Sounds like the easiest legal way to do this would be contacting a community manager at Visceral and ask for a code. You might get a dumb, corporate answer like "Sorry, the only way is to buy and play the wonderful entertainment product that is Mass Effect 3 on Origin!" but it's worth a shot.
People have different quality benchmarks than others. What might not bother you could be a deal breaker for someone else. Reviewers sound picky because they are picky. It's their job to be picky. And it's their job to point out frame rate dips and ugly textures, because someone out there is going to care.
It depends on the person. I find both Quick Looks and reviews to be useful tools when deciding on which games I want to buy. A Quick Look gives me a better impression of how a game plays and looks than a review does, and reviews delve deeper into a game's underlying mechanics and (usually) offer an opinion from someone who has beaten it.
Also, a 3-star game means it has some faults that only certain people can look past. The problems that irked Alex might not have the same effect on you. That's where watching Quick Looks comes in handy.
I'll judge the game when I play it myself, but this is just EA doing what EA does. Remember 2008 when EA announced they were doing the exact same thing in Battlefield: Bad Company. As I recall, people gave a fit over it and EA reversed their decision.
It might be gross, but I'm fine with EA offering micro transactions as an option so long that the game isn't a laborious chore without it. Guess we'll see in February.
Said this before on another thread but video reviews take a considerable amount of time to produce and don't serve much of a purpose when Giant Bomb offers 25+ minute quick looks. Video reviews require that you take a bunch of 5-15 second clips and put them together in an interesting way while helping convey the reviewer's message. So if, say, Jeff includes a complaint about a game's poor AI, then someone has to find an example of AI characters being dumb as rocks. I actually made a video review of Halo Reach and while it was both fun and rewarding to make, it was also took hours and hours to produce. Part of that was due to it being my first video review, but finding the right footage and crafting it into something eye-catching will always take time.
You could make an argument for more video reviews once their production staff grows beyond two (exceptionally hard-working) people, but there's not much reason to make them a priority until that happens.
In terms of story continuity, I'd say probably not. There might be some references to the previous games, though I haven't heard of any so far. I recommend playing the first BioShock as it's still an amazing game. It's still $20 on Amazon, PSN, XBLM, and Steam but goes on sale fairly often.
BioShock 2 isn't nearly as good as the first one, but it has its moments. Irrational didn't work on it though, so I doubt there's much in Infinite that directly references 2.