Well after 80 hours, I have finally completed my first play through of Dark Souls, and it was quite a journey! This is a game of questing in a cursed land, following helpful hints from online players, teaming up to defeat gigantic demons, and fending off hostile invasions by other gamers.
If you have played Demon Souls then you will know exactly what to expect here, except this sequel provides many improvements. The sounds and visuals are outstanding, the environments are even more sinister, and this time you have a huge world to explore. The scope for character customisation, and the amount of different enemies, rewards to find, and sheer things to do, is staggering. You start off with nothing but a broken sword in your hand, but time and patience are certainly well rewarded (in the end my pyromancer/knight hybrid became a match for anyone!).
So why only 4 stars? This game is described as hardcore and that is an understatement. Some parts are so difficult they will drive you to despair, (though the sense of triumph you receive is very great). The game also explains very little to you and at times can be unfair. Large parts, such as hidden areas or joing various cults, can be passed by totally unoticed, which is a shame as they add much to the playing experience. Henceforth I felt I had to read tips and hints on the internet just a little too much.
To sum up, this is not a game to be played casually. However if you are able to invest the time, effort (and research) you will discover one of the finest games of the year.