I like most of the X3 games...in theory. The UI, however, has to be the absolutely worst ever. Usually my X3 play style goes something like this:
1) Pick up game, play game for a week and finally figure out the UI, get overwhelmed with running a galaxy and shelve it.
2) Three months later, reinstall game. Find that I've retained nothing of how the UI works, and relearn the game again.
And I even played Eve for about three years. So, I know a thing or two about messed up UIs.
The thing is, Elite was great because it was simple without being dumbed down. Ah well, you can't go home again.
The only space sim I felt ever came close was Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos. Loved that.