So this game is a bit old, I'm aware. Considering though the sequel has come out, and there are still a decent number of people playing this, I don't feel so bad or awkward talking about it. So let's get right into it, shall we?
Dark souls, made by From Software, is considered to be the spiritual successor to Demon souls. It also has a very healthy reputation for being tremendously hard. This reputation is not completely untrue. Yet, I'm getting ahead of myself a bit here. Let's break it down into it's basics. Dark souls is a third person adventure rpg where you are an undead. In this world, undead are banished to the undead asylum, to rot and eventually go insane. One of the interesting features is undead keep coming back to life, until eventually they go hollow, whereupon they can truly die. Your character is freed by another undead, and you begin your journey to discover the land you've arrived at. Your given choices at the beginning to determine your starting stats and equipment, and also given the option for various minor items to help you on your way. Your stats determine your play style and kinds of equipment you can wear, along with the skills you are able to use. Each stat affects different aspects of your character, such as what weapons you can use, spells you can cast, health, stamina, defense and such.
As you progress, killing enemies and collecting items, you gain the currency of the entire game, souls. Souls are used to repair equipment, buy items from vendors, upgrade items and also level your character. When you level, you decide what stats get increased, and each stat you improve makes the next stat that much more expensive to level. Because of this, you will want to figure out what kind of play style you will be using during the game. Items have various requirements to use, and also can have various bonuses. Swords can become stronger if you have more strength, or more dexterity to use more lightweight weapons. Some even have special abilities you can use, and others can be improved at the various blacksmiths into even greater weapons. Eventually you can even form weapons and such into fire, lightning, holy and other attributes, even craft epic weapons from the souls of dead bosses. Of course, this only happens if you can keep your souls.
So, there are bonfires in the game, and they act as your save points/leveling points/basic crafting. They also function as return points when you die. And you will die, a lot. When you die, a few things happen. You become hallowed (more on that in a bit), you lose all of your souls, and you teleport back to the last bonfire you used. Now, you have the chance to make it back to wherever you died, and get all of your souls and humanity back. Oh ya, all of the enemies are back too. This also happens whenever you sit down at a bonfire, everything comes back to kill you. Enemies come in various shapes and sizes, and you need to learn their patterns and how to fight them, which is also dependent on your play style. I'm playing big weapon, heavy shield, lots of armor fighter, so I tend to block everything they throw at me, swing really hard, and repeat. Works well for some guys, other enemies, not so much.
So I mentioned hallowed earlier. So normally your hallowed, which is almost full undead. If you use a humanity at a bonfire, you can revert this, and become human. This has a few benefits. First off, you can now summon other players into your world to help you. Keep in mind you can't communicate, so you'll need to use gestures to get them to know what you want. You can also invade other peoples worlds, killing them for souls, humanity and covenant ratings. Ah right those. Covenants are various groups you can find and join in the game, that award you weapons and spells if you earn ranks in them. This can be done by turning in certain items, killing other players, assisting other players or offering humanity. Some of them are hard to find, but they all offer unique items to the player.
So to me, one of the biggest things about this game is the world. Every part of it feels natural, connected and part of the story. You can see the ruin and decay, that hints at the previous splendor that this place had. The npcs you meet all have back stories, and you can choose to find out what they are up to, ignore them or even kill them if you choose, gathering their gear to improve your chances at victory.
This game can be easily found on steam, in most game stores and is available for the ps3 and xbox 360. I would highly recommend picking this game up.