An excellent product all around. Getting this out of the way: If you're a fan of the Elite Dangerous game and universe, this is what you're looking for in a tabletop RPG. The writers are clearly fans of the game and have gone to great pains to bring the game as directly into the mechanics of the RPG as possible (particularly where ships and their components are concerned), and it comes out really well. Overall it's a sleek system with tons of options for customization, yet minimal numbers crunch.
The PDF itself is just magnificent. The art is nice, the fonts and layout are easy on the eyes and aesthetically pleasing, everything is nicely color-coded to quickly draw your eyes to what needs referencing... It's one of those PDFs that made me realize just how important aesthetics can be on the reading process, despite not usually thinking much about it. It doesn't lack for content, either. There are at least two dozen background options for your characters, which you'll pick from to put together a unique individual whose experiences have shaped their skillset right out of the gate. Ships all come with several different stock models - for example, the Adder "Aspire" Coupe is kitted as something of a personal cruising vessel, while the Adder Raider feels more like an interceptor - and of course, you can hand-craft your own ship by mixing and match components and balancing power needs the way you would ingame. There are even rules for creating your vessel from the video game, if you played, in the RPG. NPCs are fairly easy to make, and the book comes loaded with numerous stock encounters; different strengths of foe graded by their rank (from Harmless to Elite) for each of three groups: soldiers and mercs, police and security, and criminals.
I tend to ramble and I'm trying to abbreviate as much as possible, so I won't gush on, but it's absolutely worth the money. As a space RPG on its own, it does a really solid job, on par with some of my favorite spacefaring tabletop RPGs. As a way for fans of the video game to transfer their experience to a fully fleshed out universe complete with planetary interactions, personal-scale firefights and of course, exciting space dogfighting (or even mining if that's your thing!), it does its job almost perfectly.
I have only two complaints: One is the lack of comprehensive ship listing, which I believe is remedied in some of the expansion material but I haven't purchased those to make sure yet. Make no mistake, what's here gives you a ton of options. The Adder, Anaconda, Asp Explorer, Cobra Mk III, Diamondback Scout, Eagle Mk II, Fer-de-Lance, Hauler, Krait, Python, Sidewinder, Type-6, Type-7, Type-9, Viper Mk III, and the Vulture make up the ship roster in the core book, and that's nothing to laugh at. Particularly when you consider that each of these models come with something like three or four different stock configurations (and again, can be modified to your heart's content!). That said, I'm hoping to find the faction ships and cruise liners in the expansions. If not, I'm hopeful that the faithfulness to the source material will make them easy enough to translate homebrew!
The other complaint I have is the slight lack of depth in the mission generation tables. I don't want to call it "lack of depth", really. The mission generation system is really cool and it does its job very well. The only thing that worries me is... Within each of the three mission types, there are a handful of missions, each with a handful of scenarios and a handful of twists that could be rolled. The positive in this is that the generated results tend to feel really exciting and unique, but the downside is... Well, I was sort of hoping for D100 tables rather than D10's. This, however, is a personal gripe and a minor one at that. I'm fairly certain these generated missions will help my table get rolling and our own ideas will carry it from there, so they'll likely do their job just fine!
All in all, I can't recommend this product enough. I'd been waiting for this since I first took the controls of my crappy stock Sidewinder some year and a half ago, and the folks at Spidermind have delivered in a way that almost feels tailor-made to my wishes.
[5 of 5 Stars!]