Cubed3 Staff Game Awards 2020

By Neil Flynn 14.01.2021 6

Cubed3 Staff Game Awards 2020 on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion
2020 has been one of the most tumultuous years in living history. Recent worldwide events have seen people confined to their homes more than ever before, and the knock-on effect is that people are gaming more than ever before. There have been challenges to game developers continuing to develop blockbuster games while working from home and console manufacturers releasing their next generation machines. Nonetheless, the gaming industry, despite these barriers, have pulled together one of the most action-packed gaming years on record. To honour as many games as we can for their accomplishments, Cubed3 has brought back category awards, please check out the winners in the video and article below.


Cubed3 Game of the Year


Runner-up: Ori and The Will of the Wisps

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Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a fantastic title and a good contender for best game released in 2020, let alone probably the best Metroidvania released in 2020, full stop. Its aesthetics and overall visual and audio qualities need no introduction at this point and it's a joy to play from beginning to end. However, owning neither an Xbox nor a capable enough PC, it is the Switch version that I got to play. The Switch version has left an even higher opinion of it, because it manages to maintain pretty much everything that makes the other versions great, but adapted to a portable form factor. Metroidvanias are such a good fit to play on the go in general, and this one even manages to maintain an almost perfect level of 60FPS performance all the way through, so crucial for a good experience. Moon Studios deserves double the credit, for creating an absolutely fabulous game, and then making one of the most impressive ports ever to Nintendo Switch... and then both it and its prequel just got a physical release on Switch which they both so badly deserved.

Despite the critical acclaim and vox pop that Moon studios received for the first Ori title, it's sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and its excellence, remained a surprise of 2020. Before also releasing on the Switch, Microsoft had been keeping this IP locked to Xbox One and Windows platforms but after gaining some steam, the guardian spirit is truly out of the bag.. erm, forest. There is no question that the Will of the Wisps is an absolute top shelf adventure that any connoisseur of 2D platforming should put at the front of their must play list. The combination of tightly designed gameplay, well-paced action, along with the superb art and music production, that is evocative as all hell, by the way, is a recipe for constant awe and wonder.

Read Ben Clarke's Review on PC


Runner-up: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2

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Riding a deck rocket fuelled with nostalgia, The Hawkman made a triumphant return this year. Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1+2 has been an unexpected gem after the past low to middling attempts at a return to form.

Perfect controls ensure that any returning players from the Papa Roach days will need very little time to be able to slip back into the revert groove and rack up the points again. Every tape, gap and letter are exactly where they should be and stages have been beautifully realised for current gen consoles.

Activision have ensured that with fresh new challenges and modes there is plenty of new content to make this a must buy for any veterans as well as a great introduction to any newcomers to the franchise. The soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission, especially with custom playlists and track skipping at the push of a button.
Simple to get to grips with for the new breed, responsive, perfect gameplay for the rest of us living out our lost youth through great videogames. 900 out of 10.

Read the Cubed3 Review on Xbox One


Runner Up: Hades

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Hades is a triumph on every level. Supergiant Games has proven that you don't need a AAA studio to craft a meaningful, polished experience with lasting appeal. It redefines the roguelike genre by reimagining what storytelling looks like in a die-and-retry formula, and it helps that the storytelling is top-notch. The gameplay, too, is polished to a fine sheen. It's the most addictive game I've played in years and has rekindled in me a childlike joy for the medium. 

Hades came from out of nowhere with its blend of rogue-lite and action RPG blend, Hades hits with incredible high notes across the board.  From an engaging story that is woven into the constant dying, to an upgrade system that borders on addicting, this is the type of game developers in the future will look at to study what went right.  One of the most notable things the game presents is how much it trickles new hope, upgrades or systems to the player making it impossible to not play 'one more time'.  Approachable for beginners, but incredibly deep for people wanting to take it to the next level, there is very little here to criticize beyond some slightly dated-looking graphics.  This game was far away better than the competition for 2020.

Read Eric Ace's Review on Nintendo Switch


Runner Up: The Last of Us Part II

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The Last of Us Part II is one of the greatest games ever made. Naughty Dog ambitiously tells
a complex story around flawed characters that not only builds upon Joel and Ellie's first adventure, but profusely questions the morality of characters and players alike. Though the game is emotionally daunting and uncomfortably violent, moments of love and joy shine through the otherwise bleak world, presenting hope and hate in such an interwoven way.

The environments are as shocking as they are beautiful, the stealth action gameplay is as intense as it is outstandingly designed and every cut scene is expertly written and performed. From the opening moments to the final confrontation, The Last of Us Part II is a masterclass in game design and storytelling. This is not only one of the best games of the year, but a generation defining experience.
-James Grech

The Last of Us Part II was a polarising but ultimately masterful experience, with various interwoven narratives that coalesced into one of 2020's more memorable and emotional titles. Seeing the continuation of Troy Baker and Ashely Johnson return with impactful performances as Joel and Ellie respectively, and Laura Bailey's stunning performance starring as Abby. While following up to the much-loved original was never going to be easy, Part II raised the stakes for everyone, with tragedy and beauty juxtaposed all the way through the narrative. Mechanically, the vast improvements in the visuals, the control scheme and the AI themselves helped to build such a rich and devastating world - with details hidden in every action and plenty of world-building uncovered in every room. Combined with the haunting melodies and impressive sound design, The Last of Us Part II is a heavy and meandering journey that explores the gritty and poignant theme of consequences."

