Despite trying to hold off on watching media about this game, I decided to download the demo and play through it.
Seems like the first area is the introduction to the entire game. I'm sure it's cut up a little bit to be paced well as a demo, but this is probably what we're going to see in the first an hour or two of the game. And then it's off to space to recruit people, or whatever. I think both Mass Effect 1 and 2 were paced pretty well. Mass Effect 1 gave a great introduction to the universe while sticking pretty close to a story. And Mass Effect 2 put the story on hold at multiple points in the game, and we were able to learn more about the rich universe.
I loved the universe building stuff, but if they're going add in a lot of that against the urgency of stopping the reaper threat, my belief won't be suspended for long. It's like spending 10+ hours (months in game) fishing in Legend of Zelda while the princess rots in a castle. "Eh, Earth can wait while I run off to the Hanar homeworld and learn about their culture." (Hopefully, we can go to the Hanar homeworld in ME3 ^_^)
Also, one thing I found a bit annoying, and will certainly irk a lot of anal retentive Mass Effect fans is that they use the term "Ammo" is the game (demo) quite a bit. As if those things you pick up hold some amount of bullets to be fired by your gun. There is no ammunition used in the weapons of Mass Effect. All weapons fire plasma, or whatever, and those things you pick up are thermal clips. The shot counter on the side of the screen is how many shots you can fire before you burn out your gun, and finding additional thermal clips will allow you to fire more shots.
This point was brought up in the dissection of Mass Effect Deception found on Google Docs. Number 15 under oddities. Did William Dietz have written credits for Mass Effect 3 as well?
Another thing that annoyed me from the first part of the demo was at the end when those civilians and soldiers hop on board those shuttles only to be wiped out by the reaper landing right behind them. Why the hell didn't that thing shoot at the Normandy?! The Normandy was a way bigger target and hovering still in the air. And, I'm sure Harbinger told all the reapers about Shepard. Don't you think they'd be on the look out for that exact same ship? The same one that destroyed the collector base and was sought after multiple times in the previous game? Eh, maybe they were cloaked? Can the Normandy do that? Or maybe the blue paint job threw them off.
Other than that, there was a lot more going on in the background and more interesting camera angles during dialogue scenes, so it felt more engaging than a simple flat profile shot. There was a lot more action oriented things going on, and now you can jump and climb ladders and what not. Heavy Melee attacks, too.
The second part of the demo felt more like actual Mass Effect, than the opening bit. I played this last year at PAX, and it has not changed since then. In this scene, you have Wrex, Garrus, and Liara meet up with Mordin, and you do story related things.
I REALLY want to see what this mission is like if you have Wrex and Mordin killed off from the previous games. Would you even have the opportunity to have this mission? Both characters seem rather integral in order to complete it, or even access it to begin with. Maybe you'd have Grunt instead of Wrex? What happens if you have everyone dead, except yourself. Do they just swap out NPCs instead of storyline charcters? Unfortunately selecting "Numerous Deaths" at the beginning of the demo when it asks you who died in the previous games still has Wrex, Garrus, and Mordin at this part of the demo. :(