I am really grateful for seeing the 2300AD source book, as it reminds me of a campaign setting which I used to think was excellent, whilst being visualised through the prism of the today's Traveller rules.
For Mongoose to fuse original (old-school) far-future Traveller with it's broad Foundation style brush strokes, with this, Earth's hands-on tentative steps into space, employing chunky, clunky gadgets and tank armour, seems, at first glance, almost heretical! Hats off to Mongoose for bravery.
One thing that Mongoose 2300AD does do well, is that it provides planet maps. Ace! The colony planets feel like solid, real places.
The addition of DNA modifications as a norm seems a little unnecessary, but this is tied up with the bio-tech Pentapods' contact with humanity, which just about works.
Where are the gun pictures? Surely the look and feel of the equipment is really important to distinguish this source book from the main Traveller setting? The descriptions are there, but show us some eye candy! ;) Otherwise the presentation is very good.
As a sourcebook for today's gamer, the potential for the 2300AD setting is HUGE, the supposedly gritty feel on the broad backdrop of newly settled worlds will make for a great campaign - and many styles of game are possible from espionage to battlefield war. Its whopping 312 pages are packed with background information and game material.
Even in the bundle this still feels a little pricey, one would hope that PDFs would be considerably cheaper than their printed-and-bound versions - or at least it would be good to have a deal which combines both.
General note: 2300AD is implicit in its need of the Traveller Core Rulebook. The introduction also suggests that Supplement 5: Vehicles and 6: High Guard "would also be useful".
In summary, 2300AD it's a bumper book with plenty of details about many of the colonies and enclaves in the 2300AD near-star sphere. How this fits with Mongoose's Traveller will be up to individual players to interpret. The good news is that if Mongoose Publishing don't produce more 2300AD products that there's the so many older GDW T2300/2300AD products out which can be "mined" for ideas.
[4 of 5 Stars!]