As other reviews have mentioned - this copy of the game is a crappy one. At minimum you need to set up a registry fix (which on the top of the store page, though it might've not been there then), however you'll most likely end up modding your game with FreeSpace Open which, thankfully, has a really easy to use installer. After installation you can rename fs2_open_<version>.exe to FS2.exe to play the game (I only realised that after playing it for a while, so Steam didn't even track my game time :( ). You can also use FS2 Open to play the original campaign using the second game's engine, and as far as I saw, you don't even need to own the first game for that (not sure how that works out for them legally).
As far as the game goes - it's a classic space combat sim that I still consider being the best in it's genre. Other games (read - X series, Evochron Mercenary, SpaceForce and whatnot) are great and all, but they're more about the economics aspect, while games that do try to be like Freespace (most recent one being Strike Suit Zero/Infinity) don't really come close to the way this game handles, although I'm still not sure how turning off your engines can cause you to go to full stop in space. With FreeSpace2 open the game's graphics aren't all that shabby either.
As far as the gameplay goes, there's nothing more to this game than flying in space, infiltrating behind enemy lines, escorting stuff and shooting stuff. In space. It's harder than you might think, as there is no right side up. If you don't think killing stuff in space is exciting, then this game might not be for you. There is multiplayer, but it's a bit tricky to set up since you need to use, you guessed it, FS2 Open to make it work, as the original implementation is kinda ancient and doesn't really work well. There is also a modding community that makes campaigns that try to extend both this universe and various other sci-fi universes. Also, this game did Reapers before Mass Effect ever did.
So do I recommend it? The game - yes, definitely. The steam release - not so much. Go get it on GoG instead as it seems to be the better version of the game.