been working on a metroidvania protagonist for a while, here's a minilog on the design changes
I happen to prefer the first one too for the reasons already stated.
I agree with Trigo. This is very good, but at a glance, the chestplate of the new version really draws my attention. And because of pareidolia, my brain wants to read it as a face. The first version had better readability, to my eyes.
I do like the extra detail on the second one, but the first one had a more pronounced, expressive pose, I guess those are the turns we take on pixel art