Quoted from RobT:
AVLE can be used as a great example of the apparent hypocrisy of Pinsiders who bash Stern for giving us the same rehashed layout over and over again (some truth to that), given the unique and satisfying layout AVLE has, yet it is bashed pretty hard around here. While I know that there are some dependability/tweaking issues that cause some of the bashing, you still don't see it widely recognized as having a cool and unique layout.
Yes and no. Gomez has come up with something unique, but really it's the same design that he started with MB, lead into LOTR, and was twisted to the left for AV. I have long stated that there are clearly constraints on designers at Stern, likely in lieu of cost cutting, and new design simply isn't in the picture. This is why SR has done games that are after his old designs (T2->ACDC, STTNG->ST) IMO. Borg just copies everyone, so nothing to go on there, but Gomez has gone to one of his classic designs as well that is a winner, but done enough to it in AV that it does look new.
As with SR, they are at least taking from their own designs, and doing what they can within, again what I believe to be the constraints they are given for a new game. I think AV is the most inspiring change from someone's prior designs.
Despite the above, I would rather drink cold day-old coffee than play either.