Just finished (at last!) Dark Souls this weekend, at 44 hours of well spent playtime (Link The Fire ending, of course), and just wanted to share some last thoughts on the matter, without any particular order.
Fifteen of this hours where spent just getting to the fist bell, no joke
Gwyn's fight was highly memorable, I loved how From Software managed the entire setting: enter the fog, and there he is, the mad king running at you with the last of the world's flame on his sword, no dialogue, no cutscenes, just two lonely souls locked on in combat, the clash of swords echoing through a forsaken cave in the middle of nowhere, while a sad and slow piano piece encompasses what is not a epic clash of legends, just the shell of a former great and noble man passing the torch onto the would be follower of a tragic, but necessary sacrifice (unless you take the dark ending path, that is).
My progression: Knight set, Elite Knight set, Silver Knight set and Black Knight set... I see a pattern there...
The combat system is definitively the highlight of the game: managing your stamina is a must, and a whole game on itself of balance between hits, standing on the safety of a shield or letting it recharge, taking risks for the sake of getting another hit off, in fact it is really hard to get back to Skyrim after witnessing this interesting system =/
Firelink Shrine... where things begin and end (closely at least)
Shouldn't Dark Souls be classified as survival horror? The whole setting was pretty gloom, not unlike a medieval Silent Hill, every NPC was either borderline psychopatic or suicidal, or most of time, in a state of "accepted despair" if that has any meaning, even the joyful ones don't end well (shine on, Solaire Of Astora, if not for you I'll still be on Anor Londo).
If I had to select an overall theme for my experience with the game it definitively would be: Duty, every minute of the game felt to me as the last hours of someone who knows what he has to do, even if that means putting and end to his existence for the benefit of others (the exact same feeling of the barn scene at the end of Red Dead Redemption, now that I think of it), likely because of the lack of heroic music even during fights (which on bosses is swapped for rapid beating symphonies meant to put you more nervous, I'm sure).
Wasted my embers experimenting, as you can surely see, hehe
Well, that should be it, now to scourge the net in search of the answer to the meaning of the mysterious pendant, and the supposed secret boss of Duke's Archive's(did anyone else think that area was creepy? It has a strange feeling to it...). Thanks for reading!