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I'm actually playing this now and I just gotta say...
I feel naked and exposed in the first couple hours, like any other FromSoft Soulsborne, but I could already tell this is going to be more difficult on average than the ones I've finished (DeS, DS1-3, ER), though surprisingly second-tried the first and second bosses, I got curbstomped by the third boss which is then where I realized this game does something I've wished Souls would lean into more that they only ever really acknowledged in Demon's: Damage type matters!
The third boss took me probably 20+ attempts, putting it near the highest across all of the games excluding maybe what I'd played of Sekiro, and the boss itself is brilliant.
So far I really vibe with the general presentation, and the decision to make your blade be interchangeable with the handle (handle = moveset, blade = damage + speed) is a huge step up from one of Souls' main problems of "oh no I can't switch off my weapon 1/3 through the game without grinding a buttload!"; which honestly feels like why they may have immediately stopped caring about damage type, rather than address this problem. Sure they allowed you to respec, but it's useless if the thing you're switching to is unupgraded anyways.
Took me about 5ish hours to get to and beat the third boss, but the game's sinking its teeth into me the same way the rest of FromSoft's Soulsbornes do.
Most of the game is a strong 8 to me but holy hell the final boss gauntlet is agonizing, not because they're particularly difficult but because they're just so SLOW. OH BOY I CAN'T WAIT TO WALLJUMP IN A CORNER FOR 5 MINUTES!!! Missed the final boss's weakness that would've proly trivialized it bcus even tho I tested everything I guess I hit em at the wrong angle so XD
I also just think not refilling weapons or subtanks based on at least their state at the last checkpoint is awful, to the degree that during the final boss gauntlet you're better off game overing intentionally to get all your weapon charges back if you don't want to just do 1 bar at max charge (but don't system reset because the password makes you replay the entire first level too LMAO)
I'd probably like it a lot more on replay but the prospect of replaying games like this isn't particularly attractive to me, there's so many games and so little time to play them all. I DO think it's one of the more compelling ones to revisit though, alongside something like classic Sonic.
One of the few games to start making me cramp up and give me sore thumbs. Zero is cute also.