I guess its just perspective and what people like but i think its improved. Especially the level of detail, look at the lighting and shadowing in these 2 videos:.The first videos were great, but I don't like that "cartoon" style they have added in the last ones. I like more realistic graphics tbh.
I do agree the super cartoonish style isn't the best but i don't think its strengths lay there but in the fact you can do stuff that is simply impossible in the sims. I really believe that if this game comes out it will kill the sims in the same way city skylines did with simcity.