Thankfully, I did it all myself in the early going, so even picking it up now on PC it's a pretty much blind playthrough aside from what I had completed earlier (up to the dragon on the bridge).
I fell in love with this game once, and every couple of hours I am not only reminded why, but impressed even more by simply how amazing this game is. It's the game of the generation...maybe the best game I've ever played. It's capable of tapping into real emotion, forcing you to slowly walk into new areas or even stop and contemplating if you want to enter the next area yet. There are layers of mystery and truly deep story that get peeled back more and more as you venture deeper down the rabbit hole.
One of the more unique things about the game, to me, is that after a Boss there is that feeling of elation for having beaten it...quickly followed by that lingering dread of what is to come. I am doing pretty well as far as feeling my way around and finding how certain areas link together via clever shortcuts...though up until just now my progress had slightly stymied by the fact that I got killed by a giant hydra-type thing and lost a bunch of souls and humanity, so I kept trying to get it all back and escape without dying as there is a bonfire very close by. I really don't want to lose the 11 or so humanity and 9000 or so souls (which I know isn't that much, hell it's only another level at this point, but I want it back DAMMIT...and the humanity seems to help with quality of item drops).
It's not a game that is picked up casually and played for just a half hour or so, however. I know that if I log into it I'm going to get sucked in for 2+ hours at least, maybe quit for a bit then man up and give it another go. On this playthrough I think I've only died around 9-10 times thus far, and have yet to die and not regain my souls, so I'm feeling good.
I encounter new enemy types and can handle them right away, in some cases after some trial and error, and the best feeling was beating the gargoyles before the first bell on my first try. It took a while, but it worked and I felt bloody invincible...then I went into Darkroot Basin and fell of a cliff rolling away from a plant/tree guy who was trying to kill me...then I found an elevator that took me into the Valley of the Drakes and, well, the first Drake I encountered killed me promptly. Then the hydra thing...and that's where I've been at until a few minutes ago when I finally killed it.
I initially died by falling in the water running toward its body like an idiot, but I kept going back and killing the crystal giant things and working my way back to my souls, only to die again while trying to kill him, so it was an endless cycle. I took a day off due to the fact that I really didn't want to go through it again, but today I buckled down and made it happen. Kind of an easy fight once I figured it out, just time consuming and dangerous given how close to the edge of the deep water I had to be in order to engage the multiple heads. Now I can do what I was wanting to do prior to making the mistake of investigating that stupid thing...which was experiment with all my gear, grind for some souls to upgrade a new loadout, and choose a direction to progress toward.
I love this game, and I really love how it intentionally frustrates you as a way to intensify the feeling of accomplishment once you've solved whatever puzzle that has you stuck.
I know I'm early in the game and that most of you have probably beaten it dozens of times by now, but I just have to share this experience with someone, so I chose to return to these forums, not as a way to get tips or help, but as an outlet for discussion and whatnot.
When I first came here it was to ask a question, and a wise man told me that it was better to figure it out myself, which I initially took offense to, but he was right. I avoid spoilers like the plague and enjoy the game all the more for it. Being able to step out onto that roof and engage the Gargoyles (well I thought it was only one at first, lol) and not accept the fact that I would die, but rather try to do it on the first try and succeed was a feeling unmatched by any game I've ever played. Seeing a Black Knight now and not running away like in the Burg, but instead putting my shield up and advancing...it's just great that this world has taught me that I can prevail against all enemies if I think and calculate.
I cannot wait for Dark Souls II...I want to be there from the start this time just like many (I assume) of you were for the first and Demons Souls before it *still haven't played that yet.
I think I heard that the beta would be on PS3, if so I'll get one and finally get into Demons Souls as well.
Anyway...thanks for reading, and thanks for being here as a community. I hope to be a more regular participant from here on out.