So I've been playing this game for the past few days, almost on level 14, but still in the early parts of the main quest.
I've to say, the game is really fantastic. They have taken the core gameplay of horizon zero dawn and made it better in every way. Visuals are a significant upgrade, the map is huge, tons of side activities to do - some familiar old ones like cauldron and Tall neck, some new ones like relic ruins, salvage contracts etc. Also the side quests are much better fleshed out with their own mini storylines. Even the combat is more fleshed out with melee combat and stealth combat having it's own skill trees. In fact, many of the early game machines can be easily taken down with melee/stealth, without the use of bow and arrow.
If you didn't like the first one, you may not find anything new here, but i loved the first game and i think this is a really good sequel improving on the prequel in every way. Too bad it released close to Elden ring and got overshadowed. I think, the game really does deserve far more praise and love than it's getting.