I waited a long time to get Horizon as I felt like buying it day one was me kind of throwing money away. Not because it was bad, but because there were a lot of other games that I had not finished yet that I wanted to get around to. And then Ringed City for DS3 came out and I just had to play that for about a week, finding the secrets and finishing off the franchise. But I finally said 'screw it' and got Horizon on Friday night. That first hour or two was amazing. The way that the world is slowly introduced to you felt a lot like Witcher 3, and I have played that game for about 30 days worth of game time.
So some good things and bad things. There is a lot more that is good rather than bad though. I have made my way to Meridian and met the Sun-King, Olin is dead, so that is how far I have made it. I like how the transition between biomes is not so sudden, and I like how everything looks believable. The story is honestly really good, or at least surprisingly good. I found that the story of Killzone was never great, but Horizon has this mix of mystery and sci-fi that I am absolutely intrigued. The story has also, for the most part, unraveled in a really natural way. I don't think that many of the characters really have stand-out bad performances. The dialogue and facial animations so far have felt natural to me, really casual in general. It felt more to me like real people talking among themselves. There have been some awkward deliveries, but this is the first time Guerrilla has done anything like this.
And with that said, I find this game to be Guerrilla to be actually maturing as a team of developers. They have been making Killzone for more than a decade now, and they finally make something new and it is a fully realized open-world RPG? This is impressive. Combat is fluid and well balanced. It is simple enough that people can easily get the jist of it, but complex enough that in order to be good you need to train yourself as a player. The machines are all amazing as well, and the design is honestly just cool to look at. Also, even when playing on a regular PS4 the game looks amazing. Horizon Zero Dawn, Witcher 3, Uncharted 4, Adr1ft, and Battlefield 1 are now, in my opinion, some of the best looking games on the PS4 right now.
Now a couple of things I am not a huge fan of. I find that there is a lot of armor that doesn't really look…cool? For lack of a better word. I realize that the armor design has the same focus on practicality that the rest of the game has, but when armor that NPCs wear looks cooler than yours I get a little jealous. I don't think I have seen all of Aloy's potential armor sets yet, but I have seen probably the majority of them. The Nora Brave outfit is pretty cool, but when the description says it is 'upgradable' I don't know if it is referring to the fact that you can modify it or if you can actually upgrade it. The Nora stealth outfits are really useful but they don't look amazing or anything. The Carja and Oseram armor is sort of the same. I want that stealth bonus boy, but I wanna look cool while sneaking around. Oh well.
The only other negative I could think of with the game is that music is not stellar by any means. The themes are nice and all, but the soundtrack is not on the same level as Halo, Journey, Witcher 3, or Bloodborne. That is admittedly incredibly minor. The gameplay is too good to let the music get me down.