I actually think the combat graphics look fine for the genre. It’s a whole hell of a lot better than Distant Worlds. The explosions are the worst culprit, they look like 2d and as if they have about as much impact as a feather.
And ship design is pointless because it’s badly balanced and yea, it’s battleships all the way once you get AI combat computers. Throw in a Titan aura and you never miss except a bit on corvettes who blow up in one hit and will still get hit half the time, before they even get in range. God help the AI if you get the enigmatic targeting accessory. There’s maybe some argument to be made for a handful of picket destroyers just so you don’t lose random battleships to stray missiles but it isn’t impactful enough either way to matter. Strike craft still may as well not exist in game, even after patching them.
I kind of wish they’d get their act together on making the basic stuff actually good instead of constantly adding new features that essentially add up to +% modifier to X, but this is the oldest Paradox complaint in my long book of grudges against them. 😅
It would be nice if the combat graphics were more comparable to something like Battlefleet Gothic, though apparently metrics say that a large chunk of grand strategy and 4x gamers have potatoes for PCs or prefer to play them on a laptop, which is unfortunate. But I dunno, Total War Warhammer is a 4X that actually looks pretty good and sold a lot of copies, so with the precedent there maybe we’ll see some better looking efforts in the future.