I'm only just over 30 hours into this 100+ hour game and I think I've barely scratched the surface of what it has to offer. If you're tired of typical JRPGs, with their increasingly linear and often obtuse storylines, repetitive battles and ceaseless grinding, then this is for you, provided that you like a challenge.
This game has many defining qualities that give it greatness - the story is very slim, and you are left to figure it out for yourself. This also applies to many of the game mechanics, such as the fact that you are "hollow" when you start the game and you need to acquire "humanity" to reverse your hollowing. In the beginning this means nothing, and is not explained anywhere (not even the manual) and so you are challenged to get your head around it. Despite initial frustration, you get into it, and the fact that you've had to work it out for yourself means that it stays in your head.
One neat feature I didn't realise the game had when I bought it was multiplayer. Now I'm a multiplayer skeptic - more often than not, it's only added into ostensibly single-player games to increase sales, but in this game it's done extremely well. You can write a "summon sign" on the ground which appears in other people's games, and they can summon you for a short period until the area boss has been defeated, working as a team. After that, you're back to your own game where you left off. Other players can also leave messages on the ground to serve as hints for progressing. This is no mere glib addition of multiplayer - it has an important purpose.
Another much talked-about attribute of the game that makes it great is the punishing difficulty within. This is certainly not a game for casual, Nintendo Wii players - there is little to no hand-holding, the very first area houses a massive boss that is quite difficult to beat on first playthrough, and it only goes upwards from there. Many of the game's mechanics have been purposefully manipulated to challenge, for example as you play and dispatch enemies you collect "souls" which are used as currency for items and to level up. If you die somewhere, all the souls you collect will be dropped at that point, and you respawn at the last respawn point you visited (bonfires in this case) which could be miles away. So, you're faced with a choice - go elsewhere in the massive open world, or travel back to the place you died to retrieve your souls, but if you die on the way that's them gone forever. To add insult to injury, when you respawn so do all the enemies in the world, save for the bosses and larger enemies, so you have to hack your way through them all again.
But you will keep coming back to it.
A tough game with a massive open world you can immerse yourself in, deep gameplay with hundreds of items and weapons, a fully customisable character, a huge mystery surrounding the story, immense bosses and a huge difficulty level - what's not to like?
Don't miss this game.