I bought this yesterday and have to say it looks quite impressive (if you can get past the bloody UbiSoft DRM).
It is probably the simplest version to play as it by-passes much of the old micromanagement. The biggest change when comparing it back to older versions is that the map is now made of pre-defined regions. Instead of getting soldiers to establish guard-posts to secure territory you now need to conquer or bribe the neighbouring regions. Each region has its own set of resources so you need to plan ahead on what you want to do.
You don't search for ore by sending out geologists. The mines are already there but you need to secure the region it is in. This leads to faster game-play. Buildings now have expansion slots. For example, if you want to cut wood, hunt for game, fish etc, you first need to build a lodge and then use one of the expansion slots for the fisherman etc. Nice idea as it keeps everything neat and compact.
The old hap-hazard army and battle model is gone. Even in beloved version 2 this seemed awkward but the new version looks very good. You can setup guardhouses at choke-points and these need to be taken before you can conquer the province. But normal infantry can't capture guard-houses so you need specialists within the army to succeed.
Basically, in all areas, micromanagement has given way to strategy. The game itself also plays quite quickly and has a good time balance.
The only negative the DRM. Quite often the game simply won't start because it is having connection issues with UbiSoft. This is really really frustrating and at one point after purchasing but not being able to play I was considering returning it. Luckily I did eventually manage to play it and can see that the game itself is excellent.
Strongly recommend this one.