I know this is an older topic, but as sedately as this forum moves, I don't feel like I'm going to offend anyone by bumping it. Although I don't really have much to say about the sequel, I wanted to say I did pick up the original Nexus during the recent steam sale, where it was something like $2.50. I've only played a handful of missions so far, and the gameplay seems fine, although the UI is a bit clunky about making it easy to see what orders are being executed by what units. Anyway, that's not the point.
What bothered me was that the game tries to look realistic, and unfortunately doesn't quite get there. And since it's put the effort in half-way, it makes the faults all the more glaring (at least to space nerds). The intro got my attention almost immediately. The ships look reasonably like what you would expect early space-faring civilizations to use. They look big and blocky and not at all aerodynamic, which is good. They have rotating sections for artificial gravity, which is great. Some of them even have long struts separating the fuel tanks and engines from the living areas, which is correct. So we see these ships leaving earth to head out to Jupiter, a journey projected to take 8 months or so (I'm not sure exactly, but it was a reasonable time frame) and they are heading out from earth orbit with their big main engines firing (while their rotating sections were still moving, which isn't strictly the best idea, but I was willing to cut it a little slack). So far so good. But all my hopes were dashed when they pulled up to Jupiter 8 months later, with their main engines STILL firing and still pointing back in the direction that they had come from. Bad, bad, bad.
And when they reached the station and then cut their engines and somehow coasted to a stop, well then I could only hang my head and sigh. Even disregarding the impossibility of those magical space brakes, their built up velocity from firing that engine for the last 8 months in one direction would probably already have them going an appreciable fraction of the speed of light, and they'd be a LOT further out than Jupiter by that time. (Never mind where they got all of the fuel... probably picked it up at the same store that sold the space brakes.)
And yes, I did notice later that in game you actually do have reverse thrusters that fire when you stop, which is good. They fire for a much briefer time and can apparently bring you to a stop in a few seconds from a speed that you've accrued by firing you main engines for a full minute. Which begs the question, if those thrusters are so powerful, why don't they put them on the other end of the ship instead? But I digress.
If the game had been a bit less realistic, this wouldn't have been so offensive to the intelligence of anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of physics. If the ships look like contoured dolphins and fly by shooting rainbows out of their tailpipes, then fine, I'm willing to throw realism out the window and play space dogfighter. Like I've mentioned, I thought Freelancer was great fun, and its physics are firmly in the realm of fantasy. But when I see realistic ship designs and get my hopes up that here might be a game that gives Sir Isaac Newton his due, and then to see it fail so obviously, well, I can't let that slide.
Anyway, rant over. Just had to get it off my chest. I do think there's an unfilled niche out there for a space combat game with a strictly realistic physics simulation. The hard sci-fi crowd would love it. Actual Newtonian physics, having to pay back any velocity you build up in order to change direction. No ridiculously silly 'boosters' that speed you up until they run out of juice, at which point you suddenly fall back to your 'maximum' speed. Yeesh. Unfortunately it seems that the game world is infected with the same hysteria that plagues Hollywood, believing that people don't want real sci-fi. They want disguised fantasy, or airplanes in space, or just a vehicle for horror movie monsters. But maybe one day someone will take up the challenge. Well, I can dream, anyway.