I tend to not buy every 4x space game made. I read reviews and listen to others comments on forums and Metacritic mostly. I'm not going to learn every 4x game out there I'm only going to play the top ranked ones. For years it was MOO II and then Galactic Civ I & II came along and now this one. If they fix it and get all the quirks and bugs and flaws out this one could become like number 4 on my list.
It's becoming easier and easier though to compare this to X3:Terran conflict in the real time department, but, X3 is less headachee. The difference I see is in this game you colonize and conquer colonies, in X3 you capture enemy ships and conquer enemy factories and space ports/outposts and you actually get to sit in the cockpit of the ships in X3 and/or you can control it from a single ship. In this game you get to pick how much you want to operate, but, in X3 you can do pretty much the same putting your fleets or individual ships on auto pilot, patrols, transport duty and invasions. This game allows you to design your ships it has that over X3, but, then again designing ships is just a time consuming thing and usually puts the player over the top over the AI because the AI is never going to design anything as good as the player. In X3 all ships are built fairly an equally for player and AI by the game engine designs themselves. There's more diplomacy in this, whereas X3 just cuts to the chase and pretty much is a conquer game from the start.
I also tend to see a Paradox Europa engine game in space with this game. Real time with the ability to slow it down to a crawl (that's a plus for me). 10 million popups a minute that you can't adjust to pause the game when they do popup like a Paradox game. Diplomacy simular as well and too forgiving. Lackidasical AI that spreads out and colonizes too slowly (at least on Normal settings). I find that the AI is too giving in credits to me every 5 minutes. I think I make more money with other races giving 20000 credits every 5 minutes than I do actually building up my own economy.
All n all it's not a bad marriage of the two other designs; X3 and Paradox EU engine in space. I'll always wish for a more aggressive AI, but, I haven't tested all the features to make it more challenging yet and I'm just reviewing on the Normal difficulty game setup right now. I was just getting into the wars in the other game when all the crashing started so I don't know how tough the Shakturi are but I did get a taste of the Silvermist, Ancient Pirates and the Guardians which were fun and challenging. The Guardians most especially, man 100 ships lost to try to take out one of theirs that's some overpowered programming of the AI for sure.
Gonna be a good game I think when they get it fixed. Has great potential.