Another year, another Last of Us Game Awards ceremony in the books. After a tragic year, it was alleviating to enjoy a night purely centered around the world’s greatest pastime and our escape from the turmoil of 2020. We can celebrate the industry successes of the past year while taking a look towards the future. 2020 was also a difficult year for the Game Awards, with stacked categories across the board. The Last of Us Part II took home most of the hardware as predicted, topped off with coveted Game of the Year honors. While Naughty Dog’s masterpiece deservedly won almost all of the categories it was nominated for, there were some other choices that just didn’t sit well with me. Well, tonight I seek out my own justice! The dust has had time to settle, and I’m here to hand over invisible trophies to the games I thought should have won. So who got the shaft? Let’s take a look.

Best Score and Music

You can hear it, can’t you?

Winner: Final Fantasy VII Remake

Who Should’ve Won: DOOM Eternal

In one of the 2020 Game Awards’ biggest tragedies, DOOM Eternal‘s powerhouse soundtrack was somehow bested by the Final Fantasy VII Remake. The 3-hour, 30+minute long behemoth is loaded with more head-smashing goodies from Mick Gordon and Co. Signature tracks “Meathook” and the incredible “The Only Thing They Fear is You” lead the way. Supported by a blitz of riffs and demonic ambiance, the album lends itself to Eternal‘s brutality and speed flawlessly. Other tracks such as “Cultist Base”, “DOOM Hunted” and “BFG 10k” make this an OST that can’t be ignored. No other soundtrack brought as much as Eternal‘s did – in-game, or on its own.

Best Debut Game

That 9-5 life kills.

Winner: Phasmophobia

Who Should’ve Won: Carrion

Carrion and Phasmophobia both demonstrate the effectiveness of working creatively within a genre. Both are horror games through and through, but one provides an entirely opposite experience from the other. Phasmophobia relies heavily on atmospheric tension and leaves the player at the mercy of something they can’t conquer. Carrion flips the script and puts you in the driver’s seat, where you control fear and everyone is at your mercy. It pulls no punches with its violence or gore and offers a more polished approach.

Phasmophobia lacks maps and becomes repetitive quickly, diminishing its replayability. It’s a step forward for multiplayer horror games, but far from a finished product. Carrion is constantly engaging and has the gameplay chops to support the atmosphere and setting it creates. The combat and traversal are intriguing enough to warrant a second playthrough of its stellar campaign. This felt like a botched vote.

Best Performance

The hero we deserve.

Winner: Laura Bailey as Abby, The Last of Us Part II

Who Should’ve Won: Nadji Jeter as Miles Morales, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

This was one of the most difficult choices of the 2020 Game Awards, any of these candidates could have taken home this award. I’m giving the slight edge to Nadji Jeter for his impeccable work in Miles Morales. Taking up the Spider-Man mantle is the most challenging of any superhero, and a shaky voice actor can crumble the foundation of any Spider-Man game. Look no further than 2008’s Web of Shadows for a prime example.

Jeter doesn’t just do a great Spider-Man voice, he becomes Miles. He captures the struggle of responsibility that makes both Miles and Peter Parker such relatable characters, and delivers the signature quips in spades. He deserves as much credit for bringing Miles to the forefront as Into The Spider-Verse does.

Best Action

“Well, there’s a fair argument to be ma–” Nope.

Winner: Hades

Who Should’ve Won: DOOM Eternal

Easily the biggest blunder of the 2020 Game Awards, Eternal loses out to indie darling Hades in the action department. There are no ill feelings towards the latter, a fantastic game in its own right and worthy of its “Best Indie Game” victory. However, there’s no experience like Eternal on the market right now, and there never has been. The uninformed would point to its predecessor and claim they’re all too similar; but the truth is that Eternal is faster, more violent, smarter, and more fluid than 2016’s DOOM was.

Id Software’s undivided attention to gameplay is evident in the sequel. Enemies now have specific weak points that add a level of strategy and are crucial to exploit on higher difficulties. Weapon swapping is buttery smooth and there are no breaks in between Glory Kills. The addition of a dash ability only further heightens the skill ceiling and expands on the combat possibilities. Eternal is a sequel that sits pretty with titles like Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Halo 2. This should have been an easy vote.

Final Thoughts

There hasn’t been a ceremony that wasn’t without controversy, and the 2020 Game Awards are no different. Each of the winners are fantastic titles that deserve praise – but more than a few choices left me scratching my head. It’s a shame to see a game of DOOM Eternal‘s caliber get left behind in the voting process, but it happens each year. While I struck out on some of my predictions, I take solace knowing that I have the power to correct them here. If you want to check out the entire list of winners, head on over to the Game Awards’ official website. In the meantime, continue the debate on our forums! Remember: The Game Awards are temporary, but DOOM is Eternal.

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