Glad you enjoyed it and found a nice partner, felonious! Did you go through the entire game with the same person? <img />
This isn't a spoiler, but their claims that it is entirely anonymous are not true. It seems that each time you play, you are assigned a random glyph that appears when you "sing". Since your partner could drop out at any time, noticing their glyph is a big clue if you are going through each area with the same person. And if you sit through all of the credits, at the very end it will list the PSN IDs of each person who joined you on this journey, including their glyphs. I made sure to jot down the name of a particularly good partner that I had.
The way I play, and due to the shortness of the game, I think 3 playthroughs would have been a minimum. Yes, the first time was the most magical, but I missed plenty of little things by sticking to the main path. And additional meanings and such became clear on subsequent playthroughs. The co-op added more variety, hence my reason for going back a few more times. I have one final "hidden" object to discover, and my own exploration will be 100% complete. Then it will be all about the partner experience.
My first time through was with a partner, and it was pretty good. We were both noobs, so there wasn't any helping, per se. We just tried to stick with each other. I played solo next. The time after that I had the great partner. They followed my lead, and we seemed to communicate really well. Several other partners were either clueless or completely disinterested in sharing the experience. Yet another partner wouldn't make a move without me, which was slightly frustrating. Heh. But each one has been different.
Here's a spoiler question for you about the end: Since you mentioned the false ending, did you get my earlier reference to pushing your character--almost to the point of regret? Marching on into the snow, with each step getting slower and slower, with your partner next to you....I really wanted to stop. It was like a slow walk off a cliff. When my partner fell, followed by me, it was a gut punch. Which made the real ending so much sweeter!
You preordered a digital-only game? Why?! Was there any benefit? Let us know what you think once you've finished it. And I totally get your "Demon's Souls" reference. The random match-ups are nice, but it's even better (IMHO) that your partner can't really hurt you here, unlike a red spirit invasion. LOL