The AI is atrocious. Most space combat sooner or later results in a head-on collision between you and your opponent (mainly because the weapons range is so silly, you have to close to 1.5 kilometers to hit something, and you are moving at up to .5 km per second).
Your freighters on autopilot will try to outmaneuver the enemy fighter craft (and fail miserably), instead of docking somewhere. Their pitiful rear gun meanwhile fires holes in the sky, but never seems to hit anything.
There are many annoyances. For example, you can tell a freighter to buy product X at a certain station, fly to another station and sell it, but it will only do so once. The only other option is to tell it to sell goods or buy goods for one of your stations within a certain radius. That however sooner or later results in the freighters jumping into pirate sectors and getting blown up.
After the first few missions you notice that your ship is pretty crappy. New ones are quite expensive though. Your only chance is trade, you even get an old freighter in one of the missions as a reward. (Which leads right to the next annoyance. For some reason hull integrity is proportional to your maximum speed. The old freighter is pretty shot-up and can only crawl around at speeds only barely in excess of the maximum velocity of a space suit, and takes forever to reach the nearest repair facility.)
However, the upgrade for the freighter which allows it to start trading on its own is only unlocked much later during the game, and so you find yourself flying batteries from power plants to meat packaging plants - not very exciting.
Once you have enough money to buy your own stations this gets a bit better, your freighters can then start buying or selling goods from your stations.
I simply let the game run over night a few times, which resulted in a hefty budget (and a lot of dead freighters), allowing me to purchase a destroyer, the king of the battlefield in this game.
Now a destroyer is a large ship, obviously. You would think that the AI would take that into account while maneuvering. You would also think that if a small freighter sees a 500,000 ton destroyer on autopilot headed right for it, it would somehow adjust its course. However, the developers apparently did not deem it necessary to adress those points.
This means that after about two days of gaming three of the five races hated my guts, because their ships kept slamming into my destroyer head-on, resulting in a not even noticable drop in shield integrity on the destroyer and a rapidly expanding cloud of debris where the other ship was. Since each of those accidents counts as a kill of one of their units, people start getting angry at you.
Apart from being unable to maneuver around large ships, yet somehow being able to dodge anti-fighter missiles, the AI suffers from other shortcomings as well. Attacks appear without any coordination whatsoever, your turrets can't seem hit anything moving, unless you equip them with area-effect weaponry, at which point they will blow up anything remotely close to the enemy, which mostly translates to a lot of dead wingmen and yet another race declaring you as their public enemy number one.
Balancing is awkward as well, once you get a large ship nothing can stop you: piloted correctly your single destroyer can wipe out whole systems. "Piloted correctly" in this case means ramming all other ships, because their shields are weaker than yours.