Should have been so much better.
Graphically it's stunning, a notable improvement of X-Wing and TIE-Fighter, taking advantage of 3D graphics cards. The control is also as slick as ever, though are now dozens more commands to be assigned than before. There is excellent support for joysticks, and you really do need a 4 button + throttle + POV hat joystick to keep from getting swamped.
On a basic level, it's also a lot of fun to fly around. It's still the same basic game as X-Wing, just further developed. Flying through an asteroid field can be a tense experience. There's also a well developed scoring system, which awards points for everything you do as a pilot. The more points you earn, the more awards and promotions you get. For a multiplayer game this is great as the whole world can see how good you are just by looking at your rating.
This game should be great, but I'm afraid it just plain sucks. Despite it's obvious technical advances, it's just not fun the play. There is practically no single player game to this at all, other than standard training missions. There is no plot what-so-ever, it's just a space combat frag-fest, that gets dull fast.
The mutiplayer side of the game seems to offer some reprieve, but it's damn hard to find folk to fly against you. You can of course do the team missions, where you all gang up against a common foe, but the difficulty level is just too high. Unless the entire party of pilots are experts, the whole things is over with every man destroyed in a few minutes. Basically, not fun and very frustrating.
Additionally, one final gripe. In the stats section it lists stats for all the various ships and fighters you can meet on your travels. But all their figures disagree with the previous games, and other Star Wars resource material. For example, according to this game, a Star Destroyer is 3200m long, but according to everyone else it's 1600m long. Who's right? All the countless games and material that has gone before, or this one game.
The Bottom Line
Annoying, frustrating, pointless. There's no plot for a single player game, it's too hard for a team game, and unless you can find several like-minded expert starfighter pilots to play with, I'd leave this one well alone.