Masterpiece brought down by issues. Or is it a secret experiment to study the limits of nerd rage?
Where to start? Dark Souls is simply the worst console port I've ever played. It's akin to selling a "good as new" car with no headlights, and two tires missing. Is this even legal?
1) In Windows 8 it will crash to dashtop after installing with the latest version of Games for Windows Live. Work around by installing an older version of GFWL.
2) Out of the box there is only an resolution of 1024x768. I believe an official patch adds proper resolutions.
3) The windows mouse pointer is always visible in game, and mouse control is jittery to a point that it's unplayable.
4) No mouse support in menus.
5) All in-game button references are only ever to Xbox controller buttons.
6) No manual, no mouse hover tips to clarify the meaning of icons, such as what turns out to be a lightning icon, or faith icon etc.
Fortunately the technical issues are addressed in a mod and the community's Dark Souls wiki page serves as a better manual than the developer could probably have written themselves.
On to the game itself. This is without a doubt the most difficult game I've ever played. Before long you will run into a dark knight that will unceremoniously butcher you a great many times. Get used to it, because this is par for the course. Many times a sequence seems akin to banging your head against the wall. Repeatedly.
All this aside though, this game is awesome. Some parts of it, such as the ability of other players to enter your world on occasion, either as helpers or as player killers is very innovative (I suppose not so for Demon Souls on the PS3 players).
The sword fighting is probably the best I've ever seen in a game (save perhaps for an ancient game called Die By the Sword). You have a variety of moves you can perform. How to get past that nasty shield of the spear wielding dudes? Why, kick his shield to put him off-balance. Every (type of) sword has its own set of moves associated with it: rapiers have almost exclusively stabbing moves, while a zweihander (two-hander) has several types of massive swings that you can direct while you're swinging. Clubs, axes, bows, they're all different to greater or lesser degrees. Very cool.
The level design is also fantastic. There is a great deal of vertical extent of the world, with an emphasis on opening short-cuts as you progress. Effectively what you can see you can go to.
So, there is a lot to hate and a lot to love.