Read Ofisil's Review on PlayStation 4


Winner: Final Fantasy VII Remake

Image for Cubed3 Staff Game Awards 2020
After years of rumours and misleading tech demos, Final Fantasy VII Remake finally arrived. Was it worth the wait? In every single respect, yes.
Not just a simple rehash of the 1997 masterpiece, Cloud and Co. ploughed their own path to bring a tale familiar enough to please long-term Gaia Dwellers, but with enough twists to meet modern day storytelling tropes and excite players of the possibilities to come.
Graphically spectacular in every respect, Midgar is fully realised as the sprawling industrial metropolis that existed only in a 90's kids head. Areas look distinct and emphasise the economical gap between forgotten slum dwellers and high-flying corporates to build an underlying narrative and really allow players to root for the underdogs.
Fluid navigation and combat with the options for real time and turn-based battles round off a game that although a long time coming, is more sought after than a fully mastered Quadra Magic + Knights of the Round Materia combo.

Like many that were interested in the remake, Final Fantasy VII is one of my all-time favourite games, so it was only natural I'd be both excited and worried at how this first part of the massive plot would turn out. I kept my expectations in check, though, and the result was a game I'm very surprised turned out as well as it did. Even the storyline changes I'm reasonably content with because it keeps the door open for events that original Final Fantasy VII fans like myself cannot predict in future chapters. Square Enix nailed the parts that counted, where the previously blocky character models of the PS1 days are brought to life so well in whole new dimensions, both on the voice acting side and on the combat side. The battle system is an incredibly rewarding aspect that expands the more materia is experimented with and when different abilities are chained together in just the right ways. This opening act of Final Fantasy VII Remake could have turned out far worse, but despite the blemishes and gripes I do have, I'm extremely pleased with the end result and looking forward to the next chapter of the unknown journey.

From the revised combat system to the gorgeous visuals, Final Fantasy VII Remake is an incredible adaptation of the PlayStation 1 classic. Cloud's adventure through Midgar is overflowing with charm. Side characters have been fleshed out, environments are rich with beauty and the boss fights feature some of the most intense action sequences I've ever experienced. A heart pumping score, emotional dialogue and just enough cheesiness makes this game a brilliant beginning for a story that is sure to surprise Final Fantasy veterans and newcomers alike.
-James Grech

Final Fantasy VII Remake not only blasted the nostalgia cannons but was a full-frontal assault on the senses for all Final Fantasy fans. Re-realising the world of Midgar for a modern audience and fleshing out the already well-known story with new events, character moments and new plot points. Featuring a unique action combat style that captured the need for skill and strategy perfectly backed by fantastically realised graphics that outdo even the Advent Children movie. Nothing since its release in April has topped this wonderful, labour of love and until it's sequel maybe nothing will. This is not only a top way to experience the opening chapters of FFVII but a promise of something more, something new in the future featuring all of the beloved characters we've come to love over the years.

Final Fantasy VII Remake may only adapt the first chapter of the 1997 classic, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the most satisfying and complete JRPGs in years. The battle system perfectly mixes turn-based elements with action combat, staying engaging throughout the entire 40-hour adventure. The story that adapts the iconic moments of the original while still going in bold new directions, justifying its own existence as more than a mere rehash. Combine these strengths, and it's hard not to have a smile on your face the whole way through.

Read Renan Fontes' Review on PlayStation 4

Congratulations to all our winners! Do you think something else should have won? Let us know in the comments below.


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It is quite telling that I am really out of the loop at the moment with the general gaming consensus, having not played Hades, Animal Crossing, FF7R or TLOU2. It's not for lack of interest in these titles, they look great, but I am just so time poor unfortunately! 

I am glad that Tony Hawks got up there though, it was a really enjoyable throw-back and I hope that 3+4 get a similar remake this year, or sometime soon!


Still find it amazing to see something like Ori take the top spot. Did not see the hype at all from an outside view but a total convert after playing through. Not sure if Hades will have the same impact on me but I don't argue at all with FF7. Shame Cyberpunk had its issues because I think it would of pulled in a few votes if the experience was a consistent one free of errors.
oh and Yakuza rules and would of been all my votes if I'd got round to it quicker. The backlog strikes again!


This is bull! Great show but terrible list! Where is Just Dance 2021 and Soul Calibur 2!???

Also really hoping to catch up with Ghost of Tsushima soon too. Thinking that would have had the potential for a vote if I'd played it

I am more surprised there are not more Nintendo games, in fact only 2 of these games are on a Nintendo system! How far Cubed3 has come!

( Edited 15.01.2021 18:59 by Flynnie )

I'm glad FFVII got so much recognition from the team Haha

I'll need to give Hades a shot, heard a lot of good things about it.

I own all the consoles, ask me anything

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