Expecting any sort of rational argument for or against Elite out of Blackcompany by this point is a lost cause, I’m afraid.
But Evochron, more complex? More complicated, perhaps, but a game that manages to reduce the beautiful, intricate complexity of newtonian flight to “fly sideways at 3 km/s and spam Excalibur” does not get to call itself deep. I liked it, and I’d been playing SW3DG’s games for literally a decade and a half (the joys of shareware), but they have acquired a nasty habit of obfuscating what are ultimately very simple game loops and burying them under jargon and terrible UIs. Mad props to Shawn Bower for managing to keep going for two decades basically by himself, but the general principle of design by landfill (or paid patches, if you’re feeling even more uncharitable) kind of ruined the series for me around Mercenary, especially since the current design direction is only working to make what was once the series’ flagship feature (planetary flight, long before it became popular) actively worsen the rest of the game by completely breaking the pacing (thanks to a fast travel system that may have once been a good idea, but is now just holding the games back).
As for NMS, I’m still holding off on buying it for two reasons: the price, and it kind of feeling redundant now. Yeah, the new features look nice (second Farmville base-building activity in a row aside), but at this point we’re maybe 6 months away from Elite’s own giant salvage patch which, even going off of the limited number of features announced right now, is fixing most of the things that made Elite’s exploration and open-world gameplay (y’know, 90 per cent of the game) terribly unpleasant.