I've been following SS off and on since the original public beta, have lurked here for the past... year or so... since I finally got hold of TGS.
Let's start with my complaints, shall we?
The biggest and most obvious I should point out is graphics. While it's come a long way since its infancy, I could wish that a game that I payed a fairly steep price for could have a bit more eye-candy. It's not horrible, by any means, but neither is it in the league of other titles of similar age. I'm not one of those types that think that graphics are the only thing that matters. Graphics won't make a bad game good, but they could have made what is at its core a good game, better.
I dislike an otherwise realistic game model that includes stealth in an environment where it cannot exist, but that is a purely aesthetic complaint, and not one which renders the game any less fun.
I dislike the fact fighter-launched weapons are non-interceptible. Back in the day, the dev team mentioned wanting to base the combat dynamic off of modern naval combat rather than the WW-II model of torpedo bombers vs. battleships. It is my estimation that this one facet demolishes that motive. In a modern battlespace, there is little difference between a warship's anti-ship missiles and a fighter's. The fighter's strength is in flight group coordination, and the ability to swamp defenses rather than negate them (as with the 'world war II' torpedo bomber model.) I fully expect scathing comments from a certain element of this board to come shortly.
Which brings me to my last complaint. Every community has its fringe element, but Starshatter's frimge is both vocal and highly elitist, seeming to take vast pleasure in bashing newbies for not enjoying the game experience as-is, or demanding if they don't like it, they change it themselves. Believe me, if I could mod away the complaints I have with the game, then I would do so. That however is something that requires time and time is not something I, even as an avid sim and game junkie, have in abundance.
Now, before those coments get me flamed into the stone age, I suppose I should list the good.
Newtonian flight model is excellent, and the atmospheric model serves its purpose.
The AI has no blatant failings, aside from a high crash rate on docking with a stationary carrier, a problem I'm sad to see persisting now, so many years after the original beta release.
Combat, both with fighters and warships is fun and exhilirating, in spite of the aforementioned game balance and reality check issues wrt missiles.
The concept that a mission may have to be done in stages, such as assaulting a planetary target starting with thorough SEAD and then repeated strikes is a refreshing (if sometimes frustrating, as intended) addition to gaming. Many sims would benefit from learning this lesson.
I enjoy the game. While I think it fails at certain development objectives, it is overall an enjoyable experience.
..because, well, there's this guy.
He's piloting the other ship. And he's called the Enemy.
You can tell he's the Enemy because he's the one who isn't cooperating with your plan. -Ken Burnside, of Ad Astra Games