was once PC exclusive. Also JD makes fourzerotwo look like Team Meat, figure that one out!
Runner Up: Gran Turismo 5

Do not adjust your processor!

Best Soundtrack

The best complete original soundtrack featured in a game.
Nominees: Red Dead Redemption, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

Red Dead Redemption

The soundtrack for Red Dead Redemption enhanced the mood of the game far beyond anything else this year, Far Away for example fit the ride into Mexico absolutely perfectly.
Runner Up: Kirby’s Epic Yarn

DJ Atomika Reporting in!

The worst or most annoying soundtrack in a game, brought to you by EA Trax!
Nominees:Guitar Hero: Warrior’s of Rock, Blade Kitten, Sonic Colours, GT5: Gran Turismo 5, Medal of Honor

Thanks for listening to Crash FM!
Blade Kitten

I defy you to sit through this entire song.
Runner Up: Gran Turismo 5

Game of the Year

The big one, how can one choose between such (mostly) amazing games?
Nominees: Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, Deadly Premonition, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Dante’s Inferno(God help us)

Mass Effect 2

How does one improve and explore an already incredible game universe? Focus on the characters. Bioware demonstrated this perfectly with Mass Effect 2 putting the plot on the backburner and setting your focus on assembling a team of intergalactic badasses. Bioware proved their ability to create a party of characters that were incredibly interesting and made you look forward to having another conversation with them, for example the conflicted Salarian scientist Mordin a character responsible for the death of my favorite character Wrex’s race still managed to keep me engrossed and eventually sympathetic to the choice he had to make for the sake of the galaxy. Another incredible example is the Illusive Man, a character I grew to hate for his scummy tactics and the shit he made me go through for some sort of righteous human idealism made it all the more satisfying blowing him off in the end. Bioware also managed to craft a much more streamlined gameplay system that felt like an actual shooting game instead of a dice rolling RPG with guns and managed to do away with the godawful inventory of the first. All in all Bioware managed to create a completely superior version of what was an already incredible game and yet I still want more.

A Very Honorable Mention: Deadly Premonition
Editors Note: I cannot understate how much Deadly Premonition caught me off guard and how impressed I was by the fever dream that SWERY’s Access Games were able to craft while managing to escape a development cycle nearly as hellish as Duke Nukem Forever. In a year filled with absolutely incredible games it brought something very special and I feel that it is something that has to be experienced at least once by everyone. Also real time beard growth, just consider that for a second!

Congratulations to all of our winners, we’ll be sending out various twats and such to all of you!

About SolidBaker

Edward is the Australian Asshole of the group, you'll often find him bitching about censorship or the fact that he gets shafted on most video game releases. Solid has a penchant to rattle on about little niggling parts of games that he gets angry with and tends to get angry with them often. He owns most of the current systems and a lot of the older systems, and has a general distaste of most of the current generation of games, but that doesn't mean he can't enjoy them all the same.