Yep, no exp from fights/kills - which isn't so bad IMO.
Their whole class/level system is terrible though. Originally it maxed out at level 4 (I believe), but then people complained so then they added levels above that - the problem is that instead of adding new stuff, or even just allowing existing stuff to be upgraded, they decided to add stuff from the other classes to levels above 4.
Which is completely retarded, though the whole game system is retarded on so many levels. Armor vs resistance for example - sounds like it could require some thought, but everyone can easily do almost any kind of damage so there's no thought required. Or the fact that every class seems to be able to pull "magic" or whatever out of their ass, or the fact that it's never even remotely explained how Nanos (and others) can even do the things they do without requiring devices of some kind.
At least the cyphers are explained in some way - although they just put some random stuff together for most of it. I hardly used any either, and most of those I only used to make room since there are so many of them and I didn't want to get cypher sickness.
Didn't mind the story myself - personally I didn't find the prose too "wordy" or whatever others have been saying, and most of it was interesting. The only game I ever played that had "too much" writing was Shadowrun Hong Kong - this was short and too the point in comparison.
Yeah, I've been super disappointed with all of Fargos kickstarters so far. He just keeps trying to be super innovated and re-invent the wheel and it falls on its face. Even though the original was just a reskinned Baldur's gate. It will forever be a cult classic.
This one had a great setting and story but It just didn't reach the enjoying gameplay of the original. Once you left the intial hub. The game got way too linear and you were just kinda tugged along through some weirdly scripted combats where you could never tell if you were suppose to fight or run or get everyone to some extraction point. It was a mess of too many good ideas that didn't fit together much like Wasteland 2.
Ironically Shadowrun Hong Kong is on my queue is it not worth playing?
Agree with you on Fargo's "innovations" missing the mark. WL2 was a game I really wanted to like, but the crazy fast levelling, the vast amounts of crap combat encounters, the random placement of containers which were from before the war yet somehow unopened even though they're in a populated area - it just smells of lazy design. It's like they went "Hmmm, needs more combat encounters here, here and .... here. Oh and we need some lockpick crates, and we don't have a safecrack crate here yet, so let's just stick one here". That and the maps were so huge it took forever to walk through them - traversing maps in Fallout 1/2 was faster while walking than WL2's maps while running.
IMO SR:HK is probably a better game overall, all things considered. The combat is really easy if you're a veteran of TB tactical combat, but it doesn't completely suck, and it's got a lot more variety to it than WL2's, and there's none of the guesswork like in Torment (which by the time you figure out the "cool tactic" you're supposed to use, you've just defeated the enemies with brute force anyway - except where that isn't possible, such as the sorrow encounters). It's also possible to mod it (I think there's a thread I replied to in the HK forum here) which makes it much more challenging. Plus there are a few UGC mods that are worth getting (OK by a few I mean two, but they're quite long and IMO better than the original campaigns).
The main thing that bugged me about HK was the writing. It wasn't necessarily bad, it's just that the pacing is way off. The writing's decent in the missions in general (you get banter which changes slightly depending on who you bring), but in the hub every single person wants to tell you their life story - and they tell it in pieces, so after every mission there are walls of text. This is from every single vendor in the game.
I get what they tried to do - make the vendors more like "characters" or something - but personally, I don't want a life story from someone I want to buy a gun or a sword from. I just want them to say, "Hi, back again? Got some new stuff in for you", then then show me the stuff. That's what vendors are there for.
So you'd have a mission - generally pretty short and snappy - then spend AGES in the hub talking to everyone about boring crap. It's the first game I ever thought had "too much" text. It wouldn't be anywhere near as bad if the hub stuff had been more interesting, but only some of it is (generally that actually related to the plot).
Technically you don't have to read all of it - that's what some will tell you - but I'm one of those people who has to experience everything in a game, no matter how crap. But for most vendors for example, there are always options to effectively skip their babble and just buy their stuff.
TL;DR: SR:HK is probably still worth getting. If you don't have Dragonfall, grab that first, it's much better in every way. If you've already played Dragonfall, you'll have to lower your expectations somewhat.
On the plus side, they took the graphics up a notch with HK - the atmosphere is top-notch.