I mean Holy Sexual Intercourse, Batman! This bastard is a real a bitch! I will always attest to Demon's Souls having a bit of a steep learning curve with a nasty metaphorical guillotine for any error in your play-style, but at the same time Demon's Souls wasn't all that particularly hard. Once you got the main path sorted (after a few dozen deaths to be sure) I at least could swim my way across. I could very easily play through Demon's Souls now and probably only die very sparingly, and only against some of the more aggravating bosses where I might just lose my patience.
I've always still thought that describing the difficulty for Demon's Souls is a tricky task because it's so varied and elaborate. I mean I'm of the faction that believes that Demon's Souls wasn't particularly difficult (least during the original run; those new-game+'s can be a right bastard) minus a couple of boss battles. I died, a lot, to be sure but as many can relate, it was most-often down to my own folly. I played Demons Souls straight from the get-go, too, (a US import for £52's... I literally to this day still don't entirely know why I ponied that much up for a game I knew little about besides its notorious difficulty and its setting) with no massive archive to walk you through virtually everything. I was a melee-focused Priest because I didn't even know Priests could learn magic and figured you were tied down to your characters strengths to the end like most class-based RPG games.
I was completely unprepared; my main weaponry consisted of a holy mace with the dark-silver shield for defense, and the large sword of moonlight for my offensive maneuvers. At that point, upgrading weapons was lost on for me the most part when it came to the unique weapons; I got my mace+shield pretty high up, though my moonlight sword stayed right at the bottom of the upgrade chain. It still completely kicked ass, though, for both PVE and PVP. I had some basic bow for the occasional long-range, and of course there were my miracles to administer buffs and such. A lot of the most hidden secrets were lost on me, and by the time I first completed the game I still had no notion of the world-tendency and character morality malarkey. Suffice to say, I played Demon's Souls only touching the surface, only equipped with the basics, and I prevailed fairly easily in the long run. I did still farm a lot, too, so I was always readily equipped with healing-supplies and other kinds of doodads.. Like I said, a couple of bosses would keep me cornered for a short while (I mean trying to beat the Flamelurker with a melee focused character on your first playthrough was a nightmare), though some extra soul players helped that out. But overall the game was fairly smooth for me; I even completed a few new-game+'s with that same character, too, though I faltered greatly during more of the PVP stuff since I still hadn't worked out much more about the game by that time.
Dark Souls on the other hand... well... that's just downright tough. To note the most obvious handicaps it's decided to pile on now above everything else:
- The movement is significantly more skewed and slow, even when you're wearing light armour. No more rolling around, following a roll directly with another ='(.
- The combat animations, too, feel even more deliberate and also makes Demon's Souls appear more arcadey in comparison.
- The enemies are much more unpredictable, can now more often parry/backstab.
- Enemies can also follow you much more prominently, and even the enemies you attempt to avoid will catch up with you again sometime, often getting from you behind when you least expect it.
- Far as I know, I still haven't been introduced to someone who can sell me poison antidotes (I've just beaten the armoured bull for reference at my current progress), yet they still seem fit to throw G-Virus induced rats at you with a strong poison rate.
- I still haven't found a guy to sell me a bow yet. I'm constricted with this shitty crossbow and the only 15 bolts I've accumulated thus far after my, predicted, 8-10 hours of playtime.
- There are enemies you outright can't even kill now?! Least not without a weapon imbued with magic I assume?
- Dark Souls own ''Dragon guarding a bridge'' also attacks much more randomly; sometimes it'll simply start breathing fire soon as I enter the black recesses, sometimes it'll give me enough time to reach the staircase.
- Seriously, those giant rats are a real headsore.
- You can't stock up on like 9999999 healing items anymore?!
- They introduce the kick and jump-attack abilities, yet make them so cumbersome to perform.
- The targeting is still a nightmare, but that hasn't changed from Demon's Souls. But put into the context of this much (imo at least) harder game, it results in even more frustration should it occasionally falter and force me to target the wrong enemy or make my camera roll around like i'm on a rollercoaster when an enemy dives past or falls of a cliff ect.
- Severely limited spell/miracle use! With no replenishing items!
Now.. with all that, let me be clear: I still fucking love this game and the tears are still of happiness and joy (with a slight pinch of bitter). The urine is still from complete fear and petrification, however. I'm just commenting on my observation as to how... shit... they really stood by their word with making Dark Souls even harder. Some of it does seem a little unfair, the like the more constrained movement controls, but overall it is just From Software adding even more shit to the creek for you to sail up. While also puncturing your boat, naturally. I mean like my e-peen ejaculation up there reads, I considered Demon's Souls a unique challenge, asking of me nothing that many games these days ask of me. Even with such a tough ruleset to swallow when playing Demon's Souls, I found it to be a fairly smooth fit once I got a lot of the basic mechanics and fundamentals nailed. At this point I'd consider myself a veteran even, with the scars to prove it! But damn, man... Dark Souls is a whole other beast.
It reminds me of this level in Resident Evil: Outbreak File 2 (bear with me here...) where you'll have to face against a mutated Tyrant with large claws and a huge pile of rotten caviar resting on his back. He was a mean SOB, and always made you fear for your characters life whenever his theme music started, alerting you to his presence. Once you'd beat him and go through a specific set of gameplay motifs, you'd find yourself up on the room. Once there, you see the Tyrant once again within your view; he's climbing the building, but he looks tired and downright battered. Then this giant slushy, jelly-plant-thing called Nyx appears and envelops him, absorbs him. The Tyrant, a creature fittingly feared, trumped by an even bigger, nastier pile of fuckery. It took everything you new about how to contend with the Tyrant and forced you to flush it. Naturally the analogy of course features the Tyrant as Demon's Souls and Nyx as Dark Souls. Stupid, mostly irrelevant, but... I got nothin'.
TL;DR Dark Souls is much harder than I was anticipating, even with so many Demon's Souls neatly tucked under my belt.
Moral: DARK SOULS IS ACTUALLY JUST AS HARD AS IT PROFESSES TO BE.