The strategic element is decent, but the tactical combat requires major overhauls. Also, there need to be better controls for turning ships.
Quest system is excellent, offers an option other than massive gifting to buuild good relationships with another empire. However, for some reasons there is no direct swap of technologies option. You can gifth techs as can the other, but not at the same time.
Tactical combat consists mostly of dragging your ships across an insanely large map.
The weakest element of the game is the inability for the AI to auto-resolve a battle decently. So you find yourself dragging a fleet of 50 ships to take out 5 of the enemy because the AI can't do it properly without massive casualties on your side. Since you can't trust the AI to play out battles for you, every fight drags on and drains a huge amount of time.
Having a 'group ships' option within combat would simplify things.
Another major problem is the limited number of designs. Only 4 designs are stored per size, which makes no sense from a storyline perspective. Ship customization options are decent, but the limited number of designs limit what you can do.
Not as good as Space Empires 5 on the tactical combat side and nowhere near Galactic Civilizations.