Don't get me wrong. Far Cry 3 made a lot of improvements to Far Cry 2, but it also went backwards in a lot of ways. And I do understand... WHY it's the way it is. Noah Caldwell-Gervais summed up the point of it best. Whereas Far Cry 2 was almost fighting against the player at every step while still being pretty fair, Far Cry 3 is instead "So much fun, we hope you fucking choke." Now whether the creators were really successful at this is very much up for debate, but right now, I'd just like to put all that aside and daydream for a moment, looking at what I was expecting the game to be when I first saw it and why I was so hyped for it in the first place.
1. Jason would have been much more alone.
The game starts as it did before. But this time, none of Jason's friends are spared. After capture, none of their parents want to or can pay the ransom for whatever reason. They're gunned down before him, leaving Jason alone to fend for himself. He MAY run into a grizzled veteran willing to help him and that communicates with him sometimes to help him out, but otherwise, there's no Rakyat. There's no slutty tribal queen. There's no one between him and his enemies except the utterly beautiful island he's trapped on.
2. The game would have been more focused on exploration and the island made more interesting and varied.
When you first REALLY start the game, your presented with a map but most of it is covered in the usual "fog of war". You need to explore each part of the island manually to reveal it all. Also, the island won't look like someone just pressed the "Generate" button on an island terrain generator. There would be a lot of interesting and varied landmarks. Bases old and new. Natural beauties. Perhaps even a couple more friendly (or at least neutral) people to meet, such as the chemist. There would also be patches of "Safe Zones" and "Active Zones". Safe Zones are where you can rest and find places to reequip or can just take a break from all the killing and focus on exploring. Active Zones are the war zones. Enemies will come in constant waves and these areas cannot be "liberated". You're just gonna have to be a little smart about it when you enter them if you really want to avoid conflict.
3. There would have been a more natural progression from noob to Predator.
You'll have to learn how to operate some weapons (but that should be pretty quick). And after that, you'll slowly learn how to operate that weapon very competently, the more you use it. You'll be able to draw it faster. Melee with it better. Reload faster. Etc. You can also use your machete a lot. Like in Ziggy's Mod, you won't need to surprise the enemy to do a Takedown. Having said that, you will naturally suck at your first Takedowns. They'll be noisy at first and take a while to finally kill someone. Again, as you keep using them, they'll improve and you'll be able to do more things out of Takedown and they will be much more silent.
4. Every weapon would have been valuable and very effective in its own way.
In Far Cry 2, weapons are pretty disposable. Pick one up at the gun store, use it, and more or less than an hour later, it's already breaking apart. But that was OK because the weapons came freely and swiftly. I actually do like that system but I wouldn't put it into Far Cry 3 though. Instead, in keeping with the paradisaical theme, weapons will be flawless looking and always function as such. They'll also be even more deadly than what they are in Far Cry 2 or vanilla Far Cry 3. Both for you and for the enemy. However, ammo will be hard to come by, and if you want better weapons and/or weapons much more conveniently on-hand, you'll have to "buy" them just as in Far Cry 2. Also, they'll be unlocked from then on. Infinite ammo stashes for that weapon will also be at specific spots in the Safe Zones, assuming you bought the gun that uses that ammo. Attachments and camos, you'll have to find around the map.
5. The overall immersive design that Far Cry 2 had would have been kept.
No more invasive menus. When you pull up the map, you pull up a map in the game. When you access your inventory, you pull up your backpack. Stuff like that. I'd probably also get rid of wall hax abilities due to lots of gamers thinking they're a pretty damn cheap way to play. Or maybe make it as in Far Cry 1 where you need to tag enemies with the camera and even then, they'll only show up on the radar/compass.
6. You can use different drugs for both beneficial and recreational effects... With side effects.
When you meet the chemist, one of the veryyy few people friendly to you, you will get access to performance-enhancing drugs and recreational drugs. As you explore more of the island, you can find more ingredients to make more varied concoctions, but the side effects will always be there. Addiction may also be implemented depending on how far I'd go with this.
7. Hoyt isn't a thing. Vaas is running this whole island, period.
Maybe Hoyt had potential, but with a villain like Vaas, I just don't think he was necessary at all. To be fair to Ubisoft though, by the time any of them knew what they had with Vaas, it was kind of too late. But we're daydreaming right now, so that's what I'd do with my 20/20 hindsight.
8. Due to the PTSD, drug use, and the extreme environment Jason's been thrust into, he will slowly begin to unravel.
And then at the end of the game, the player will be given a choice once they kill Vaas that echoes the original game's ending choice some. Either give in and stay on the island, becoming like the grizzled veteran for good, or leave the island permanently and finally get a grip on your sanity. Or at least try to. There isn't really a wrong choice here though unlike in vanilla Far Cry 3. It's kind of up for the player to decide in the end.
Optional: Maybe a tad more survival elements. Nothing too pressing at all.
As you play the game, you'll have a meter that will slowly go down over the course of two hours of real time. You can refill it by either drinking water from a stream or by hunting. If you choose to hunt though, the bar will take four hours to run down instead. If the bar runs out, your maximum health will simply be decreased by 50 percent. All this wouldn't really be meant to be any sort of a challenge at all, but simply to add a bit more to the immersion of the game.
And that's it! Be sure to let me know what you all think down in the comments.