To be clear, I'll say up front that I very much enjoyed this game, played it for over 200 hours, and intend to snap up its sequel as soon as it's available. What drew me to it the most is its innovative and thorough approach to ship design and combat. If you'd enjoy spending 20 thought-filled minutes crafting a customized inter-system war machine, this one's for you. I should add that watching said war machine ply its trade is beautiful and enjoyable as well. I loved almost everything about the design and implementation of the space combat in StarDrive. Its real-time approach encompasses fighters, boarding parties, attack, defense, reinforcements, re-arming, repairing, bombarment, trade, support structures, warp speed and manuevering.
However, I must also acknowledge that this game never overcame a certain lack of polish. Confused AI, glitches, and underdeveloped or dead-ending side stories riddle the game. In order to fully enjoy its excellent space combat system, you must learn how to work with the game's quirks and carefully guide the challenge level into an ideal range with practiced care. I am amazed and impressed with what this game's creator(s) were able to accomplish. At the same time, I can see why its metacritic score didn't make it to the 90s; its great strengths are forced to associate with a series of weaknesses.