Dark Souls is a fantastic series and I'd recommend starting with Dark Souls Remastered instead of going straight to 2, simply from an experience stand point of lore and the world. I’m a geezer gamer and got back into it a few years ago as an exercise in eye/hand coordination and for mental acuity. I played DS: Prepare to Die Edition, DS2, and DS3. I have Sekiro in the queue now that I just purchased during a Steam Sale. Currently I'm into XCOM. Finished "Enemy Unknown" and doing a playthrough of "Enemy Within" (Unknown but with new DLC structure and content). I've got XCOM2 also in the queue.
The first question to ask yourself is what is your goal? Is it to beat the game? Is it to experience the journey? Experiencing the journey is by far the better approach. As Christopher Odd, one my favorite YouTube gamers says: “Set the vibe, if you don’t know that the means it means lights down low, headphones on, volume up, and let yourself get into it.”
Maybe do some checking on the Wiki and look at character classes ahead of time to figure out your starting class. Over time you will be able to evolve it into pretty much anything you want as you gain experience and assign progression. Basically do you want to depend on physicality or on casting as your major method of fighting? Physical characters get up close and personal to deal damage while casters may have to get close at times, but they deal a lot of damage from range.
If you go with caster then you choose between mage (intelligence based) and cleric (faith based).
If you go with physicality, then it becomes a choice between strength and dexterity to start with. Strength tends toward the traditional Knight/Warrior eventually carrying large swords the deal large damage. They wear medium to heavy armor so that they can take some hits from a defensive standpoint. The other basic option is a dexterity type build welding lighter faster swords (one handed + shield or dual weld). Typically they wear light to medium armor because their defense comes a lot from dodge/rolling to not get hit in the first place. This applies mostly to early game as over time you can morph one style of play into another through character progression. From a physicality standpoint you can start as one “class” and move into what is called a “quality” build where you try to balance strength and dexterity around mid-game. In DS1 I did mostly a strength build for early game and found a claymore fairly early and it served me well most of the game. It did more damage and was a little slower to weld then say a long sword or scimitar, but it also had longer range for sweeps and stabs. In DS2 and DS3 I went with DEX builds adding a smidgen of magic later on, really loved rocking a DEX build with a Katana.
Two pieces of advice for starting out.
#1 Look over the “Starting Gifts” to make your choice. Most are consumables so after use they are gone. One that isn’t a consumable is obtainable later in the game if the right series of actions is taken. The one I’d recommend is called the “Master Key” and basically unlocks certain doors without having to run around and find the key first. I like that because it lowers the frustration level. Although watch out for what you unlock, you might not like it.
#2 Play in online mode, there is a mechanic called invasions. In some cases there scripted invasions from NPCs. However online there are invasions that can occur from other players around the world and that’s kind of neat.
#3 Control the battle space. What that means is if you can, YOU decide where you want to fight enemies, don’t let them decide for you. Look at the path forward and behind you. Don’t blunder forward to quickly and activating multiple groups that overwhelm you. Also be willing to pull back and kite opponents into an area where you have the advantage. And maybe it just means if you die it will be easier to return to retrieve your dropped souls (currency). I found this especially important with invaders that would normally kick my ass. Running back to a known area before the fight typically gave me better combat performance, but like I said made returning to pick up my souls easier.
OK, that’s 3 – shoot me.