Well, instead of doing the homework I needed to do tonight I decided to try the Matrix Online Stress Test (the second one for those keeping count). Actually, I did get the homework done, thanks to the 2+ hour patch (downloaded the 1GB installer while in class, which installs to nearly 7 GB; the patch was 140 MBs and touched 1700+ files). My biggest complaint, other than the sheer size and reliance on patching techniques from the last decade (of course, GuildWars has spoiled me in the realm of patching), was the latency issues, but I can't complain too much because, after all, it is a Stress Test. (If you care, the patcher was more nicely themed than the last MMO* I played using a special patcher/launcher.)
I predicted when I heard Monolith was in charge of development, that if anyone could, they could do a good job at pushing the story elements. That was why I was even more tempted to try the game this Stress Test because they announced that some of the story elements were being pushed into the beta this time. The character creation and tutorial was well put together (with the Operator "Link" from the films voicing). I discovered that all the Greek and Roman god/hero names I tried where reserved by the game, which was interesting and fitting within the mythos of the Matrix.
I met several such named characters in the few missions I got through. Missions were interesting, but the mission map layouts were repeating after only two missions. I realize that that is the curse of the graphical MMO*, but I guess it was all the more grating because the map layouts so reminded me of City of Heroes'. In fact, without the Matrix green tint and Matrix props (1950s looking kitchens, Zion signs), and more detail in a few areas (elevators actually connect more than two floors and thus have a button panel), I probably would have forgotten which game I was playing.
Morpheus calls your cell-phone when you first jack in. There was already a cinematic available for watching featuring the Oracle, Sati, and glimpse of Seraph. Not bad, and it did move the "story of the Matrix" in the direction I felt it was heading.
So far I have been impressed, just not impressed enough yet to pre-order the game. I'm still not entirely certain how I feel about the gameplay mechanics, so I'll give it a while to see if I like it. Most likely it will merely be a "vacation world" like City of Heroes was, but there is always a possibility the culture or story might hook me, even if the gameplay hasn't yet.