I loved it even as an early release as it was only playable in a sandbox mode. It gave a very good feel for the sort of survival style this game has. There is some crafting, but it’s fairly simple, you’re not building houses or anything ridiculous, there’s no time for that when you have to melt snow and then boil it to make it potable.
I am not very far along in the story yet but hope to delve a bit deeper on Sunday. I’ll try and come back and give a better impression in that regard. It is separated in days with a linear and accelerated timeline so things don’t stagnate. I think it’d be very interesting if they’d introduce a real-time option, but it would make some aspects very tedious.
Even my wife loves the game (she also loved Skyrim, but generally she’s not much of a gamer).
Edit: I should note I’m playing on an ultrawide and I think that helps the experience a ton, and I started replaying Firewatch as well, it’s just spectacular.