I really wish I could recommend this game. Most of the reviews I've read aren't even aware that this is an unpdate of a game so old is pre-dates MOO and MOO2. So to compare this with the MOO games isn't really fair, since it's just as likely MOO took ideas from the old Armada 2525.
There are some great features to the game. In particular, the events notifications after each turn allows itself to be used as a sort of checklist when resolving issues, in a way that not even the new Civ games do. However, there are several tedious features. Moving population around planets is necessary, and it just takes a little too long to issue each transport command. The issues are minor, such as having to move the mouse far across the screen, instead of having common commands set right next to each other. So it isn't awful, just a little tiring to me after some hours of play.
Alien races keep spamming me with requests and deal offers, and there is no way to stop them. Unfortunately, most of the offers just aren't that important. I finally declared war on one race to stop their nagging, which reduced communications to a series of offers for peace. The aliens will also sometimes park on your planets, doing no harm, but causing the game to prompt you to declare war every single turn, which also gets tedious.
This is basically a good, relatively simple sci fi 4x game that probably has some good strategy. But the polish isn't there, for me. The pace of play tends to tire me rather than energize me. So I recommend avoiding it, although it might be enjoyable if you are really interested in 4x sci fi games, of which there are not enough.
I have only played the Gold edition. Based on the new features list, I would avoid the regular edition and only buy the gold, if you do buy it. It adds quite a lot.
Update: Okay, I changed my mind. But with some caveats. The game is funny, quirky, and easy to mod. If you like exploring a game to see what makes it tick, and if you don't take it too seriously, this might be a good buy. The problems I mentioned lessen as the game progresses, and there are many ways to win. Myself, I have made small changes to the random planet generation to reduce the number of useless planets. It appears to have been made by one person, which I find quite admirable. It isn't really polished, but it has a good heart.