And then I saw that Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition was in the Midweek Madness special on Steam. I had heard about the 'spiritual predecessor' of this game, Demon Souls, and watched some gameplay vids on Twitch of Dark Souls. Normally, I am not too fond of games with a punishing difficulty level, but with that price, I thought: "OK, why not?"
So far, I'm having a good time. Yes, it's a difficult game, and every time you rest, the 'normal' enemies respawn. But that makes for good grinding (if you can handle them). And yes, you lose all the souls you collect (souls are both currency and XP in this world), but if you manage to get to the place you died, you can collect them again. For the rest, all your equipment and stats just carry over from one 'life' to the next, so it's not like you can't progress if you die.
There is one thing that made me throw away my save game and start all over again. I got to a certain point where there's a non-agressive NPC that you can talk with. I decided to try out my newly acquired bow on him. And sure enough, he got up and killed me. OK, I thought, no big deal: I'll simply respawn here and collect my souls again and then be on my way. However, when I respawned, the NPC remained hostile. I had no real way to defeat him, and so I got stuck in an endless cycle of respawn - flail around a bit while being chased by the NPC - get killed - respawn again...
I haven't progressed that far into the game. I found a merchant and am now grinding a bit (and avoiding the mini bosses in the level) to get some nice gear before I continue on. So far, I'm liking it.