Wow. Just, wow. This has been the first game in ages that has literally made me say to myself "You've been playing nonstop for 8 hours now, you should go outside." The last game to do this for me was Fallout 3.
The story of this game takes twists and turns, like finding out Elisabet both is and isn't Aloy's mother, and that Aloy is for all intents and purposes a test tube baby with all her genetic makeup and, from what I gathered, the same level of knowledge. The whole conspiracy with the Machines and how they came to be and what Project Zero Dawn pretended to be. Even seeing Elisabet sacrifice herself on a fucking hologram, and not even in person, hits hard. You feel for Aloy because she thought she might finally be getting somewhere, only to be struck down.
Commander Zavala Sylens was that voice in the back of her head that made her think rationally, even though she may have never wanted to. He rallied Aloy to do what she truthfully needed to do, regardless of the situation and consequences, because that's what the Old Ones did to essentially make sure the planet survived. It was also earth shattering to watch Aloy's entire "religious" system be broken down slowly over the course of the game. You can see she has her disbelief in the beginning, but by the end its totally shattered and she knows that the Matriarchs are just talking out their ass.
All she set out for was to find why she was Exiled and shunned and who her parents were, and she got so much more in the long run. When Rost died, she believed she had nothing left. And, in the long run, she was right. Her mother, who wasn't truly her mother, was dead. Her father figure, dead. Her tribe, a lie and a half who now want to praise her and make her their Anointed after shunning her for years for no other reason beyond the Matriarchs being too skittish to raise a child of unknown origin. Seeing Aloy journey to Elisabet's home and finding her body was intense in its own way. Especially the dialogue.
The final battle was so incredibly intense and even put me in the same feel of Liberty Prime in Fallout 3. Learning what GAIA's purpose was, and to see Faro and HADES essentially be the ones to make it all crash down and ruin everything, just ugh everything about this game was absolutely phenomenal, from the way it looked to how much absolute pleasure i had playing it and learning the story and how to play and how to handle all the different Machines and everything.
Thank you Guerrilla. Thank you for bringing this amazing creation to life. The characters, the setting, the weapons, the Machines, everything. 10/10, would play 20 more times through.
EDIT: As a side note, the armor you get from the Power Core quest is insanely OP. It essentially provides you with an Overshield that takes a lot of hits to go down and then comes back up after about 15 seconds of not taking damage. You can take A LOT of damage before this thing turns off and you are invincible while the Overshield is up. I recommend using any other armor until you finish the game if you've been enjoying the amount of difficulty the game has naturally. I played on Normal and still found it pretty hard at some points, but this armor just makes everything insanely easy. Do not use it if you don't wish to lose the difficulty curve.
EDIT 2: Didn't know it til just now, but Aloy's adult voice was Ashly Burch from Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'? I really couldn't tell and she put on an amazing performance. I guess I'm more used to hearing her as Tiny Tina. 😉