As most know, it is the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls, and they do carry over a lot of the same concepts. To be perfectly honest, it's a lot easier, but at the same time, that's not saying much. I'll just cover some of the highlights.
- Armor matters, and now heavy armor actually protects, whereas in Demon's Souls it was more of a hindrance. - You can get powerful weapons early, and your starting armor can be useful throughout the game. - The bosses aren't cheap (I'm looking at you Maneaters...) and with a little trial and error they are simple. - You can summon NPC phantoms to help (great for offline players).
A neutral point...
- It's a free-roaming world. There is an item that lets you go to some places, but for the most part you need to open shortcuts.
There are some minor gripes, but that's just because the game felt unfair at certain points. If you have played Demon's Souls, a certain area will remind you of dear old Maiden Astraea's world. Same tense air, same "why did that happen?!", same "where did that come from?!" feel. Plus the poisoning we know and love.
This game is a bit easier for those new to the series to learn, and just about anyone can be successful. If you want a challenge though, this game will help.
To put this game into one word. Insanity. I've realized now that I've been skimming through games with no actual effort. This game forces and demands effort at every turn. Bravo and thanks for the purchase :)