That's what I love about the original X-Com games, as they are a TRPG wrapped up in a grand strategy overworld later.
Very true. While I like the XCOM tactical system more as far as movement and actions go (I wouldn't be able to optimize the use of time units again), I very much DISlike that it was taken far more into RPG side with huge soldier progression.
I'm sure there will always be people disliking any content a game might offer. In Elite, you can choose which content to really embrace and which to completely ignore. To the point that there are aliens trying to rip the bubble apart - and you can completely ignore the havoc and trade, mine and ferry people elsewhere as if nothing has happened.
Some love this design as it means they can do whatever they want but to me it just means that the galaxy feels far less alive, it all lacks action/reaction, consequences. But I digress...
I'm glad Elite still has new things to offer and I have no doubt I'll love some and hate others. But I'm not as demanding as the author of the article as far as faces go. A poly less or mediocre texture would never destroy the experience for me if the gameplay associated with it is good.
BTW, these faces are GORGEOUS compared to SLF pilots' faces. Those are 99% hideous, people were afraid the NPCs in Odyssey will have same level of uglyness, which has not happened.