Dark Souls is popular because if nothing is ventured, nothing is gained. "The fall" of modern video games is epitomized by Prince of Persia wherein the player is handed a literal do-over button so there is never any risk of failure to the player. Not surprisingly, this results in a super fucking boring game, and most major single-player games have taken this unfortunate mechanic to heart. Died in a fight? Here, start right at the entrance do that room again. Missed a jump? Here, respawn literally at the same ledge and try again. All my favorite games of the past few years have been ones that eschew this trend; Dark Souls. Dead Cells. Project Zomboid. X-Com. Hell, even Phasmophobia, a very approachable game, does not return equipment lost upon death.
People love to say "I'm just in it for the story," so many games now have a difficulty option that removes *all* difficulty. Hey guess what, games have shit stories. If you just want a story, read a fucking book. There are tons of great books. Dying and failure are core components of video games going back to their inception in arcades, where fucking up literally lost you a quarter.
Steam + PSN: PHJF