Is this how you PS4 players have been living this whole time? I love my XBox One, but when Microsoft puts out an exclusive, it's a dude wearing a helmet. When Sony puts out an exclusive, it's brilliantly rendered people with genuinely affecting facial expressions, pitch-perfect motion capture and voice acting. Between this and Uncharted 4, I had no idea that video game characters could be so nuanced and fully realized.
Anyway, I spent at least a good 6-8 hours with Horizon yesterday and I'm blown away by nearly every aspect. The gameplay is tight and comfortable from the get-go and combat is equal parts challenging and also very quick to pick up. You'll feel like a badass hunter from the start, then get smacked down hard and fast by the next big bag machine in the food chain and be reminded that this game plays rough and plays for keeps. Then you'll learn from the ass-kicking, attempt that beast again and feel like an even more badass hunter for having taken it down with clever planning and well-aimed attacks.
The story so far is fantastic. It starts out feeling like it's going to be run of the mill post-apocalyptic sci-fi fare, and then keeps throwing in kinks and twists that dispel that first impression pretty quickly. The characters feel real, despite some standard filler RPG dialogues, and Aloy's shifts between confidence in hunting and tracking and frustration and fear in knowing very little about virtually everything else feels natural and relatable.
Finally, the music. Brilliant. The game's score perfectly blends a dichotomy of rolling, upbeat piano and strings pieces that convey a sense of wonder and discovery in exploring the game world, and slow, somber laments that make you think of the world that was lost to this one.
Getting deeper and deeper into this game is going to be like getting further into a great book.