This are my observations they may well not coincide with yours.
Will add to these as I play more.
Game one: Medium map, most settings normal, four major enemies, easy difficulty.
At least three of the four majors were in the next star systems to mine. The fourth may have been to Galactic north, but space monsters ( at least three) destroyed my fleet before turn 55.
In none of the previous versions did these things happen to me. Remember this is easy difficulty as I am trying to learn this versions quirks before going higher.
This playthrough felt more like a FPS rather than a 4X game. As I have 70 year old eyes ( yeah I tried to give them back to the 70 year old ) the UI can cause me problems.
Problem one, the blue on black makes it extremely hard to see what turn it is. Problem two because I get Ocular migraines I need to zoom-out to the icons instead of the cute graphics, in 3 the zoom level reached this stage well before I needed a magnifying glass to see the screen ( note: my monitor is a 34in "Smart" tv) currently in this version I can not tell the difference between the survey or the colony ship. This could end up a " game breaker" for me.
As for other aspects of the game they are either good or will be rectified by climbing the "learning curve"
Overall grade is a solid C not bad this being early Alpha.