This is not a game for the faint hearted nor is it a game for those expecting a God of War style hack-n-slash. This is a game for the intrepid explorer, those who relish a challenge and those who have the virtue of patience.
You will die playing this game. Not just once or twice, but over and over again. But don't let this put you off because death is a big part of this game. Death in Dark Souls is not failure, death is education. You will generally progress slowly through this game, learning from each mistake and realising ways in which you could handle a certain situation better each time.
To begin with you create a character and the overall choice is really down to class. The other choices are aesthetic and also a small gift selection. You then set out on a very sparse tutorial which doesn't tell you much more than the use of the controls. This is intentional.
A majority of the game goes unexplained; you have to work out aspects of the game as much as you have to work out getting through the game itself. You may be tempted to look for answers on the internet or in a guide, but I suggest you try things out for yourself before seeking answers because that's the spirit of the game.
The gameplay is great, if your character is fully clad in armour wielding a long sword and shield, it actually feels that way. He won't manoeuvre as freely as he would just wearing a robe and clutching a wooden staff. The combat is fluid and has to be thought about strategically. If you're in a tight hallway facing a horde of zombies, is it better to throw in a firebomb, lure them out one by one, or try the swing of a sword? Well, the swing of the sword is going to catch on the tight walls, you may be down to your last fire bomb so you're going to have to lure them out or get a weapon that will pierce, thus thrusting forwards
To me, this game is not far from a masterpiece. The only gripe I had with the game is that it's not as easy to hook up with friends as it was in Demon's Souls. In Dark Souls there are multiple servers so getting on the same server as a friend is a bit hit and miss, but then I realised, that's the point! In Demon's Souls if you had a friend to play with you it made the game a breeze. In Dark Souls, they want you to feel isolated and to put your trust into strangers.
Finally, here are a few things I will say to take into consideration before playing.
-Set a few hours aside for your first time playing
-Don't buy a guide or look online for hints, try things out for yourself
-Expect to die and don't let it disappoint you - learn from it
-Consider your first class as one that focuses on range, the sorcerer or hunter for example
-Dont rush as this is the biggest factor that contributes towards dying
-Try boss battles on your own a few times before getting help
-Explore everywhere - you will be rewarded
I could go on forever about different aspects of the game, but I will just say - pick this game up if you want something refreshing, challenging, rewarding and most of all fun.