The writing is… interesting in this game, though I can understand the objections about it. The best way I can describe why I find it interesting is that it consistently sets up certain expectations then undermines them. Sometimes it does this elegantly and hilariously, but is nearly always nihilistic and misanthropic to boot. So those without a dark sense of humour need not apply.
Unfortunately when you’re looking to do that, to undermine and twist the expectations of lame tropes, you’ve got to… well, write some lame tropes. Can’t break some eggs without the eggs. So to people who skipped everything because it’s all lame tropes - or appears to be - I totally get it, but I also think perhaps they missed out. I don’t want to go to bat for everything here - they didn’t always stick the landing, and perhaps most of the more (darkly, always darkly) humorous bits were in the conclusions of certain side quests rather than the, frankly fucking bleak, main campaign.
I really enjoyed the opening sequence you talk about, though not because, as you say, there’s much gameplay. You land on an idyllic* alien world, run around a bit flipping switches for tropey NPCs and doing some shitty VR shooting range. Yawn. Oh, of course you can guess what’s going to happen as soon as you’re stuffed in the cryopod, but what’s glorious and necessary about all that tropeyness, even the predictability, is that near crash-cut transition for what happens next.
You’ve been kept on a leash for perhaps too long already and your trigger finger’s getting mighty itchy. Good news though, you’re now superman, stuffed into the horrors of cramped WWI style trench warfare. Pick which flavour of superman you want to be and here’s some scratching posts for you relieve yourself with.
You’re not given much, if any time, to really reflect on your new reality. Perhaps if you were to step back a little at this point and consider what your expectations going into the crypod were perhaps you’d conclude that you’d be fighting aliens. I mean, it’s gotta be aliens, right? Weird sci-fi storms and shit on an alien world. Be kinda weird to just be fighting… people… in some awful, muddy, bleak, cannibal apocalypse. Maybe if you kill enough people you’ll get to kill the aliens that were really responsible for this mess. Yeah.
* It obviously isn't, we know what we paid for.