"And where is the fast paced combat? For a game that touts FIGHT as one of the main playstyles it seems as if you're fighting the game to kill something rather than fighting opponents."
Did you upgrade your ship? Do you use a joystick?
I Imagine that you took the time to buy the upgrades that will make your ship handle better. I just hope you are not one of those people who tries to play games like this with a mouse and keyboard! Since you talked about Lock-On you must own some kind of gaming peripheral.
I imagine this game will never be your cup of tea since it does not have the same style of physics as IW or a flight sim.
From what i've read on boards and reviews, this game is more of a wing commader privateer clone but it takes a long time to upgrade you ship so it handles like the ones in wing commander. It takes a long time to earn $ to buy the good upgrades.