Just the fact that, in order to get used to the mechanics and memorize the animations through trial and error, I had to repeat the goddamned same bit where I spawn at the same bonfire and fight the same enemies (who always spawned with me) maybe 40 times in total (after which I uninstalled the game), is enough reason for me to say in confidence that this is shitty game design.
Remember Mega Man 2? And Punch Out? And every shoot-em-up? Wrap the fundamental gameplay elements of those games in RPG trimmings and you have Dark Souls. It's a simple, straightforward game which sometimes people bring false expectations to and end up feeling frustrated because they won't adapt to the game rather than expecting it to cater to them. If you tried to play the old Mega Man games like they were Mario games you'd end up in the same situation - banging your head against the same level over and over again, unable to fathom why you were being destroyed with extreme prejudice on every new screen.
While in fact, contrary to what you said, I did go into Dark Souls without any expectations and was eager to learn from my mistakes, otherwise I wouldn't have tried to correct them tens of times around the same bloody bonfire, I never played those punishing games you mentioned so I guess I'm a newbie when it comes to games that buttfuck you. I'm used to games where you develop skills and situational awareness as you go along, not literally freeze in the same square and keep trying to fight your way out of it!
I can see how that can be fun for some people (no actually I really can't!) but I've accepted that it's not for me.