First time poster/long-time listener here, but I enjoyed listening to the this podcast. As someone who isn't so much of a trained critic of games, I have been finding the game much more enjoyable despite the flaws discussed on the show.
I think there are certainly some design decisions that are at odds, specifically in that the combat is absolutely more punishing. This incentivizes running around the map in stealth mode, knocking everyone out and collecting all of the loot/intel items with no time limit and it doesn't push the player to get into combat. I think outside of maybe some story missions (I also haven't finished my first campaign yet, but I know of one mission where combat is necessary), you could probably get through the whole game without alerted combat. Even the Beholder cells can be cleared entirely stealthily. While I find that interesting, I would like if the game put you into more combat situations procedurally. The story missions are all great fun, but the limits of the game show with the procedural missions as mentioned on the show.
Despite that, I do feel like this game has some good bones, and the developers have stepped up to make changes to balance the game. For example adjusting LOS for fire, readjusting the power of perks (Actor especially was game-breaking for how good it was) and it looks like more tweaks are incoming. I hope they can patch in things like sound from takedowns, breaking glass, and enemies moving between rooms so that it adds some difficulty to the stealth and planning layer that could allow for more interesting situations that emerge.
On that note, I'd like to point out that the devs are currently working on mod support (https://www.facebook.com/notes/creativeforge-games/field-report-september-4th/935461166638732/). I think with mods the game can be turned into something much greater, and I will personally be revisiting the game as new updates (and hopefully DLC) are released for this game. I will have to try Hard West now as I haven't had much experience with this developer before, but it sounds promising if not just rough around the edges.