Not as good as the first.
There are a lot of good improvements in this over the original ShellComander. Graphics are better, more parts, new commands to play with, a new automatic system to pick up power orbs (very helpful), and the ability to upload and fight user-created ships. All this is good. But, as appreciated these improvements are, this newest Shellcore iteration does not have the same charm as the original.
When I first started playing this I was expecting more of a quest game, like the first one, rather than a ladder campaign. I was disappointed in this; and the further I played the more disappointed I was with it. It was not as fun. There was no exploration elements involved. And the lack of being able to cannibalize parts from enemy ships. All there was... was going from one campaign to the next and that's all there was disappointing. I also didn't like how the shops were set up - I was also annoyed at how the last set of shops weren't available until all the campaigns were finished. A bit ass backwards, imo.
To say the least, I didn't like the campaigns much. They were just plain. Another reason, the player was always hamstrung in one way or another. I was annoyed at the fact that I was limited in design by the credit limit of the ship for each campaign - probably one of the reasons why people are complaining about not being able to start a campaign because they don't see that requirement. I also disliked how some campaigns were overrun by the enemy at the start.
Probably the most detrimental aspect of the new gameplay was the introduction of ground forces. This new system was poorly implemented, imo. Besides there being very few parts for your ship to attack ground units, you had to clumsily pull/place turrets to deal with those ground forces. It was very awkward. And there could have been some quicker system, and more ground attacking parts for the ship, to optimize your ship to deal with these types of forces more efficiently.
in all, it was not a bad game, but I miss the fun elements that made the first one good.