Alright because it pissed me off so bad, I'm going to make a list of complaints
1) The combat is slow and clunky
Half of what makes DS so good is the combat. DS2 says fuck all that. Every time I roll, parry, or drink, I feel like a new DS game has come out by the time I actually perform the action. Dodging and parrying at the last second is impossible so you just have to wait until the enemy finishes a flurry attack and then R1 spam them. Goodbye nuance. Forget having to decide between striking, dodging, drinking, or parrying. Now you just take turns backing away and hitting each other
2) Level design
Jesus fucking Christ this is why I quit. Remember that sneaky double fake wall leading to the Great Hollow in DS1? Now they're everywhere and sometimes they lead to literally nothing. The levels are boring and uninspired. Nothing catches your eye and leads you to where they want you to go. The levels don't loop back on themselves and when they do, it's in a pointless manner. Progression through the level is meh at best. Some times the paths branch off to side areas but it's really hard to tell which one is the main way and which one is just a side area
3) Boss runs
It was a legit strategy to run past everything to get to the bosses in DS1. Now the levels are designed in such a way that you can't skip by the enemies and you have to kill them before reaching the boss. If you do try to run past them and enter the fog wall, they can stagger you out of entering the fog wall. I have died more times getting to bosses than to the bosses themselves.
4) THE BOSSES
"What did DS players like about the first one?"
"Yeah that's good, we'll put them every 5O feet in this one"
"Should they have lore significance or be unique in any way?"
5) The lore
This one makes me the most sad. DS1 had a rich world where every item gave insight to the world. Item placement had meaning and the items NPCs used had meaning too. I have 24 hours played and things still aren't coming together for me. They give you an item from the first game, tell you this comes from Lordran but everyone has forgotten the name. And every item is like this. How did Lordran fall, what survived, how long ago was this? They don't bother with any of it. And I don't give a fuck about any of the lore in this new world because it's all disconnected. By the time I got to the Lost Sinner, I had no idea who she was or why she was there. Three areas later and still no mention of her. Pretty piss poor way to treat a character who holds one of the four lord souls.
6) Story telling
DS1 had good structure. You arrive in a strange land and are told to ring two bells. On the way you discover more about the gods and this undead curse. By the time you get the lordvessel you have a pretty good idea of the stakes and factions at play. Gathering the four lord souls, you learn more about the first flame, gwyn, and the implications of what you are doing. By the end, you understand most of the world and why you're doing what you are doing. In DS2, you're told by some woman to collect the lord souls for some reason. Everybody's forgotten about the first flame so it seems like the world is going to die off anyway yet you're still gathering these souls for some reason? Places don't have any significance. Here's a poison windmill. Here's an undead prison. Why are they here? Why are you visiting them? Because we had to make a game that's why.
7) The constant reminder that dark souls is hard
I thought having a "prepare to die" version of DS1 was cringy enough but DS2 takes it to another level. First time I died I got the "welcome to dark souls" trophy. First NPCs I reach and she's banging on about how much I'll die over and over. DS2 misunderstands what makes DS1 great. Miyazaki himself said that difficulty was never the point of DS. This game seems to think that hard is giving the players loads to deal with and stripping them of the tools they need to deal with them. The game doesn't test particular aspects of your skill or give you a unique challenge to overcome. It just thinks that making you die to cheap shit makes the game hard and a hard game = a good game
Some chests have traps but there's no way to check. No real interesting NPCs or factions. Constant references to DS1 that make no sense. Weird ADP stat that increases drinking speed. Doesn't add any new challenge except for being another stat to dump points into.
Overall it's just not fun and worse, not rewarding. I remember after defeating Ornstein and Smough in DS1, you were greeted with the sight of amazing chest ahead, the lighting, the music, the soft voice of a goddess telling you you did it, and the lord vessel. There are no moments like that in DS2. DS1 was hard but fair. This game is hard. I wanted to continue playing DS1 even in its toughest moments. I do not want to continue this game and probably won't