Perhaps that argument worked better about 10 years ago, when the graphics for this fighter still held their own against competitors. The characters still look alright to me for a 2D fighter, but their pixels are really sticking in the modern day. Compounding this problem is the distinct contrast between fighters and the backgrounds. The designers have put a blur effect on top of the characters. I think this was to make them look smoother, but when you compare them to the sharp backgrounds, they seem like they're out of focus. You can go into the options and take the blur off to reveal the sharper, more pixely look they are supposed to have, but they still stick out rather badly.
Still, they exude style, and this may be why the game has the following it does. Voice and character design combine to make excellent, memorable characters. Though there aren't many new ones, many of the favorites are still here, as well as some newcomers from other SNK games. Shion is an interesting addition, with her mix of Asian fighting styles and a simple outfit that will have you hating the color yellow for a while after having faced her. And I said memorable, right? It seems that Rugal hasn't kept a close watch on his son, Adelheid, who seems to be having not only a bit of a goth rebellion, but perhaps an inappropriate relationship with his sister. Well, the new guys may be a barrel of laughs, but one of my essential favorites was M.I.A., but more on that later.
As for the sound, it's pretty classic SNK stuff. Characters still sound pretty badass, but with the old characters, it's not going to be very different than what you've heard. The music sounds pretty typical for SNK fare, but with a fast pace, electronic beats, and guitar riffs, you can't say it doesn't work for a fighter.