I’m inclined to lean more towards your friend. Although I think the art fits the settings well - the more flat, pastel sci-fi vs the more saturated, vibrant and high-contrast-y fantasy.
Compared to AOW 3, Planetfall has much less distinctive UI (honestly, flat and rectangular UI feels a bit low end) and overall the sense of terrain flatness is greatly increased.
I feel like legibility is worse in Planetfall - you have to really zoom down to see what’s going on where you can much more easily see the same in AOW3.
It also doesn’t help that 1/2 the map in the campaign is covered by “former cityscape” terrain tiles, which are possibly the least legible terrain type in the game. Notice that the entire eastern side of the map is covered by “former city” terrain which you wouldn’t be able to tell without actually playing the game.