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Colin Burns' Awards

5) Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below
I'll admit upfront that I am a Dragon Quest neophyte. I played through VIII and adored it, but I haven't been able to stick with any of the other games I've tried. Thus, Dragon Quest Heroes was more of a nice introduction for me instead of a family reunion. I had no clue who Terry was, and now I know him for what he is (Trunks in a blue tunic). The Dragon Quest art style really looks phenomenal on PlayStation 4, and some of the larger boss battles are awesome. The gameplay was repetitive, but it was fun and pretty while it lasted.

4) Final Fantasy Type-0 HD
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is a game that suffered from high expectations, for me. Type-0 was this illusive, Japan-only Final Fantasy that the West would never get, so I was thrilled when it was finally announced for release in the US. I liked Type-0; I didn't love it like I thought I would. The combat was amazing and, even though a lot of the music was reused from past games in the series, it was still satisfying. The characters and the story were far from the series' best, but if you take Final Fantasy Type-0 HD for what it is (a remaster of a spin-off PSP title from 2011), you'll find an enjoyable experience beneath the obvious shortcomings.

3) Bloodborne
"I was never a Dark Souls guy, but I love Bloodborne." You've heard this a million times by now! Bloodborne was the first From game that really hooked me and wouldn't let go. The atmosphere was so well developed and the world was so well realized that I would stop playing for the night, only to dream about it in my sleep. The fluidity and fairness of the combat made it a joy to play, and this game is responsible for some of the most heart-pounding moments in my gaming career. Bloodborne was a group effort for me. The duties were split between me, my brothers and a friend. My oldest brother beat the Blood Starved Beast, but I beat the Shadow of Yharnam, and my other brother was always quick with a guide when we got stuck. I can't wait to get together again and dive back into The Old Hunters.

2) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
This is my favorite Western RPG of all time. CD Projekt Red fixed so many of my issues with the genre in The Witcher 3. The attention given to narrative and the directorial approach to cutscenes meant a lot to me. What is arguably the most impressive feature of the game, the massive world, is by far my least favorite aspect of its design. The world was beautiful (especially Skellige), but I would've been fine with not being able to actually explore those vistas that were presented to me. I didn't enjoy the treks when I was passing through the same wilderness for the tenth time. Fast-travel was my friend. The voice acting was top-notch (I'm looking at you, Johnny), and I never felt bogged down in impossible-to-understand intricacies and proper nouns. I can honestly recommend The Witcher 3 to nearly anyone with a pulse.

1) Yakuza 5
Yakuza games are RPGs too! I'm here to sell you on this often overlooked series from Sega. Do you like Japan? Do you like crime dramas? Do you like off-the-wall comedy? Do you like kickass kung-fu? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you like Yakuza! Yakuza 5 is the miracle game brought to us by Sony's "building the list" Twitter campaign. I love the way these games mix the over-the-top melodrama with completely ridiculous scenarios. The story of Yakuza 5 is a serious tale full of intrigue, betrayal and death, but if you begin to stray from the path, you'll find things like a crazy scientist who wants you to test-run his new VR game. The "random battles" and level-up system have been streamlined so you can focus on the deep narrative. If you need a break from the heavy story, try your hand at fishing in Fukuoka or go sing some karaoke. The game is full of interesting things to do, and even if you are a newcomer, it has videos and bios to catch you up. Yakuza 5 deserves your support, and I hope you get a chance to experience it for yourself.

Best Game I Played This Year (Not Released in 2015)

Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale
Being a kid was totally rad. Attack of the Friday Monsters! does a great job of capturing the sense of freedom and wonder that leaves our lives far too early. The game follows the story of a 10-year old boy as he moves into a new ward in 1970's Tokyo. The drone of cicadas, doing chores for your parents and talking about TV with your buddies transport the player back to their youth in a wonderful way. Although the setting is limiting, the appeal is universal. This 3DS eShop title is a must-play for all nostalgia fiends out there.

Best Non-RPG of 2015

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Diamond Dog.