The DeanBeat: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception tops our list of the 10 best games of 2011

This year, with our ramped up our GamesBeat review team, we’ve taken our Game of the Year choices much more seriously than we have in the past. We asked our reviewers to select the semifinalists and then picked the final winners ourselves. But our vote on the best game of 2011 ended in a tie, so we had to hold a tie-breaker round to pick our winner.

Review: Dark Souls is the loneliest, most brutal game this year. And you’ll love it.

It is dark. I have spent the last two hours stumbling and falling down a seemingly endless series of wooden platforms, facing off against attack dogs and ghouls, and being shot with poison darts. Finally reaching the ground, I find myself in a poisonous swamp, surrounded by giant mosquitoes and spiders. Somehow, I manage to cut a swathe through my enemies, only to be invaded by a dual-cleaver wielding phantom. Standing knee deep in swamp water, and barely able to move, I just manage to defeat this new foe. I struggle on, now poisoned and losing health fast. In the darkness, I see a tunnel, and inside is a bonfire. A safe haven in the gloom. A chance to replenish my health, and most importantly, a checkpoint of sorts. I am yards from the fire when, in a cruel twist of fate, I am invaded again, in retaliation for a previous transgression. This time there is no surviving. The phantom is upon me, and cuts me down where I stand. I must start my descent again. Welcome to the cruel and beautiful world of Dark Souls, one of the year’s big budget fantasy role-playing games created by From Software and published by Namco Bandai Games. While other blockbuster games are getting a lot of attention, this one could well be worth your time.