Year One is superior, and clearly is the template from which Snyder is working. I think he's been given an impossible task (though one can argue he didn't need to accept it) in navigating the treacherous waters of remaining respectful of Miller's origin and translating it to the reality of the New 52 rebooted DCU. He's obviously charting a middle-course which leaves the story imperfect and, with some few new characters (as you noted, Uncle Phillip Kane, along with a visual nod to Col. Jacob and his two twin daughters Katherine and Beth in a portrait in his office) largely devoid of originality. The trappings, such as modern/futuristic, sci-fi technology is incorporated to evoke a modern setting. Nevertheless, in attempting to ground Batman's "first mission" in a grandiose plot by masked criminals, the "realism" (as it were) of Miller's origin is undermined. The mob bosses like Falcone are paid passing mention and lip-service, but they are seemingly being treated as backdrop material for this new origin. Even Lieutenant Jim Gordon's role has been greatly reduced. Batman's "identity" has gone from urban myth, to an open, quasi-public figure as depicted in #24.
Stylistically, the story thus far is LADEN with homages -- from the costume (purple gloves, wide, pointy ears on the cowl) to imagery (the original Detective Comics #27 cover double-page spread with the Red Hood gang) to ritual ("Yes, father...").
In any event, as Rikdad notes, Snyder is a capable writer, and this story is not bad. It simply lacks the simplicity and "realism" (theres that word again) of Year One. In fact, though they came later and were questionable in terms of their placement in "canon," Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's The Long Halloween and Dark Victory serve as spiritual sequels to Year One insofar as they continue the story of Batman's early battles against the crime family's of Gotham. (I've always thought of them as unofficial "Years Two and Three, respectively, even if Dark Victory suffers by comparison to it's predecessor, and both incorporate a year-long running serial-killer mystery gimmick.) As for The Joker, The Killing Joke is obviously the quintessential modern "origin" tale, insofar as The Joker has one. (Ironically, it's literal relation to canon was recently called into question with regard to its ending, wherein Grant Morrison claimed in a recent interview that "the killing joke" is quite literal, as Batman actually kills The Joker at the end of the story. Speculate and debate as you like.) Finally, Ed Brubaker's 2005 quasi-sequel to Year One picks up where the original leaves off -- telling the story of The Joker's first attempt at terrorizing Gotham and poisoning the reservoir (a long-running Joker plot that has been recycled in numerous iterations, including in the The Red Hood Gang's recent attempt at "poisoning" the city using Wayne Industries technology to build bio bombs of some sort.) All of these stories were integral to both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight in various respects as source material. It would seem DC is blatantly and unequivocally closing the door on the post-crisis representations of its heroes, least of all Batman. Reply