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It started with Demon's Souls, and ended with Dark Souls 1. Dark Souls 2 is a derived, watered-down version of the 'Souls' experience. Therefore it is not deserving of the name, and should not be considered a Souls game. It is a cool game in its own right though.
All the call backs and items from DkS1 feel like they're tacked on. DkS2 is a great game, but it would've benefited more from being D____ Souls instead of staying with the existing lore. It feels like it limits things.
Your name is sung and tattooed now on my heart - here I will carry you forever CarryTori Amos