The first thing I noticed is that it uses exactly the same sound effects as RG1. Not a deal breaker but kind of cheap. Ship combat is now in full 3D instead of a 2D plane & is mostly very good. although controls for power management are fiddly. In between dogfights it's the same mission/mining/cargo runs to earn money to upgrade the ship. Full 3D cutscenes have also been added and really help with the story. Also new is fast travel so you can skip all the space travel. UI is more confusing & it's difficult to find the information you need. Overall I'd say it's worthwhile providing that you don't mind repetitive grinding and the same difficulty spikes that plagued the first game.
Only a couple of extra notes here. I eventually rage quit (same problem as the first game) because it's often impossible to get out of a fight after you realise you can't win it. Your shields are represented by 3 lines, and once those three lines disappear you're basically dead as your armor will do nothing. To escape a fight, you have to pour all your power into the engines to get far enough away to either enter sublight or fast-travel, and you can only do those things when you're facing a waypoint. So you also have to stop shooting, go into the map, set a waypoint and hope that it's not in the direction of the people shooting at you (because the sector map doesn't display your direction).
Secondly, also related to combat is the UI. It took me a good half an hour to realise that the ship's display WAS actually showing me things like whether my flare was on cooldown or not, but it's represented by a tiny dot, and there's no tutorial. Even after 14 hours I haven't managed to work out if there's something that tells you how many missiles you have left. To make matters worse, the monitor that you use to select which weapons are firing or to see how far away your target is (only one can be seen at a time), is often taken over by a portrait of the NPC currently telling you he wants to kill you, so you have to listen to the guy telling you he's going to shoot at you, and while he does that you can't manage your ship or use the targeting system.
Overall the dogfighting is good fun, but the game as a whole doesn't feel like a huge difference to the first game, which is a shame because the trailers made it look like it was a huge leap forwards.
The music is good, but it gets very old after 10 hours.
Oh yeah, and it's Epic Exclusive.