Oh where to begin, On release this game was for lack of a better word an abortion. Something so devoid of functionality and entertainment it could only be called a game by the strictest legal definition. However I withheld my judgement and after an eternity away and countless patches here it is.
In spite of its many flaws theres still some good to be found in this game. It was incredibly ambitious and attempted to expand upon its predecessor in every possible facet and had they done it correctly it would easily have revolutionized the genre. True to its predecessor you have several unique races that all certainly handle and feel different with plenty of customization in ship design far exceeding what was available in #1 with the addition of battleriders, psychic abilities, modules, new weapon mounts and ammunitions as well as commanders with their own traits and abilities it truly goes above and beyond as far as being able to micromanage your armies and strategy to perfection. The game is also pretty, for its genre, some people have managed to make some pretty sexy screenshots though its certainly not the game (or genres) selling point. Unfortunately this is about all they managed to get right.
For starters, at launch it was buggy beyond all reason, to the games credit it seems to be all fixed now, I have not had even a single crash or bug in months, but your experience may (and probably will) differ. Along with all the cool new stuff added they also created a ton of needless, tedious addition, and draped it all in one of the most time consuming interfaces on the planet. Getting anything, even the simplest of things done in this game seems to take a minimum of 3 menus and at least 12 clicks. It's just insane. Combined with the new basing constraint on fleets and the 'mission' system which adds further unnecessary clicks and forces you're fleets to return home for no real reason after literally every action they take is beyond monotonous. There's also the prototyping which is an abortion, costing tons of money and countless turns to redesign a ship from having a mass driver to a plasma cannon needs triple the time and all my money, even though I already have other ships using the plasma cannon. You can be an all intelligent dolphin thats mastered the art of space travel, can drop a plague on a planet turning all your enemies into zombies, and turn your opponents head into a blood pumpkin with your mind, but you're too friggin dumb to understand modular construction techniques. Lastly the game is just terribly optimized requiring a far more powerful machine than it should to run properly and even then at some point your still going to suffer massive slowdowns at countless load screens and menu transitions.
Overall this game had tremendous potential but it just fails terribly at living up to its own ambition. It's like wiping with sandpaper. Sure it might get the job done, but it's slow, gritty, and just downright painful at times. I loved the first one, and I can still find a bit to like in this one, just not enough to recommend it to anybody. Anyone who is wanting to experience the Sword of the Stars, I highly suggest you look at the first game instead.