I'm playing Crysis 3 at the moment, more on which soon, but one of the thoughts pinballing around my head is that it's made so much world, with so much detail, then provided almost no purpose for of memorable interaction with it. Watching the latest alpha footage of physics combat game Son Of Nor made for a timely comparison: a stark desert setting, unfinished art, but a world you interact with and deform dramatically. Rather than just jump over bits of.
It's early doors for the game, so don't judge it on its looks just yet, but you can see the sort of stuff it's trying to do - boulder-lobbing, ground-deforming, fire-starting. It puts me in mind of Black & White a little, but with vaguer elements and the RTS buts removed, focusing only on using the environment to meet your own action-needs. These are not new ideas, but they are sorely overlooked ideas. As first-person shooters show no signs of leaving their glorified corridors, games which are prepared to chase something more than mere spectacle feel more vital than ever.
Son Of Nor hails from Austria (which is why the video sounds a little as though it's narrated by a more cheerful Werner Herzog) studio stillalive, and we've covered it in the past, but it seems to have come on a long way since then. There's clearly still work to do, and no release date as yet, but I'll be keeping a close eye on this one.