Ok, I’m not going to lie to you it does take a while for the appeal to become apparent. I played it for an hour when I borrowed it from a friend and then gave it straight back.
Then he made me have another go.
I think part of it is definitley the challenge. I’m playing Skyrim at the moment and I’m fairly confident whenever I enter a crypt that I can mash my way past whatever daedric lord or whoever is standing in my way. But in Dark Souls you are never, or only rarely, that cocky. When you make some progress you feel like you’ve earned and it feels SO good. It’s really satisfying.
As far as the difficulty goes I would actually say it has more in common with a racing game than an RPG. If you’re racing and you mess up a corner and crash out you won’t win (unless you’ve got the rewind function or whatever). So you race again until you get every corner right. Dark Souls is like that. You have to get every enemy encounter right and then, when you’ve got the muscle memory, the triumph is undeniable.
The atmosphere is amazing. The sound, minimal music, lighting, character design all create a world that feels much more immersive even than Skryim does.
That’s more than 2 paragraphs. Ooops.