Ha ha, you posted new questions while I was replying to the old ones!
The game has been much less frustrating to me than FTL has ever been (those events! :E ), but it can sometimes be like a lot of roguelike, throwing at you a super enemy you didn't gauge first. If permadeath is frustrating you instead of making things more thrilling, you should definitely turn it off, in my opinion.
About the DRM, it is a single time activation, but you can do it on a limited number of computers (or setup?), 3 times I think, and then you will have to ask Shrapnel to allow you more activations (which they state they will gladly do, and I believe them). You need to be connected to the internet only that first time: it never phones home again.
I find the exploration really lovely: this is why I play the game. But again, exposing it in words, it seems shallow. After all, all you do is scourge little maps, finding occasional resources and enemies or other threats... and that's about it. There is quite a lot of variations, although it also depends upon your progression (every few sectors, new stuff is introduced, and that stuff will always be introduced in that order - for instance, the first alien race you meet is always the same agressive klingon like one, then you will always stumble upon a single sector some ancient one, etc). You'd need to ask someone who is much better than me at the game about whether the story arcs and other things influence that progression.
To assess whether you like that aspect, and whether the graphics look good on your setup: my only suggestion as always, give the demo a try :) I think the game's screen resolution is locked at 1024x768, although it scales up nicely on my Mac (but that might be some of that double dpi or whatever technical thing at work - I am not privvy to any of those technology thingies).
I remember a few things from all my runs.
One was how I was thinking how I was going for a nice run, got cocky playing bounty hunters... and bit something much too big for me. Not the most evocative story, but a trauma that is still in my mind!
A little anecdote, spoilerish though: the game comes with art and notes it throws around, and if you let your mind do the work and fill some blanks, it can give build up some world... I was wandering a planet, and stumbled upon a cave. inside that cave was a civilized hidden base, with humanoid "mercs" I was destroying. I then found one of those random notes: it was basically an ad brochure for space safaris. I couldn't help but think what I did was just massacre clean a space hunter resort...
It is tough to tell things, because actually, it's little surprises and moments that give you a "oh!" feel. They aren't huge, world shattering events. Just nice touches, and I don't wish to spoil more of them to anyone... I am not coping out!