Rifts is a terrific setting, unfortunately shackled to the godawful Palladium RPG system.
There are lots of wonderful creatures and concepts, and I own dozens of the various sourcebooks. The Coalition States are developed in this book, along with a smattering of other nations. The character classes are very diverse and entertaining. But it can be a challenge to balance a party around characters like the Glitter Boy (can shoot through buildings), or a Dragon Hatchling (actual dragon and inherently an MDC creature) and a Rogue Scholar, whose special power is literacy.
The basic tenants of the combat system, and power creep since the first edition, also lead to either a slow combat consisting of whittling down the opponent's hit points/armor, or an over-reliance on called shots. When normal players have hundreds of hitpoints, and boss monsters have thousands or tens of thousands of hitpoints, something seems a bit off-kilter.
Another example of the problems with the system is the Strength stat. There are 4 different types of strength: normal, augmented, robot and supernatural. Each one of them has its own lifting, carrying, and damage progressions.
The layout of the books is poor, with sections scattered about in no particular order. It is good that it start with the background and setting, because that is frankly the best part. Then there are some character classes, then some psionic powers and magic spells, then some more character classes, then some equipment lists. And only then do they get to the section on how to actually create a character.
I do recommend buying these books, but only as a sourcebook for other systems such as FATE, GURPS, or Hero with more rational mechanics.
[3 of 5 Stars!]