I would definitely agree on the replay value and plug-in issues people've brought up. Once you've beaten Ares, or a scenario for it, you're essentially done. And once you've played for a while, you get good, and that's it -- lots of scenarios become easy.
Plug-ins for Ares aren't much of a help because of many things -- yes, I'd say it was probably too little, too late, and yes, plug-in making isn't as straightforward. I see further limitations as well, including the difficulty of effective plot movement (which is brilliantly worked out within EV's mission scheme) and, well, the relatively few things you can do in Ares. I mean, generally, the base and external scenarios have levels that are either taking a planet or conducting some deep-space operation. Planet-taking can usually be done with slinging large numbers of forces to occupy the space over the planet, and deep-space operations can only go so far when you command some ships and blow stuff up. Granted, EV isn't much better, but at least there are easier and more creative options available in that area.
Some people have created great scenarios for Ares and they definitely deserve credit, but I'd say Ares, unfortunately, just wasn't structured in a way that lent itself to the kind of simplicity and easy-playability and easy-expandability that the EV series had. Ares is a great strategy game, but its depth only extended in certain directions, and it just can't compete. But hey, what the heck, we have both games provided nicely by Ambrosia, playing both is always a great thing.
Mike Lee (Firebird)
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