Sooo, got the game and have defeated the first boss. Impressions:
I like it, it is good.
Playing a bandit. Female bandit armour is an eyesore. Having difficulty determining whether the armour in shops is better than the armour I am wearing. Seems you can only compare them easily once you have bought them and they are in inventory
A dex build seems to have not many advantages at the moment - rolling is probably better of course but the bow is probably only useful in strategic ranged situations, not like Demons' bow where you could go through the whole game with it.
Dex seems to have no efffect on falling damage, a 10 ft fall will kill you
Combat seemed very clunky at first, and I had to adjust camera sensitivity down to zero to get comfortable. The enemies seem more able to parry and there is a bit of that.
Not a fan of the larger mobs of enemies. A different challenge though. Lots of damn ambushes which isn't great. A lot of dudes come to life after you pass them and attack from behind.
Like the fast travel system and like the non-respawning enemies (though have only seen this with one guy so far , so it probably takes 7 or 8 kills before they disappear).
Environments etc seem ok - you can see a lot of the landmarks in the distance from the overworld, which is good. The outdoor area Majula is a bit hard on the eyes, maybe because of the 'hot oil' sea effects. Underground and indoors seem lovely. I'm having trouble spotting some enemies against the backgrounds (may be my colourblindness but my brother who is the same has no such issues so may be gamma settings or something).
Plenty of stuff to figure out, with a lot of locked doors and stuff that you'll have to come back to later and see what happens.
Overall, very positive, though the above probably focuses on negative stuff in the time-honoured tradition of gamers everywhere. Played it till 3am and my brother was still playing it when I went to bed. Lots and lots of texts exchanged, so collaborative gaming at its best.