Three problems I'm having with the game so far:
1. Unfair punishment for dying: For a game that is so much about dying, it seems backwards to now punish that player with less health and when playing the game with half health some bosses can oneshot you and it becomes frustrating to move forward. What happens when the player runs out of effigies and lifegems?
2. Hitboxes: Some attacks straight up don't hit where they're supposed to, biggest example being smelter demon whose hitbox seems 4-5 times larger than his weapon. Makes it frustrating that I die to something that doesn't exist.
3. Recycled enemies/themes: Belfry gargoyles are straight up the same boss fight with a few more gargoyles. Ornstein straight up has a clone in this game. It's not just the enemies either, the storyline seems almost the exact same with the 4 lord souls and the same exact setup with a different setting.
1 - Demon Soul, you didn't played it. It was even more punishing for dying. On Dark Souls 2 you lose a little bit of your maximum health each time you die, until reaching 50%. It is supposed to represent the slow hollowification that comes with death and it's a good exemple of a gameplay respecting its lore. In Demon Souls, you dropped to 50% of your max help the first time you died, because it was the default health of the Soul Form (equivalent of Hollow Form in Dark Souls). Worst, depending on the tendencie of the world where you were, you could drop below 50, reaching 25% in extreme cases (Dying while human would shift your world toward dark tendencie, making ennemies stronger and lowering your max health in Soul Form. Additionnaly, if your personnal tendencie wath dark too, by being evil and killing innocent NPCs, that maximum health in Soul Form also dropped).
2 - Nothing to say here, hitbox are weird.
3 - Recycling boss/themes/NPC is nothing new. Belfry Gargoyle is a shoutout from the previous gargoyles, who where already a shoutout from the Manhunters from Demon Souls. Some NPC have this too : Mild mannered Pat = Trusty Patche = Patches the Hyena. Orstein comes back as a loved boss here once again. Vestaldt is a shoutout from a NPC from Demon Souls (don't remember the name), who got another shoutout in the Phantom Leeroy Lucatiel is a shoutout from another warrior girl who searched for her brother. Lautrec was already a shoutout from another killer knight from Demon Souls and he is back as some serial killer disguised as a knight. Vendrick is reminiscent of Gwyn. and you could point out many, many things like this.
But you can either think about it as lazy writing, but I don't.
As for the story that you call "the same", I don't quite agree. Sure, you have the four Lord Souls, sur those who hold them are reminiscent of those who held them in the previous game... but considering the central theme of Dark Souls 2 is reincarnation, that's no surprise. And that alone isn't enough to say "story is the same !". It's not... so not the same story.