In case you didn't notice from that first paragraph, I love Star Conflict. I'm not an experienced Space-Sim player so I don't know how they think about it but for a "filthy casual" like me, this game offers the right amount of action and its easy-to-learn controls means that it's so much easier to jump in and just start dogfighting.
The graphics of Star Conflict is beautiful, it's pretty to look at while not really heavy on the hardware. Each of the three Faction's ships are different and are easily identifiable. The level design are mostly littered by asteroids and debris that can be used for cover. While this might seem boring after awhile but there really is so much things you can put into a space environment without making it silly. And besides you shouldn't be focusing on the views, you have enemy ships to destroy.
The controls are great and even with my third world internet connection I didn't feel any lag at all, which is simply amazing for an online game. You control the ship using the mouse and keyboard and everything will feel familiar to you. W and S to accelerate and decelerate, A and D to strafe left and right, Q and E to spin left and right, and your mouse to move the direction of the cockpit and your crosshair.
The customization and advancement reminds me a bit of World of Tanks where you have an upgrade tree for the ships. And each faction has it's own tree for you to unlock. You may change factions at any time but you do need to pay a sum of money which increases depending on what rank you are on your current faction.
Each faction have their own specialized weapons which is good to differentiate each factions but severely limits how players play because you need to be a higher rank of a certain factions to get a higher level version of each faction's weapons, essentially making it harder for you to mix and match weapons as you please. Difference between lower and higher grade weapons are minimal though so it isn't really that big of an upgrade. But still it is an upgrade and this is definitely one of the game's weaknesses in my opinion.
From what I've experienced by playing around 6-8 matches I feel that the Empire Faction's main weapon is a bit on the OP side. the Laser does deal damage on smaller amounts but the low rate of heat generation and the weapon's stability makes it easier for players to hit enemies with it. The disintegrator ability is also very strong but nothing a good interceptor pilot couldn't handle.
Overall, the game is really fun to play and the weaknesses that it has is really just a minor problem. The fast paced action and objective based matches really adds a lot to this game. The fact that it's a free to play title also makes it easier to just jump in at any time you want. Do note that premium ships is a bit stronger than your usual ships, but as with weapons, the difference is minimal.
Check it out on Steam: