Give an alien race a script and suddenly everyone's judging them....
Seriously though, I did enjoy playing Cataclysm, it had certain UI advantages over Homeworld (the better tactical map controls were a godsend) that made it more satisfying to play AI-skirmishes on.
As for the story, well, it moved the game along, I felt compelled to stop this monster I had released, and if there were a few plot devices, as long as the missions themselves were fun to play, that was ok. I quite liked the linking technology to be honest, it gave a quick way to deploy corvettes.
I don't think it bothers me at all that both Cataclysm and HW2 exist, I loved HW2, even if it was a little too capship oriented for my tastes, and Cataclysms story was involving, but a bit cliched, but when you look at them as games, rather than as just stories, there's not much to really complain about.