Steam simply doesn't have a proper category for "Do you recommend this game?"
I heard the horor stories about Sword of the Stars II and have also heard that it has improved, considerably.
The first few times I launched the game resulted in fatal errors in the program. It took me about three launches just to create a game, and returning to the game still nets the occasional crash. Thankfully, these seem to be limited to the first few minutes of play, so it's not like you lose anything important. Autosaving turn increments is highly recommended at this point.
There are considerable changes between Sword of the Stars and Sword of the Stars II. The new fleet mechanics feel a bit frustrating, at first, but I believe they make for a positive change on the whole.
However, I was able to figure out the first Sword of the Stars without many problems. There were a few obscure little bits that I only figured out by randomly adjusting sliders... but it was all relatively straight forward, much of what you needed was already set.
That changes, somewhat, in SoTS II. One of the most interesting and frustrating features I've found is the government type/style. Being a Libertarian-leaning Conservative, I wanted to migrate my empire toward the virtues of free markets and individual liberty. But therein lies a bit of a contradiction in terms. What actions can I, as the supreme dictator, make to bring about free market economics within my -empire-?
Doing nothing, oddly enough, causes nothing to change within your 'empire' ... or ... civilization? ... Anyway - just clicking the 'end turn' button does what one would think. The citizens of my little starter-centrist empire apparently need me to tell them to do things. Since I don't particularly like seeing Hivers blow up my citizens - I set to work making things happen.
Which immediately migrates my empire towards being a bunch of communists.
This is exacerbated by the fact that taxes mysteriously 'increase' during turns for a +3 to being a control freak and pinko. Why, I've no clue. I didn't touch the damned tax slider.
Perhaps it had something to do with colonizing a planet and it finally started generating revenue, or something. But when I reduce taxes on my whole 'civimpire' - I only get credit for a -1 to my pinko-dictatorishness. I suspect soviet engineered gremlins.
I try building freighters. That kind of helped move me away from socialism, but didn't really help with the whole control-freak issues. Not that the frighters were any good for anything. Fifty of the things and not a single credit of income from trade routes. Perhaps I didn't have the research for trade (but then why could I build frieghters?).
Eventually - I noticed that my 'subsidies' slider simply didn't move. Being a free market kind of person, I don't believe in subsidies... but, since I'm well on the way to being a communist, I may as well start throwing money at companies who ask for it.
Next thing I know, civilians are colonizing planets and asking me for trade agreements.
What a crock! They needed me to take money from them (taxes) to give back to them (subsidies) so that they could start colonizing and doing other such things by themselves. No wonder why I was so hopelessly confused. While I still suspect there is a bug in how taxes and other such things are calculated, this shows much greater promise in being able to Wei Wu Wei my way into a Libertarian standing.
There was zero mention of this in the in-game guides.
Most of those seem to be partial links to the wiki, which is a fantastic lack of anything relevant or important to actually playing the game.
Every game developer should look at the current state of Sword of the Stars II. Then, they need to be told: "This is what a public beta looks like."
Why? Because they are in the bad habit of releasing alpha builds under the guise of being 'pre access betas' then releasing a beta as a full game with the belief they can hot-patch over the following months.
And it needs to stop.
Many of SotS II's features are working, and it is in a publicly acceptable state as a beta.
It, however, lacks the necessary refinement and polish to be considered a full game. Numerous features appear to be undocumented within the game. There are still regions where text displays improperly. Any time the computer switches to the desktop, the program returns to a windowed state (and will not return to a full screen).
Which is why I am conflicted in terms of "would I recommend this game?"
Currently, I don't think it should be offered as a full game. It is still a beta.
That said - SotS II brings a lot to the table in terms of a gaming experience. The only reason I would not recommend the game to others is because it is still an incomplete beta that could sour what would otherwise be a very enjoyable experience.
So - for someone who is experienced in turn based games and I expect would be tolerant of the beta status of the game? Absolutely, I would recommend it.
But as a general recommendation? I think it has a ways to come before it is ready for the general market. Which is unfortunate given the fact that the game launched in a worse state over a year ago.