Uh, spoilers I guess? Weird to say for an 11-year-old game, but I suppose there will be people experiencing it for the first time, so...
I thought it might be fun to find out how other folks like to build their characters for this game. Part of the reason for that is that I expect there might be a lot more similarity here than for ensuing Souls games, because IMO they weren't thinking nearly as seriously about balance in this game, and so there's some equipment that to me just seems like the obvious way to go. I'd settled most of my setup long ago when I bought my PS3 to play this very game, and it hasn't changed much for this next time around.
Melee weapon: I am a great proponent of the Blueblood Sword. The only real negatives are its high initial stat requirements and the fact that it mainly scales on luck, which is otherwise a fairly useless stat. But oh, man, the advantages. It has amazing power, great speed, great range, two different damage types, and perhaps best of all, it can still be enchanted on top of the magic damage it's already got. Paired with Light Weapon, it can make short work of pretty much anything, including some bosses and black phantoms that are normally damage sponges.
The only other magic weapons that can also be buffed/enchanted are the Meat Cleaver and Geri's Stiletto; I know some people prefer the Meat Cleaver for its health-leeching, but I've always favored the BBS for its faster attacks, it just seems more versatile. But the BBS and Meat Cleaver seem to be miles away the best PvE weapons, while for PvP stuff like the shield-bypassing Moonlight Sword and Blind or the infamous and terrible/cheap Scraping Spear are probably more attractive (I never PvP in this game though).
I will also sometimes roll with a fully upgraded Phosphorescent Pole in one hand and the Beast Talisman in the other solely for the fast MP regen, if I feel like running through a level Soul Ray-ing everything to death without needing to constantly consumes spices.
Bow: The Lava Bow is astoundingly good. The fire damage it adds on top often stuns enemies you hit. And it does wonders for killing the reaper at the start of 4-2 for soul farming. I usually use Light Arrows, since the increased range often means more than a raw boost in damage.
Catalyst/Talisman: The fact that the Beast Talisman can cast both sorceries and miracles and seems to give up little MagAdjust in return makes it an utter no-brainer for me. There are too many useful sorceries and miracles in this game not to use both, and there aren't enough equipment slots in each hand to use both a catalyst and a talisman without needing to be constantly switching your equipment around.
Spells/Miracles: Second Chance/One-Time Revive is another obvious one. Who doesn't like a spell that saves you from certain death in all cases except a fall? Yeah, it takes two miracles slots and costs 100 MP, but it's worth the benefit. The only reason not to use it is if you either want the game to be harder, or for some reason want one of the other mutually exclusive buffs on instead. But rarely are any of those other buffs better than an extra life.
The heal and antidote miracles also have great utility if you have an easy source of MP regen and don't want to eat through all your healing items, even if they're generally too slow to cast mid-fight.
Light Weapon, as already mentioned, is stupidly good when paired with the Blueblood Sword and will kill pretty much any enemy in the game very quickly.
Either Soul Arrow or Soul Ray are extremely useful generic attack spells for taking out flying or ranged enemies, or even to whittle down bosses. Soul Arrow is sometimes actually preferable simply because it only costs a third as much. But I rarely leave home without one of them. Sometimes I'll switch to flame toss instead if there are a lot of enemies weak to fire around (like world 5)... or I just use the Lava Bow for that. :-P
I never really got into the bigger, higher-cost attack spells, though if I keep playing this much longer I may experiment around with some of that stuff.
Armor: Armor is a bit weird in this game because there are only two tiers of roll speed, either above or below 50% equip burden, and since poise isn't a thing, it seems like you pretty much always want to go with whatever combination of armor gives you the most defense while staying under 50% equip load. If you're a male character and are at the 40 endurance soft cap, the Ancient King's set seems to toe the line nicely, though currently my endurance isn't nearly that high and I'm just using the Venerable Sage's set with the Silver Coronet for the increased max MP.
So... what equipment does everyone else like to use?