The style and idea behind this game are appealing, but the game is made unpleasant by several glaring design flaws.
You only ever seem to have around 3 ships to control at once. That doesn't really give you much in the way of tactical options. You're frequently put into situations where you go up against way more ships than that, so it feels strange to have only one large ship and two small ships and be expected to feel like you're being strategic/tactical.
The issue with the tactical options is compounded by the need to grind a lot to have weapons strong enough to take on foes of a given tech level. The damage system is interesting, you have shields, then armor, then hull. Beams are strong against shields, cannons are strong against armor, and launchers are strong against hull. However, according to the DEVS THEMSELVES, a good strategy is to only focus on upgrading one of beams/cannons. What was the point of the damage model if you're just going to suggest people not worry about trying to match up the correct weapon based on the situation of the enemy ships? Because I didn't know about this, I was getting to the point where most of my time was spent grinding to at least 1.5x the tech level of the enemies I would go against. It seems like the designer didn't really think about how the damage and tech level system really affected the fun of the gameplay.
There's a lot of time spent just doing repetitive mission types over and over again to get data so you can level up your tech. It gets old after awhile, even though there's a decent variety of mission types, once you play a certain type once, it isn't really fun to play it again. The only thing to keep you going is a desire to progress through the story or feel like you're "being productive", but really you're just doing the same stuff over and over again. It doesn't make for very fun gameplay.
The whole idea of the Bounty Hunters is also an issue. Bounty Hunters in space is really thematically appropriate, but the way it's implemented in this world just adds unpleasant busy work. Every time you do missions you accrue "bounty". Whenever you jump, if your bounty is high enough and your near a bounty hunter lair, you'll be attacked by powerful ships and probably will have to reload a save. The only way to get rid of bounty is to go to a lair and pay them, or complete "arena challenges" which net you some Rez and relieve some bounty. The arena challenges are very fun, but I frequently found myself in a situation where I had maxed out my Rez so I just had to pay a bunch of money and never really felt a reason to play the challenges. It's just a resource sink without much fun behind. If it was possible to beat bounty hunters when they attacked you I would consider this fixed. There's plenty of other ways it could be improved, of course.
Other than that, there's just lots of little annoyances throughout the game that indicate a lack of polish. One petty example is that, on escort missions, the ship you are escorting might have cloaking, but will be invisible to you, which makes it difficult to tell where you need to be. Escort missions have other problems, like the behavior of the escorted ship (it will sometimes go in the opposite direction, won't follow you, etc...). This is just one example of a minor design issue. There's others; like the heavy reliance on saving and loading (breaking immersion and breaking up the flow of the gameplay).
Overall, it's insulting to Mound and Blade to call this game "Mount and Blade in Space". Mount and Blade lacks a lot of the issues that make SPAZ unpleasant (after a few hours of playing). Unlike games like Mount and Blade, I just never feel like I'm becoming more powerful. I don't feel like I'm interacting with the galaxy because all the solar systems are very closed off from each other.
If you're looking for a game that actually gives you a sense of strategy, tactics, and power, you should look into Starsector (formerly Starfarer), which is currently playable though in-development. I think it does a better job of providing the sort of experience this game was trying to provide.