Apologies if any of the words run together, spilled beer on expensive keyboard, still
I'm going to put the tl:dr here in the front in italics.
I'm no game critic but I feel I can share my impressions with my fellow freespace freaks.
If you liked the ship to ship combat in Assassins Creed: Black Flag (Not including the boarding) and obviously you like space games then you will get 20-50 hours of fun gameplay out of this. I highly recommend a gamepad for this, my XB1 controller worked great for the PC version, but left trigger finger a little sore sometimes after long broadside battles. If you have < $20 to burn and time to kill (a. Good for "airplane trips" b. will probably be on steam sale soon) then go for it
Here comes the freeform thought that may contain spoilers and is completely based on opinion:
The gameplay is not ruined by the 2d axis you are limited to. Most of the battles occur in very crowded belts or junkyards... which ramming into will mess your day up. The ships are designed to be broadside brawlers and going off on the third axis would feel weird now that I've been through it. The combat is very orbit/ direction based depending on what you need to do (which is usually point big guns at big ships). It has an EVE vibe that lesser ships (you are always in a capital ship with x broadsides, y sneaky weapons, and turrets which you can override and blow the hell out of the 3rd dimension) are faster and the AI knows it. Sometimes you are firing so many weapons at once the challenge becomes what not to hit. The combat has not grown stale for me yet @ 43 hours as of this post.
It runs great, I think I could have used XP machine I just replaced with it just fine. However, I was more than happy to up the graphics to max on the new rig. Again, I used a gamepad, the devs recommend it and I have no input on how it plays keyboard and mouse. On a laptop, you could probably play it happily on just the keyboard.
The story is engaging but weak. It does its job which is to point you in the right direction. "You can't beat mission x yet? Better go back and do some faction missions and gear up before you go y" I went anti-piracy on this play through. It's pretty black and white, but there are opportunities to go back and join the darkside for me even now after finishing the story. That may even be my next self-challenge, try and become grey to all factions. There are factions that are %100 against you. The last sector is terrible. It makes no sense how the sector developed as it did, even the devs admit that this was bad. Pretty much feels the story was designed after the game mechanics were worked out.
Everyone gets a "random universe" mostly that fields of whatever and planetary alignment are not the same for any two consoles?
Tidbit of FIZ: My brother was around the second time I had time to sit down and play the game. He was stoned and lives close enough and passes through to where I live enough that I don't need to throw a "great sibling good to see you again, guy!" party every time he passes through. Good enough taste to like FS2, not a member of these forums. He was *~~mezmorized~~* by this game. He had no idea what was going on and I was just starting to learn so I was getting pissed having to pause (gotta love SP games just for pause). I bought him the game as a gift and he spent the entire weekend after digging into it. I'll ask him for his impression now that it's been a few weeks if you like. He's the one with a college degree
Why I'm still playing it:
1.) Very care free- No internet I can come home and not worry about ****ing up $80,000 orders. (Working remote can be dangerous after 2 beers)
2.) It plays very well. It has a Diablo II crack element where you just want to keep going, even after the story is over. More is out there.
3.) Could be some very interesting mods
a.) Complaint: haven't been able to split save yet. Would love to get inside a pirate base and see what's on the darkside.
4.) Finished story with low tier ship (frigate... which is a size above your starting corvette. It was a very expensive frigate though (Sturville... only possible to obtain by completing side missions. I want a ****ing dreadnought. Currently have THE top of the line destroyer, appropriately named Aquitaine.
5.) I want bigger guns on my dreadnought. I **** you not you could buy the highest tier ship and if your core gear is not up to speck you will get wiped.
You will a lot of money on ship upgrades. On the positive, they apply to any ship. On the negative, you can only own one ship at a time; as I advance, sometimes I would love to have a fully loaded custom fast ship prepped and ready to go.
I mentioned Diablo because one or more of the devs were involved with Diablo (II?) and Torchwood (have not played). Lack of multiplayer... this game would be wild as a split screen.
Winding down to summary: You can trade, you can mine, but usually the best option is to fight. It has pangs, but besides the one major ****-up in the story line, it's rather on par for an indie. It's coming to consoles soon. The mechanics are unique enough for a space junkie to be intrigued. Fighter pilots will be disappointed, but if you ever wanted to just sit in an Orion and broadside your way to victory... yo... Rebel Galaxy.