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I didn't like it much at first back in days - but that's because 8 years before Demon's Souls released there was this little known PC game called Severance: Blade of Darkness that mostly did what Souls did much later, though without respawn mechanism, but with much better combat - so at first Souls felt to me fairly clunky and not so innovative as others claimed...but I gave it a shot, cause in this age of AAA dreck, every AA game even resembling something that is different is more than welcome in my book. this day, after playing and finishing all 4 Souls, I still feel that combat is quite average, though more than satisfactory, but what makes it stand out is the atmosphere and level design, which are superb - and this is what made Souls only franchise in last 15+ years to get on my Top 10 IPs with 3 or more entries.

I'm the odd one, I like DS2 the most, largely due to setting that resembles medieval fantasy more than other Souls games, plus I really liked whole progressive hollowing/human effigy mechanism.