As a fan of story-driven adventure's with RPG elements, Horizon Zero Dawn is satisfying. I'm only about 15% into the game, but I'm definitely enjoying it so far.
• The story is interesting enough to make me want to pursue the main quests, and the different methods of uncovering pieces of the story (dialogue, visuals, text, etc.) are varied enough that I feel compelled to explore everywhere to figure out what happened.
• The visuals of this game are incredible--even the world map is so utterly gorgeous that I want to hang it on my wall. The character renderings are beautiful (and sometimes odd), but it's the natural scenery that takes the cake visually. The lighting, the flora and fauna, the use of landscape features, and the weather elements create a distinct sense of place and atmosphere that I find pretty immersive.
• The dialogue has been compelling, and I've appreciated both watching Aloy respond to characters on her own, and choosing Aloy's responses myself--the element of choice and lack thereof feels balanced. Aloy both feels like her own person, and a person I am involved in, and I appreciate it--watching Aloy make her own decisions influences how I play her and the dialogue options I choose because I am able to get a good idea of what I *think* Aloy might do in any given situation, not just what I--Player--would do. In addition, I appreciate the dialogue options that develop Aloy's character as an interesting tool for the plot (you're sometimes prompted to choose an Aggressive, Clever, or Compassionate response to a situation).
• The combat is exciting, fun, and satisfying. There's a large focus on ranged combat, so far, which is refreshing to what I expected, but I've found that the melee combat is still effective and fun, when you use it. The game wants players to learn about the machines and their weaknesses, but I've found so far that I don't really need to--I can get a high vantage point and just shoot an enemy until it dies (since ammo crafting components are EVERYWHERE), or I can use my (relatively overpowered?) spear to take down my enemies quickly. Combine this with stealth-kill perks that you can obtain pretty quickly and an abundance of healing materials, and I haven't died once yet. Regardless, the combat is still fun, even if I haven't found it challenging yet. (There's also different difficulty modes, so I think this can also be changed if you prefer a real challenge.)
THE NOT SO GOOD
• The controls are occasionally frustrating, and I think could have stood for some improvement (touchy, puzzling at time as to why you can do something but not another thing, un-precise in ways I expected them to be precise), but so far they have not detracted much from my overall experience and enjoyment of the game. The most frustrating, by far, is the jumping/climbing mechanic. There is so much in the world that looks climbable and would be LITERALLY climbable in reality, but Aloy is inexplicably unable to climb or traverse these areas. This has been extremely disappointing to me because it makes the world feel less open and more like these structures are just furniture, meant to add visual appeal to the landscape but ultimately meant to be passed by as the roads funnel me to my next quest marker. If there were more opportunities for creative climbing, I think the world would feel more truly open and that players would more greatly enjoy exploring a visually beautiful area that may not have much to offer in the ways of loot, enemies, or story-details.
• So far, the world feels a little sparse. There are ruins of the old world everywhere, but I've found them generally lacking in things to discover, do, or explore when they're not marked as a specific ruin that you'll need to go to. Since I'm only in the beginning, this might change, but I've found it disappointing.
Overall, I am a fairly forgiving player. I am willing to overlook the shortcomings I've found in the game's mechanics and such because I am interested in finding out more about the world, the story, and the characters. I'm interested to see where it goes!