I had no prior opinions about the Far Cry franchise as I don't like First Person Shooters, the hook of the open world aspects and crafting elements of Far Cry 3 drew me in and I'm surprised to find it a very enjoyable game experience with some flaws here and there but mostly amazing gameplay systems. Tons of content to explore and a lot of organic open-world goodness here and there, crazy vehicles and some customisation, FC3 is a good shooter.
The gathering / crafting systems are interesting but not perfect
You can carry a limited number of pretty much everything in FC3, healing items, ammo, grenades, loot, crafting materials, money, you name it. You are required to craft all of the upgrades to carry more stuff - and also to craft various buff items and healing syringes - using plants you harvest and animals you kill and then skin. This is very interesting because you have to hunt a bit even as you go from event to event, gathering plants take seconds and killing animals is an event by itself, stalking your prey, getting your shotgun / light machine gun / bow ready then a random patrol of pirates stumbles upon you, scaring your prey and shooting at you. Or the other way around, you stalk some guy you have to kill, then a tiger comes out of nowhere and chews on you.
Problems start to rise after you've played a bit - not necessarily with the story - and realize that you have about 4-5 items of each categories. The small syringe case might carry 5, the medium might carry 7, the large might carry 9 and the extended one might carry 12, but if you manage to craft them all in two hours, there's not much to look forward, syringe case-wise. Of course, there are dozens of items to craft, but I feel like they missed the boat with that concept. You need 2 skins of one animal for the first rank, 2 of another for the second rank and for the final rank you need special skins gained by doing quests that might not unlock for a while.
After a while most skins become useless and they are still flagged as 'crafting items' which prevents you from selling them quickly and easily, in fact you don't even know they aren't useful anymore and you can collect them and be told that they should be used for "crafting" so they take inventory space and you're never sure what to do with them,
How I would fix that
First and foremost, increase a little bit the number of skins required to craft things, second, have more tiered items that might require skins from two different animals, have more than 4-5 items per category (I could see a syringe belt that holds fewer but automatically uses them when you're low on life, or something) and finally flag useless crafting materials as such so they would get sold with the 'Quicksell' feature.
Same thing with the skill system
I love talent trees, starting somewhere then moving towards a skill I really want to see, placing points after points each level until I finally get there, having to pick some useless skills of course, but mostly going in a straight line to the upgrades I want. FC3 has some of that, you have three skill trees split into different categories of skills and each tree has about twenty skills. Skills range from reduced reload times to increased resources when gathering things and more health. In theory all of this is perfectly fine, however you can only unlock these skills after doing a certain number of story missions and while you're not at this point you won't be able to spend them where you want. So you just wait with your points.
And the skills aren't all useful for your gameplay style so you might want to place all of your points as you get them but they're not all going to be of much use. I didn't do much in terms of takedowns while I played FC3 so much of the skills were of no use to me. Your mileage might vary!
How I would fix this
Make the skills unlocked by levels instead of story missions, I didn't want to do the story missions too fast, I wanted to do everything around, all of the hunting and the radio tower stuff. Forcing me to wait for a long while before I could spend my points (At one point I had 10 unspent skill points) is not fun gameplay.
And the radio tower system has also a little flaw.
You unlock parts of the map by climbing radio towers and disarming some scrambling system attached to them. First you locate the tower, then you have to climb it - usually it involves finding spots you can jump and ladders - then you get the map revealed and also you have a few free weapons. The problem is most of the time, I already have bought the weapon, so I don't get anything, and money can be a bit scarce if you're not looting/selling everything.
How to fix this
Just explaining somewhere the next items you'll unlock from the radio towers would help a lot, there are many things that could be better surfaced in FC3 and for the amount of content this game has it's kind of baffling it's not done a little better.
That being said, I really love Far Cry 3
Everything related to the open-worldness of the game is awesome, things happen organically and you'll get some interesting stories out of randomly doing side content. Maybe you won't rave about the ending or some of the 'twists' this game throws your way, but that weird mixture of good shooting, good stealth and random jungle madness is really great. The vehicle stuff is kinda weird and crazy because you stay first person so you go in crazy directions and it's pretty hard to steer and not bump everywhere, but I haven't been frustrated with it.
Speaking of the stealth, even tho I wasn't a fan of using takedowns and sneaking around, being able to mark almost everything by zooming with your camera (or sniper rifle, as I did) so you know where enemies are at all times, is really useful. Same thing for the various syringes that would let you see enemies through walls, it's a godsend to be able to quickly find your targets, especially if you're hunting a specific kind of animal in the jungle.