In my opinion this is the best version of this game.
I say this because each "new game" is just a tiny expansion of the original product. in simple terms, they have been charging 60 bucks for the the same old game over and over and over.
I don't support rebellion for this exact reason.
the only reason you shold buy ANY of these games is if you plan on using one of the many mods available.
as this is an older version, mods for this title will be more likely to be finished and less likely to be broken by random updates.
other notes about this game
the AI is predictable to a fault and prone to spam building odd single ship type fleets.
increased difficulty simply lets the AI cheat more openly.
because of a fault in the AI's detection, "standoff" situations will quickly develop for turtle players.
all 3 factions are painfuly balanced. ( so much so, that it begs the question " why bother with tech trees and multiple ship types?")
did I mention theres only 3 factions? (keep in mind this is the technically the 3rd installment at this point )
diplomancy is kinda pointless as AI's will perma team with eathother in seemingly random ways.
VERY PRONE TO MEMORY BASED CRASHES. anything larger than a medium map with 6 players is asking for trouble.
sum of things.
decent, but lazy.
buy if on sale and have nothing better to waste your money on.
moddb is a decent place to find mods of this game.
as a final note. note that rebellion is the newer title, but for many reasons I refuse to give it any postive comments.
in a nut shell, rebellion is trinity with a smattering of mod insipred patches. charging $60 at launch was an insult to the fans and the modders who made the game great.