I finally finished Inferno: Nostos. I liked it, but not as much as I thought I would. As promised, here's my review.
I really did not like the characterization of the EA. INFR1 had the right approach; the EA was intelligent, strategic, and a credible threat. Even Blue Planet, for all that I disliked the hand-wringing, moralizing, and second-guessing, at least gave them a consistent philosophy and capable strategists. Nostos just treated them like Nazis in Space. And not even believable Nazis, but one-dimensional cardboard strawmen that didn't even rise to the level of mustache-twirling.
The campaign really should have been shorter than it was, or at least paced better than it was. The early missions felt like doing the same thing over and over, and there were at least three places where the story finally felt like it was going somewhere only for the rug to be pulled out from under you. Dangling a payoff and then yanking it away, repeatedly, quickly gets tiresome. And there were too many missions focused on fleet movements that didn't really interest me. INFR1 did a better job of pacing, both at a mission level and a story level. Derelict is an example of a campaign that also does a better job even though it has many more missions.
Balance was inconsistent and often frustrating. Several missions were not only too hard, but ridiculously over-the-top hard, to the extent that I wondered if I may have missed an important game mechanic that would have made them easier. And a couple missions really deserved checkpoints but didn't have them. I found myself cheating through missions more often than I would have liked, especially in the middle third of the campaign. There were also a few mission bugs that were annoying, but not necessarily major. (The most egregious was the failure to remove the player self-destruct in "The Storm Breaks", long after the relevant event had completed.)
The military jargon was irritating; it was overused and tended to detract from the overall conversation flow. I've criticized its use in the past; if I find that post I'll link to it here.
The treatment of Karpinsky was too overwrought and not handled as well as the similar subplot in INFR1.
The amount of ships and graphics required me to crank down my detail settings to avoid occasional lag, and I was playing on a fairly well-equipped machine.
Goober, could you elaborate on something? Could you explain how, story-wise, you felt the EA in Nostos was worse than R1?
To me they both seemed to have that expansionistic/nationalistic/space Nazi vibe. The major difference to me was that Nostos at least tried to flesh out the characters of Admirals Spiros and Falon a bit.