By the by, I just realized I should qualify my previous statement: I've not truly played StarDrive yet, so you probably want to bear that in mind. (I'm in the beta, but my old computer simply doesn't want to run it, so I'll have to wait til I upgrade to a new PC in a month or so. ) From what I've seen of StarDrive, it *does* still appear there's a lot more to explore/discover in DW, but I would be lying if I said I could claim that based on direct personal experience.
As far as space exploration games are concerned, Distant Worlds is unquestionably the best of the ones you mentioned.
Thanks. I'm still waffling between DW and Endless Space. If only there was a demo...
I think a demo would especially help the former. I know of so many folks who have expressed interest in Distant Wolds, but have (understandably) balked at the price, the lack of a demo, or both.
"Evil is easy, and has infinite forms." -- Pascal