EDGE has posted a new article about the staff still playing Dark Souls II, and why the Souls games difficulty is a damaging myth. Here is a small part of the article.
Itís become something of a badge of honour, this delight in the opaque. The Souls games are positioned as an antidote to the modern game design consensus, to big-budget games whose makersí obsession with keeping the disc in the tray means games have never been so fatuous, so facile. And thereís merit to that. But thereís a big difference between hardcore and just plain hard. Candy Crush Saga is every bit as punishing as this, yet it is played by tens of millions every day. Until the conversation around Dark Souls shifts focus to its true strengths, it will forever remain in its niche, starved of the wider recognition it so deserves.
The article is a decent read. But people define 'hard' differently.
Demon's Souls and Dark Souls are 'hard' in the sense that you need to be very patient learning all the intricacies of how mobs fight and how you can survive those fights with your stats and gear. And just like a Super Mario game, when you make a critical mistake, you have to repeat whatever section you were in to get back to the point where you died. Some people consider this kind of repetitiveness as 'hard.'
But the article is correct in that if you're willing to spend time with the game and really understand your stats, your gear, and the level you are in, eventually you will overcome it because everything resets the exact same way. So what at first starts out as a surprise becomes predictable on the 2nd, 3rd, and nth attempt during which your experience and skill increase (hopefully) and you overcome.
In short, the player needs experience and skill to overcome these games. There is definitely no auto-win aspect about them. And with a generation of gamers now who didn't experience the tough arcade games of the 80s but have played fairly forgiving games by comparison, the Dark Souls games come off as 'hard.'
— If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?