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Dying in Dark Souls was pretty nice because the only things you lost were your souls (and humanity, if you had it). Then finding your Souls created a new challenge. Shovel Knight took this same approach and even added a risk-reward system for dying.
Dark Souls 2 ruined this by making you lose some of your Max HP every time you died. Seriously, how is that fun? That just makes things more frustrating.
If I remember correctly, the creators of Super Meat Boy had a great write up on difficulty and fairness in death and fairness in punishment.