I'm playing through this game for the first time, even though I got it some years ago. I love many things about the game, especially the 6DOF inertial flying mechanics and the rich and detailed game universe, but it has several frustrating aspects and bad design decisions too, with the biggest issue being the lack of proper savegames. It feels like a grognard version of Freelancer, with an open, freeform game world but slow paced gameplay and tough combat with lots of things to keep track of. This is the first game where I'm using all the extra keys on my G15.
I know several of you have played IW2, so my question is how are you supposed to dodge missiles? I keep getting destroyed by these more than anything else. Your ship is very slow to turn or change heading, at least the tug you get early on, and I can't figure out how to use the countermeasures either. I just end up flying around randomly for a while, trying to tri-chord like in Descent and waiting for the missile to stop tracking, but that isn't working very well.
The AI behavior is odd too. I'm about halfway through Act I and you apparently have to attack random ships and steal their cargo to get ship/weapon upgrades. I can sometimes do this and nobody else in the area notices, even the target's allies. At other times, the nearby ships get angry and own me with their missiles.