The balance issues I was worried about before are still there- Enemy fighters are slow and easy to hit but take a while to go down. Ideally, in shieldless combat, they should be much faster and thus harder to hit, but a few good hits should take them down. This would make victory more dependent on skill and less dependent on time- the former is fun, the latter is too much like grinding to make me want to keep playing.
It does seem as though you no longer need to know what's about to happen to win the mission. That's good.