I find it amazing how those who have not yet played SCO, can be so negative. I am a HUGE SC fan. I've played all three extensively. I got involved with the founders program several years ago, and it was great that Stardock actually listened to what the players were saying. After playing for over 20 hours, here is my assessment:
The Melee combat is much better on SCO. The power-ups are an awesome addition, which can sometimes effect the battle outcome. The variety of ships (each race has normally at least 3 or more and they can have different weapons as well) are amazing. I love that the combat area is surrounded and can't be exited. This allows you to corner your opponent.
The race dialogue and story line is much better on SCO as well. You can tell that they hired some really talented writers for this, and is shows. While some of the quest seem similar to SO2, they put their own twist on it.
The hyperspace travel is a wash as they are both so similar, however I do like that as you pass by a star system in SCO, you can actually see the ships and planets in the system. I also love the addition of the starbases. This basically replaced quasi-space.
The planetary exploration in SCO still needs some work, especially early on when you have not yet purchased the planet lander stabilizer thing. I have two of those, and it makes the planet lander bearable. If they would just reduce the height of all the terrain by 100%, I think it would be perfect. Some of the planets are just way do bumpy, which makes it hard to get around.
The tracking of the quest you need to do is very good on SCO and was non-existent in SC2. Also, it logs each event that you trigger as well. I also like that you can put pins on the starmap for important places, and then give them a textual label and color them. They do need to add a way to keep track of what star systems you have visited already. You can't really do that with the pins.
My opinion is that Stardock did an amazing job with keeping the original SC2 flavor to the game, but added lots of new features. And I am looking forward to modding this and making my own multiverse.
This is only the second Stardock game I have purchased. The first was Sins of a Solar Empire, and one of the expansions. I thought it was a very good game, thus the reason I bought the expansion. I find it hard for someone to say that they feel Stardocks games are incomplete, yet they own 6 of them? Obviously you felt they were complete enough to continue buying their games.
And please don't get me started on the legal crap. It boils down to this: Stardock bought the rights. Stardock took the chance. F&P had the chance to buy the rights, but they did not. Plus they just waited too long to decide to make a sequel, and that makes me made at them. How long have we been screaming for a sequel? And then after another company buys the rights ($400K), you then want to do a sequel? It's like they wanted to wait until someone else stirred up the SC2 excitement and then decided they wanted to swoop in and take advantage of the timing. Sounds suspicious to me at best. While I would probably buy the game they are wanting to release, I am actually more looking forward to Starflight 3.
Stardock, once again thank you for doing what F&P did not, actually make another SC game!