Dark Souls- Prepare to Die Edition is in no way kidding as you will die more often than you have ever died in any video game. From Software took what they had in Demon Souls and improved the formula making this game a totally addictive and time consuming escape into a world that at no time shows you the ropes on how to survive. It does not have an easy mode nor does it have a training mode or tutorial. What acts as a tutorial is really just throwing you into a prison as a "hollow"which is how you spend most the game in this dead state and letting you figure out what to do.
Humanity is something your earn and spend to live which changes somethings in the game. When living you can be invaded by other players. You can also use stones dropped in the game to summons help or invade others games. The pvp in the game is controlled in a manner that it is infrequent and they have to be within 10 levels of yours to be allowed in. You do get a message when your world has been invaded and it always adds tension not knowing where someone is but knowing they are coming for you.
You get little tips from other players as you can leave messages and warnings to help you along the way. The way this is incorporated into the game is one of the coolest, minimalistic ways to have players work together. You can not really co op with friends but there is a system as there was in Demon Souls to add players but you do not know who you will summon and sometimes it can take a longtime to get help. Personally, I have not used it and have played the game working on figuring out what the bosses and demons do.
You are able to play as any kind of character you wish. From a spell casting wizard or a flame throwing pyromancer. A Knight with a broadsword and shield or a stealthy thief type with poison daggers. You can mix and match armor/weapons and rings to get different effects and boosts depending on the area you are fighting in. You also get plenty of options while leveling up to change stats and the game does a good job of showing you what attributes change which stats.
A big part of the game is learning the traps , tricks, secret rooms and where the fake walls are located. You inch your way through the world not knowing what's around the corner. Even the lowly beings are dangerous and more than once I was killed by something I took for granted feeling superior only to find I was a fool...a dead fool.
The game is very large and the areas are varied and fun to explore. The game will take 60-100 hours to compete as you do end up going through a level or area often to beat the bosses. Sometimes you may want to farm to gather souls which is the currency in Dark Souls for leveling. I have also found gathering items to improve you weapons and armor is vital to get through the game. Bonfires restore health flasks and reset areas except bosses you have beaten. They also act as a spawn point if you die.
Boss fights are some of the toughest, time consuming battles where the object is just trying to find the weakness and learn the patterns. More than a few times at first glance I think this is unbeatable period. It may take many deaths before you start to see what seems to work and I have spent almost 2 hours on one battle. The pay off is a tangible feeling of accomplishment when you do succeed in besting the boss. Few games have me so consumed that I feel almost compelled to finish this game!
The visuals are sometimes breathtaking and sometimes I have stopped to just enjoy the view. I own both the ps3 versions and the pc version but I do recommend if you play this on the pc you get the user mod that fixes the native low resolution and low fixed framerate as without this tweak the game looks like crap on the pc. After installing the mod the pc version is superior to the console in visuals. The mod is called dsfix. Without this mod the PS3 or 360 version is the way to go imo. If you want a deep, intense, strategic rpg that will frustrate the impatient and reward the patient with a feeling of accomplishment seldom felt in gaming...buy this game !!!
P.S. the pc version does give you some extra content as well. I presume the console versions will be getting this added content in some form of dlc soon enough if not already.