Initial thoughts? I feel super dizzy after reading that. Big blocks of un-broken up text are not soothing for someone who just wants to read.
My second and perhaps most glaring thought is that this story is very basic at the moment, to the point of being pretty clichéd. This isn’t necessarily the end of the world, but there are already hundreds of games about piloting mech-suits in the near future, three of which are on this site alone! (Mobile Armored Marine, Mecha Ace, Magikiras)
You need to really think about what your story can add to the concept of the mech-suit that these games haven’t already talked about.
I cannot stress that enough, I can forgive any number (within reason) of imperfections in a story if that story is doing something interesting with its source materiel, but if it’s just a by-the-numbers retreat of older tropes, then there’s nowhere for those mistakes to hide.
So what this means is that you have to go down to the raw guts of your story and ask yourself What is my story about?
Look at some of the most important works in the genre, like Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein and The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, both early explorers of mech-suit enhanced warfare that used their technology to explore a more important idea. Heinlein was talking about the positive aspects of a world run more like the military, while Haldeman was talking about the isolation of being a soldier in the Vietnam War using Einstein’s Special Relativity (seriously an interesting read, that one).
So think about your world for a moment.
Why do people fight each other?
What could they need from each other when they’ve got an entire galaxy to spread out into?
Why are they fighting in anthropomorphic metal human-suits?
If you can answer these three questions, you have the bones of a real universe to set your story in, whereas right now I don’t understand anyone’s motivations or interests in this game.
The only ‘information’ you have presented is a series of unrelated pictures of robots, while I’m a great believer in visualizing characters and props in fiction, the pictures alone don’t tell me anything except what your game’s visual style would be. That information is useless because by dint of being a text game your story will have no visual style whatsoever.
Don’t confuse style with substance, you need a lot more of the second one than you do the first.
Onto the demo itself, while I’m sure you’ve probably already noticed a great number of the spelling mistakes, grammar mis-steps and general lack of paragraphing, I’m not going to talk about that because I thoroughly believe in the power of the redraft so it would be terribly unfair for me to harp-on at you about that.
However the opening page is a scant four lines before the first choice. I’m all for introducing the action as quickly as possible, but the ‘action’ in this case is your character filling out a dry personal information form…
Not exactly maximum-thrill-factor over here.
One of the questions is a choice of my home nation (or planet… or government… I don’t know…) a seemingly important decision that I cannot make for narrative purposes, instead merely picking a stat-boost for later. All choices must appear to be more than number allocation, every choice I make should help define me as a role-playing character. In short there are too many countries and not enough reasons to like one over the other.
I’m also going to assume that you’re using a lot of place-holder names until you can think of something? Unless Admiral Nelson once helmed the good ship H.M.S SpaceBattleCruiser at the Battle of Cadiz and I’m not particularly up on my history. Naming things is important, especially in science fiction. The naming of a ship can help the reader to know what kind of culture the story takes place in. What do they name their ships after? Scientists? Explorers? Generals? Mountains? All of this data is a way for you to put in information for the reader without an incongruous info-dump.
While I’m not really certain what my character is doing throughout the demo, I’m going to guess that he/she is signing up for the military? Why is he bringing a small child along? That makes no sense.
However when he/she is done signing up for the military (a process that takes about as much time as making a latte it seems) he/she is safely ensconced onboard the mighty ship SpaceBattleCruiser and has their own palatial (by military standards) apartment where the local news is playing?
That makes no sense.
How can they afford a kitchenette? I’m not even at war and I can’t afford a kitchenette! I have to cook my road-kill over a flaming oil drum and this guy/girl gets a fancy New York apartment when he/she signs up for the military?
Also the propaganda broadcast was a clunky info-dump, you should try and drip-feed information about the world more slowly.
I would recommend starting over and attacking the story from a different angle. You say in your premise that your protagonist is a veteran from a prior war, right?
So why not have your ‘tutorial’ take place during the final battle of that particular war? Instead of trying to info-dump information, have your player focus on the physical act of moving from point-to-point, taking out enemies, pursuing critical objectives, until finally the radio pipes in: The War’s Over! Hurray! Let’s go home and take iconic photographs where we kiss nurses without their permission!
Then fast forward to X years later, where you are stood-down from military service and perhaps giving an interview for a documentary about the war, where the player can organically learn a little about the world and its people in a more conversational and less confrontational setting?
This stand-down civilian life can allow you to get in some quick customization about your protagonist. Does he/she miss the old days? Or are they happier as a civilian, hoping that war never comes by again. Establish their life now, their loves, families, occupations.
All the stuff you’re about to take away when an enemy Basestar jumps into orbit and starts decimating the cities, nukes raining down from on-high to turn your world into glass.
Regarding having an excuse to talk about a past war, the advertising team at Bungie did the best take on this I’ve ever seen for a game. I find Halo games repetitive to the point of unpleasant, but I have to give major props to their marketing men. This advert is the sort of thing I’m thinking of when I say a documentary-style exposition:
I remember there were two or three ads like this that got me really interested in the world they were creating, with little human moments like an old man describing how an enemy gun worked and getting upset when asked to hold it.
Those little human moments would really enhance your atmosphere, and actually reinforce the notion that war is… well…