I greedily downloaded Elemental first thing this morning.
The modding tools are great
There are a lot of different strategies to employ
the computer players, so far, seem pretty good
No edge scrolling on tactical battles
The camera angle is funky
I don't like some of the default camera positions
I had the game crash late game (recovered with the auto save)
It's not fun. Sorry.
The campaign is a little uninspired and has no real sense of urgency to it
This is not a game for people new to 4X. It does not hand hold you.
I've been playing Stardock's various games for a long time. I was the guy who sounded the warning alarm loudest about Demigod's multiplayer back when it was in beta only to be told to STFU by beta fanboys.
Elemental beta 4 was very rough and a lot of people were understandably worried that the final version would be a nightmare. I am pleased to report that they really did finish the game and it's in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, it's not fun.
The million dollar question is, is Brad right? Is Elemental the best game Stardock's "ever produced"? No. He's wrong.
People often have memories of games they played in the past that don't fit reality. I loved Master of Magic but the game was worthless out of the box. Galactic Civilizations was so unpolished out of the box that unless you were really a hard core strategy gamer there was no way you were going to understand how to play it. Maybe they'll fix Elemental to be the game it could be. But it ain't there yet. Sorry.