The Artcam standard edition offers 2D and 3D design features plus very nice 2D and 3D toolpath features. So it is better to compare it with Vectic Aspire since both are full 2D and 3D packages.
I own Vcarve and like it a lot, the user interface is amazingly good and the Vcarve features are excellent. I have used the 30 day free trial for ArtCam Standard and it is also an impressive tool.
The user interface is different than Vcarve, so it took me some time to figure it out. I would say that ArtCam has a slightly steeper learning curve than Vcarve, but in exchange you get a lot more control over the design and toolpath.
For the money, I would say that with the 50% discount that AutoCad is offering now for the one year subscription ($15/month) ArtCam is definitely the better value considering that you would need to pay about $2,000 for Aspire. Even comparing the cost of ArtCam to Vcarve, which is not really fair since ArtCam has many, many more features (including 3D) but for $180 you can use ArtCam for a year versus $700 for Vcarve Pro which you can own forever but will need to purchase again in 3 or four years to get the latest version.
I do not regret my purchase of Vcarve at all, it is really excellent software. But if ArtCam had been available at this price three years ago I probably would have purchased ArtCam.
Watch some of the ArtCam tutorial videos and see what you think, then download the 30 trial for ArtCam Standard.