Some players play through the entirety of Dark Souls or Dark Souls II without a single idea of what's going on or why, but the lore is there. It is well developed, it's smart. It's visual, it's hidden. Australian YouTuber Vaati has made an internet career out of delving into this lore and explaining it and now he has attempted to make sense of Dark Souls II, in particular it's ending.
I consider myself one of those players who goes through the entirety of Dark Souls mostly oblivious to the lore, but I think what that lore creates in those oblivious players is a tangible sense of genuine atmosphere. It provides a feeling of weight in the world, the feeling that everything has its place and exists for a reason. In a sense the player doesn't have to understand anything, having every inch of a video game world dripping in history makes a difference whether you are aware of it or not. That's the beauty of the Souls series, it never feels the need to shove it down your throat.