I think I agree with OP. From all the videos I've seen this DS2 seems to be a bit different than the prior 2 Souls and there's now an element of cheapness in this game. Similar to rubber banding AI in car games, the AI in this game causes deaths which are not your fault and feels like it "cheats" at times.
I don't mind the multiple enemies at once, but previously you could take them all without getting hit and it felt like you could subdue them with your skill. Here, it is a hit or miss. Enemies sometimes can get a not possible hit on you, your hit can connect but still miss, their hit can miss but still register damage etc.
I prefer older DS than this.