Without going into spoilers, the more I read about this game, the more I think how overly complicated this game is, and how by forcing the players to concentrate on the mechanics of the game that the developers may have taken the fun out of the game.
A bright side in receiving the guide early is that I can plan the best route; otherwise, I think I be would lost.
The same can be said of ME2, the suicide mission was all about getting everyone's loyalty and upgrades then making the right choices during the mission itself. It was pretty easy to game the system if you knew the mechanics, but if you didn't know the mechanics then you might screw up and get people killed, like I did with Thane in my "official" play-through. Alternatively, on my fourth play-through I wanted Jack and Zaeed to be the only survivors and I read the mechanics and figured out a way to make that happen. It was complicated and I had to make stupid choices to make it happen, but if I hadn't read up about the mechanics then I never would have known how they worked.
When I play ME3 I'm going to go in blind and I'm going to make decisions based purely on instinct. I'm going to screw up on some of those decisions and I'm not going to achieve a perfect victory with my main Shepard, but I'll own the consequences of those choices. In the future I may read up on the mechanics and pull off a perfect victory, but I certainly wont be doing that with my first Shepard, that would defeat the purpose of playing the game to me.
That's exactly how i feel too.. back when i played ME2 i wasn't too thrilled with the game itself.. ME1 had a vastly better story whereas ME2 had streamlined and improved some aspects of the game, i.e. ressource gathering and the equipment screen.
However when i was ready to go through the relay shit hit the fan and it was a nail biter. I didn't know i had to accomplish all loyalty missions so i lost some of the secondary characters and it was both an awesome and sad experience. It really felt like military command and it was so hard to choose people i grew to like for highly dangerous tasks with a high probability they wouldn't make it back.. definitely one of the best gaming experiences ever.
As to the spoilers about the ending.. i think it's too lazy to expect a perfect ending where the good guys win an overwhelming victory and everything resets back to paradise. Storytelling has moved past that as much as we have moved on from serialized TV shows like TNG in its day.. each episode was good, some of them really awesome but they were only, if at all, loosely connected to each other even to the point where something life changing would happen in one episode and the next it was totally ignored.
Then came storyline arc shows.. B5, DS9, Lost, BSG etc. where they told a grand story over several seasons and each episode had an impact on the entire story and this is what's expected today by the audience.
Over the last few years though there were some specialties.. hugely popular shows that ended ambiguously like The Sopranos (didn't watch the show but i remember the uproar about the show finale) and most recent Chuck that leaves many fans angry because it wasn't the ending they expected/wanted.
I assume it'll be like this with ME3 and i'm curious to find out how i like it.. with a bit of luck i'll be home Thursday on release day and catch the delivery man, otherwise it'll be Friday late night before i have the chance to pop it in for a few hours before having to go to bed.