My first Souls-like that I played and beat was Bloodborne.
It took me 62:52 ingame hours to complete (including the DLC), but I didn’t beat all the optional bosses.
I started playing it somewhere in the start of 2015, but after 10-15 hours I was in Old Yharnam and just hit a bump. I couldn’t get past the gatling gun guy in the tower… and (in hindsight) I hadn’t grasped the Souls playstyle yet. It hit me hard and after a couple of failures I started playing something different.
In the end I had a break of almost a year, until February 2016. The announcement of Dark Souls 3 sparked (pun non intented) my interest for Bloodborne again and I picked it up. And very soon I discovered some other routes, routes I hadn’t seen in my previous playtroughs. So that was my first aha-moment. And after that it got better and better and I was hooked.
I finished it in the couple of weeks after that I finished Bloodborne and it’s DLC (The Old Hunters). And after that I dove straight into Dark Souls 3 (my first Dark Souls experience). I had to adjust my playstyle a little, but after a while I even liked the gameplay and setting even more than Bloodborne. And finished that game after 51:45 ingame hours (that was aprox 2 months after starting it).
I still haven’t played the DLC of DS3 and slowly was exploring the Archdragons Peak - but still haven’t finished it. I do think about the game a lot, but getting back into it feels like a big hurdle ^^
But I’m sure that hurdle will be worth it, the moment I dive back into the game.
I do notice that after playing the Souls-like games, my perspective on games has changed. I usually could play any game, but after playing BB and DS3, I now get bored after a while when there is less challenge… or less structure. I tried playing the Witcher 3 (for 50+ hours), but it couldn’t keep me entertained. The combat felt unchallenging. And I had the same issue with Horizon Zero Dawn. It has probably also something to do with the games begin open world.
But shortly after I finished DS3 I bought Overwatch and DOOM. And returend both of them after a couple of days, because I was expecting the same level of challenge. And now, almost one year later I bought Overwatch again… and DOOM again ^^