I feel the same way. As undoubtedly playable DS3 is, after playing it 2 and a half times, It’s kind of forgettable. It’s been quite some time since I beat DS1, but I can still remember just about every beat of the game. I remember where things are, I remember the locations, the bosses, the item locations. DS3 has me going “oh yeah this place” every 30 minutes or so. The story felt boring to me, and I’m one of the rare turds who actually manages to care about the complicated, bloated, unnecessarily hard to pursue story. I still don’t get half of it, but I like it. DS3 has the weakest story to me by far. It’s just a reiteration of DS1, which gave us the reference pantheon for the other games. I get the cyclical nature of the universe framework and all that, but the meat on the bones was slim.
(usurpation of fire was neat though)