I've never seen a game where you watch the devs descend into madness (read: awesomeness) as the game progresses.
I played this for a few hours, wasn't too enthusiastic, and forgot about it until a few months later.
Big mistake. I'd stopped at precisely the moment the developers stopped caring about what a game was "supposed" to be like, and what they actually WANTED to.
One minute I'm shooting space cops in a clunker spaceship. Next thing you know, I'm going back to the drawing board and building spaceships that should be IMPOSSIBLE so I can blow up a galaxy's Parent-Teacher Association and bill them for Dvorak keyboards.
And it just KEEPS GOING. Forget "characters you care about"--most of the games you hear people say that about don't HAVE characters. You know what's a REAL character? A REAL character says "this mission has been boring, let's pretend the mission objective was to get in the arena anyway" because THAT'S WHAT YOU WOULD DO IF YOU HAD LASERS.
The game opens up the hangar and you get bogged down in minutiae because you don't know what all those numbers mean--at first. A few hours later, you're saying stuff like "okay, I'll make this ship out of paper but it'll be REALLY FAST, and by going fast it recharges shields to cover the duct tape armor, but I'LL NEED TO ALWAYS BE FIRING so my generators don't overload because then the enemy could tap me and make me EXPLODE."
Since the ships at the beginning suck, they're not much fun to pilot under the game's Newtonian physics. It's like if all you knew about Gran Turismo was driving a 1970s Volkswagon. But after a certain point? Hotrods with lasers, baby. Hotrods with DRILLS and SPACE MACES YOU SWING AROUND. You want turrets? How does 19 TURRETS, 1 SPACESHIP sound?
I'd say something trite like "the game goes NUTS after a certain point and I love it forever, forgive the weak start" but you know what? No. NOPE. Even at the game's worst, before the plot and ship customization gets great, it's still only as 'bad' as pretty much any game out there. I want you to sit down and ask yourself: is this other game I'm going to play gonna give me a SPACE MACE?
No, no it's not. Ain't happenin'.
Toss that 'other game' out the airlock. Now.