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I bough Dark Souls: Prepare to Die somewhat late (at about release of DS2 / DS2:SotFS). My laptop could barely run it (had several problems with "Framerate too low for online play") but the game helped me a lot when I needed it.
I had really good time with my first character (even tho I did not go blind into it). It was about 100 hours of playtime with just 1 character.
I am always comparing new/existing games with Dark Souls. Not because of difficulty, but gameplay and story (modern games are more of story and less of gameplay).