Gosh it's fun :) Reminds me a lot of Hardwar (remember us wooting about that all those years ago?) mixed in with a single player Earth and Beyond. You've got back story, places to visit on planets, trade, all the kind of things you'd expect from a modern elitealike. There's a load of background info around, and the news system keeps the plot nice and complex and also touches on the trading system too, giving suggestions on what might be welcome in certain areas, etc.
You can do all the other stuff you'd expect to, take missions and jobs, trade, buy equipment and buy new ships etc. Visuals are nice, but not cutting edge. Do the job though. Acting's actually pretty good too, amazing.
Seems to have three main modesof play. A plot mission mode, where you're doing stuff that advances yourself and the games plot, where you're fairly tightly on rails doing certain things. A freelancer mode where you can do what you like, and a mission mode where you've taken a mission and you're off to sort that out.
There are some oddities. Like generic scripts where you talk to people, they say this standard dialog acted out, then say 'here's what you're after' and you get a screen full of text. Bit cheap like, but I suppose it's needed if you've a huge amount of info/missions.
Flights a bit Earth and Beyondie too, but a bit more interactive thank god. You sort of point the mouse where you want to go and the ship follows. You can turn on regular flight too if you need to with a quick keypress, handy to switch between normal flight and combat like this. Combat is fun, nice and fast, old elite style silly phyisics dogfighty stuff rather than frontier, but it works well. Nice clear hud and targetting system too.
So far a woot, hope it stays that way.