Despite the bad rap everyone gives this fighter i find it effective loaded with a Circe-Maxim Combo against anything larger than a manticore (The dragon is an exception to this rule).
The Ares is for those times when you just want to sit back and lob missiles at people. It also makes a decent bomber substitute against heavily defended convoys of transports and cruisers. Standard usage of an Ares defensively is to load up with GTM Trebuchets, park next to what you're defending, and blow people away with paired hits at maximum range. Never try to dogfight; it is an exercise in futility.
This fighter is ideal for those who need firepower instead of maneuverability and speed. It can be armed with more missiles and is much tougher than the GTF Hercules Mark II. In fact, this fighter is tough enough to survive a glancing hit from the main beam of a Fenris at lower difficulties. Being a heavy attack fighter, it is vulnerable against faster-moving fighters. The Ares needs fighter escorts otherwise they are easily destroyed by more agile opponents.
The Ares is compatible with a wide range of weapons, including the most destructive GTW Maxim and GTW UD-8 Kayser.
Don't choose this one for the final missions. You almost always never make it to the node, and the sluggishness is just too much. You're constantly rearming with Trebutchets... no fun. :(
This fighter is essentially tailor-made for the final missions of the main FS2 Campaign, where large numbers of bomber waves predominate, as these missions are more-or less written for the player to respond to nearly everything with massed GTM Trebuchet fire and finish off the crippled survivors with GTW UD-8 Kaysers. In most respects however the Ares is actually more a light bomber than a fighter.
Excellent against Bombers (especially Seraphim and Nephilim) and Cruisers, but never, NEVER dogfight with this 'Fighter'. The Ares handles like a log of wood and can easily be outmaneuvered by any real fighter.
This fighter feels like a Herc MKI, in fact, it is a Herc MKI with better shields and armor. If you liked the Herc MKI but hated the Herc MKII, you will love this fighter.
There is something special about this fighter,first of all, its .pof file is called Bonus... second of all, You only get it if you complete the Into the Lion's Den SOC Mission (which probably everyone has done).
You can defend a ship against almost unlimited numbers of bombers in this ship. Hit B, lock on, fire Trebuchets, hit B again, lock on, fire, repeat until everybody dies. Forget interceptors, this is a bomber's worst nightmare.
Although it handles like a log, the sheer shielding, armor and firepower more than make up for it. This ship is death incarnate in the right hands - nothing can stand before you. Six GTW UD-8 Kaysers will turn any enemy into space dust. If you're not a good shot and have trouble with faster fighters, it's generous secondary capacity will solve the problem. Either way, the best fighter in-game for me.
Though I'm not overly fond of the Ares for my own use, it is a brilliant ship to give a CPU controlled wing. Set them up with Maxim guns and Kaysers, and give them lots of Tornadoes, then point them at cruisers and corvettes. They'll survive longer than almost any other fighter in that situation, and longer than most bombers, since they aren't quite so vulnerable to enemy fighters.
Its role is hard to describe. It has a massive amount of armour and shielding, and yet without the total lack of mobility that the Ursa displays, nor the bombs that the latter has. I guess its more of a super heavy assault fighter, because it is capable of engaging fighters better than many bombers, while being able to take on the heaviest ships.