While Higurashi focused mainly on grossing the viewers out and horrifying them, Uminkeo focuses more on cognitive understanding of the horrible events occurring while encouraging one to try and think one's way out of various situations. Higurashi was wonderful and I find the characters more diverse but Umineko is delightfully confusing and constantly keeps the viewers on edge. (Plus the added bonus of being able to see Rika and a younger Takano again is the greatest treat of the series)
Battler Ushiromiya is a bit bland in my mind and resembles more of Naruto Uzumaki from his childlish days in the original Naruto series than Keiichi Maebara. At least Keiichi knew where to draw the line in being a buffoon while Battler constantly seems to be in a state of stupidity. The most promising character so far seems to be Ange Ushiromiya as she's the only character in the series so far who hasn't had a moment of weakness (she can become irrational at times due to her rage but still does not completely lose it as the others do)
Wonderful series overall. Umineko and Higurashi have managed to knock out down a few series and rise to be among the Top 10 anime in my book. Still favoring Higurashi a bit more as I felt one could connect with the characters better but Umineko is not far behind.
Let the battle begin...