"I saw a distant planet with rings like saturn, as i flew closer i could see the rings were made of tiny particles of water as i drifted through them in my starship" - 8.5/10
EM is a sandbox space pilot simulator. It provides you with all the tools you need to live the life of an intrepid space explorer as you blast around an (almost) infinite galaxy filled with collossal space stations, glittering nebula, astroid belts, and planets.
How you choose to use this sandbox is very much up to you. Want to be a fighter pilot? No problem. Want to mine and trade precious minerals? You got it. Feel the need to build a fleet and have your own armada? Ok. Wanna explore the farthest reaches of the universe either by jumpgate or just pointing your ships nose at a distant star and pushing on the throttle? Oh yes! Fancy visiting the surface of that giant blue planet over there? Yep. Maybe cruise across mountains and dock at the local trade city for repairs and fuel? Sure.
Whatever you want to do EM has you covered.
However, despite the fact that it is probably obvious by now that I am impressed with this game it is only fair that I point out a few low points and ♥♥♥♥les.
Firstly, the graphics. They are pretty dated. Still, what is here is all done pretty well. Distant stars flare light across your cockpit, nebula and gas clouds sparkle and shimmer as electrical storms rage, and giant space transporters lumber across the sky. On the downside the textures are all pretty bland up close. This is not so bad in space but it is on the planet surfaces that this really lowers the immersion. The actual concept of being able to fly from outer space, into the planet's atmosphere, and right down to the tree line is brilliant and the mechanics of it work really well. Unfortunately when you get there you see that the surface is just barren and featureless. A few sparodic trees and one or two cities is not enough to save this part of the game. A real shame as the actual descending to, and launching back up from, the planets is a lovely experience. Its just annoying that there is nothing to do when you get there.
Secondly, this is no hand holder. You will need to use the forums and wiki's to get to grips with this game. My six and a half hours playtime probably equates to about half of that as actual 'game' time. Still, nothing worth having is easy and i found the learning quite fun.
Lastly, the quests are pretty generic. You will make more money in ten mins of mining than by doing a dozen starter quests. Also there is a very limited amount of detail at times as so far as the living, breathing galaxy goes. There are lots of other ships, constant radio chatter, and dozens of busy space ports, but i'm yet to see anything along the lines of real faction interactions. Still, not been playing long so we'll see
Don't let these points put you off, there are a few mods available for graphical tweaks and the community is still pretty active and helpful for the learning side of things.
EM is a wonderful opportunity to just grab a spaceship and jet off to the stars. You'll be glad that you did.