Regurgitate Abrams' hum-drum spin as much as you like, it still won't sound like anything but an excuse to make Star Trek more bland and colourless. It doesn't kill my earnest belief that the more strategic submarine-esque combat was more interesting as it didn't resemble all the other big franchise's space battles.
Sure, because submarine combat is anything but bland and colorless. My three-legged cat Ernie doesn't resembles the other big franchise's space battles either, but that doesn't mean you'd want to see him on the big screen.
Ultimately, it has nothing to do with Abrams, it has nothing to do with tradition, it has nothing to do with personal preferences, even. Some people just want their Star Trek fix and others want something more.