this is one of the best RTS games i've played since Medieval 2: Total War (World in Conflict not withstanding since i've only played the demo). i picked it up the other day as a direct download from Stardock, the games publisher, and this game is very deep once you get into it.
on one hand, you have to manage the battles and what not, but its really more about planning and overarching strategy than tactics. the 4x genre is very familiar to most Civilization and other turn-based strategy titles, but this game pulls it off very well in a completely real-time setting.
scale wise, this game can be absolutely massive, but its also relatively easy to manage since there's little micromanaging. once you build some structures and planetary improvements, you really don't have to keep an eye on them hardly at all, and the AI is usually smart enough to handle most of the battles itself while utilizing special abilities in a smart manner.
it has a fairly involved tech tree that you'll want to develop since it will really have a nice boost on either the economic or military side of your strategy. and of course, that has yet another emphasis on the actual management side as you'll often times have to choose to boost your economy or your military. its a fine balance most of the time, and you have to make it fit your situation.
my one major complaint with this game is that there isn't a campaign. the opening cinematic leads you to believe that the game will have some grand storyline, but in the end, there isn't one. instead, you're treated to a series of skirmish maps. but not to fret, however, as even the small skirmish maps can take a good deal of time to complete. throw in the well done multiplayer, and the game more than makes up for the lack of a campaign.
graphically, its not the most impressive game i've seen, but the graphics are pretty good regardless. the best graphical feature is the zoom function. you can zoom out to see then entire star cluster, then zoom in to see an entire system, then zoom in to see a planet, and then finally zoom in enough to make out the little details on the tiny fighters. and all that zooming is done seamlessly and instantly with no load times which allows you to do all kinds of things one after the other and on different scales without a single load screen.
this game is a whole lot of fun, and in my book, its a must have for strategy owners. modding wise, this game ships with a map editor, and the game files can easily be edited. full-on mod tools that will allow you to import new models, effects, and skins is expected to be released soon in an upcoming patch.
get it. like it. love it. its that simple.