As I explain in my posting above, the difficulty spike wasn't what caused me to abandon the game (incidentally, Dark Souls is my favorite game this year, talk about difficulty spikes
). It was the botched scripting, that had me 'loose' a fight after trying it half a dozen time (where I actually lost it). It was aggravating to me that I didn't loose 'well enough' in order to get to that cutscene. All the other issues with not being able to use potions etc. just added up to the miserable experience.