I feel like you not actually addressing the points I'm raising. They've gone from 4 hits to close to 10 hits per mob and all you say is "change the difficulty". I feel we will go nowhere with this if thats the level of response.
I am not the souls fan base - it has no relevance here. You have no idea what my thoughts are on souls difficulty.
Are you sure on this, before playing GOWR, I replayed the GOW 2018 in new game +, playing on the same difficulty level because I wanted to get through the game fast and transitioning to GOWR the main story arch was pretty much a breeze. Normal enemies pretty much melted before my ax and blades and I wonder if you are using your abilities to shed their health or just hitting R1 a bunch of times. The key with GOWR is that your frost and fire actually does work unlike the first game and you get damage buffs for applying them. If all you are doing is R1 all the time then yeah, you are going to not do the most damage you can deal out. Also I can assure you, in the first fights, it was not 4 to 5 hits on those enemies, they were like sponges for damage.