Continuing on with my thoughts on the game:
**I originally mistakenly thought that they were DLC but appear to actually be the normal trials you see around the game world.
- Goddamnit! Do I have to hear the same exposition phone call every time I pick the game back up? You literally have a sign on the screen saying "Choose to follow the story or explore the island" so I don't need to be reminded of the story each time if I'm choosing the latter option!!
- The radio towers are akin to the vantage points in Assassin's Creed or the watch towers in The Saboteur. I'm going to be kind and say that they're about half-way between those two examples with respect to the enjoyment I get from doing them all. They're kind of a chore and they don't really benefit you that much except that you have no way to see the map otherwise - despite manually exploring areas yourself.
I feel like the better solution would be to have the map revealed depending on your exploration - as per the Elder Scrolls games - but also to have large swathes uncovered with more detail from the radio towers. As it stands, I'm mostly doing them because I have to if I want to be able to get around efficiently.
I see maps on sale but they're for chests/crates and whatnot, not for the area geography.
- The rope climbing mechanics are a bit poorly done. I understand the idea behind them: you want a clearly signified portion of the area that the player knows they can traverse (same with the vines). However, in practice, you find that you'll float or move in a strange manner over distances that you normally could not. In effect, your (or at least my) suspension of disbelief is momentarily lifted whenever I encounter one of these triggers... whether it's from hovering horizontally across a gap to hit the climbing animation or if I climb ABOVE the ledge, only to fall back down onto it after I'm finished.
- I'm increasingly feeling like most of the animals are pointless. Their skins are mostly not useful for upgrades thus far and although I was saving them in case I needed them I'm finding that extra upgrades are actually locked to DLC**... which is annoying to have pointed out to you in the main game.
- The side quests... Ugh.. I've done a couple now and they're completely uninteresting. Not to mention illogical. They are all locally-based in the geography of the game so that the poor attention spans of the mindless generation of players do not get bored. Couple this with the fact that you are LOCKED to that quest until you've completed it and you'll get a bit more than annoyed if you happen to fail it and are reloaded back into the area. This is worse than the "going out of bounds" message, as at least with that you get a warning - even if, due to the vehicle handling, you are unable to act quickly enough to stop it.
One particular mission springs to mind where you have to recover tablets stolen by the military in the past. I was thinking, "Oh, cool. I'll have this passive side mission as I go around the island, able to make inquiries or something." But, no. All the tablets are literally less than 300 metres away from the quest initiation point - which doesn't make sense if they were stolen... much less does it make sense that I magically know WHERE THEY ARE! Even if it's not the exact spot, I can pinpoint them to an accuracy just less than public GPS signals.
Ugh! My head hurts.
- The "out of bounds" message. I don't get it. Sure, if I'm headed out to open sea I understand that you need to make the player head back. But I can literally see the land in front of me. It's just a bay and there's a radio antenna over the other side I want to get to with this boat that was helpfully placed on the coast! You're telling me that I have to skirt the land and go this really circuitous route that I could do in a car? What's the point in that?!
- Oh and this one is a bit of a spoiler:
Those stupid stone doors that you have to blast. I mean, come on! Nothing else in the game world is destructible so why would the player think that this particular thing was? I saw the first one I found and it had a weird symbol on it and behind was a relic. So I assumed there was some sort of quest item that allowed me to mystically unlock the door or something. I got stuck on a side quest (the tablet one mentioned above) and decided to look at a walkthrough: the answer? Blow the bloody doors off!
It's just weird that they stuck that in there - you're not utilising any learned skill set and it's completely at odds with the permanence of the rest of the game world.