I love metroidvanias but I played HLD for two hours or so and it just didn't gel at its core, the feel of it isn't tight or punchy and rather loose with no impacton feedback. Not the least of its problems, the awful presentation without text or exposition. That whole thing could work in a game with was more detailed artistically but not here, it's just an annoyance rather than a cool aspect. The healing system is shite and way to forgiving along with the one hit point taken for dying from a fall. Might as well have regen by default if that it the system you're goung with or allow for the hard mode from the start. The whole experience is summed up by the mechanic of holding triangle for three seconds to pick items up after breaking them out of a box. Utterly pointless
I was sold on it being a Zelda clone but cqme away feeling as if I'd played some 2 euro mobile game.
I'm not sure what you mean by tight or punchy. The whole story of the game is pretty simple, and should just be ignored. Fretting over the story in this game is like fretting over the story in the OG Super Mario Bros. The game does have a huge issue with tutorialitis. The first few levels are just too easy. But it does ramp up steadily from there. The healing system might feel forgiving now, but wait until you are fighting some of the insane boss fights this game throws your way. Give it another try. At least until you beat the North area boss. I call him Bird-Asshole-Jesus.