This is perhaps, one of my most favorite games that I have ever played. Never before have I felt like I was exploring not only a world in a game, but the core mechanics as well. From Software does something that I, having never experienced Demon's Souls, have never before seen. Everything is so obfuscated, but in such a way that it's not inaccessible -- it's just not laid bare before you. Take stat scaling on weapons for example. This is something that it feels like you could go through the entire game and miss, if you aren't either carefully examining the information the game gives you or using a Wiki page. Between that and crafting, the exploration of the world and actions of the NPCs, everything about this game just feels so damn... sublime.
When originally fighting an enemy, I felt tense. I felt anxious. I felt worried and on edge. Groups of enemies could dispatch me easily as I buckled under pressure. But as time wears on, I feel myself becoming more experienced, becoming more collected and tactile. I continue to better myself with my weapons and armours, learn my limits and how to stay within them. I take notes on how an enemy attack, what they're attacking with, where they are positioned, what they are weak to, and more importantly, what I myself am weak to and how to keep myself out of a situation where I will have to face that weakness. All of this information is accessed so routinely in every combat scenario, that it becomes second nature and a part of my actual self.
I have never come across a game that has made me pay such painstaking attention to what I am doing in order to progress. I've only just passed what I believe could be the midpoint of the games, but it has already left such a defined impression upon me. It's almost zen-like, really. It forces you to grow, both as a gamer and as a person, something you see upon introspection. The turning point was when I realized that I no longer care about souls -- they certainly have their uses and I would not forsake them -- but they are not my objective. What you gather and collect is unimportant. Rather, the journey is the key. Knowledge and progress, continual forward movement, regardless of how much or how slow. That is all that is asked of you.
Dark Souls amazes me, and I believe it will continue to do so, long after I have beaten it, which I will do. Eventually. Slowly, but surely.