I sat on this post for a good long while, mostly because I wanted to try and find a way to explain what I was seeing, and thinking, with the 5th Edition rules changes around combat without having to go back and explain 4th Edition combat to readers who haven't played 4th Edition.
In the end, I gave up, and simply wrote the post below with the understanding that I would have to preface the discussion with a lesson on 4th Edition mechanics, before I could go on to talk about the new mechanics in Shadowrun 5th Edition.
Let me start by going over how combat worked in 4th Edition, and why it was, frankly, terrible. Combat in Shadowrun is usually a matter of putting as much lead down range as possible. In 4th Edition this meant a few very simple things. First, you never took a single shot rifle. It just didn't make any sense. With the exception of the miniguns, and why they are single shot, we have no idea. Anyway, there was simply no reason to take a single shot gun when you could take a semi-automatic gun, and have two shots in the combat turn verses one. The same was true on the other end of the spectrum, you never saw a character with a fully automatic rifle, as the recoil penalty simply got out of hand. Fully automatic weapons were used, in my games, for supressive fire, and that was it. This meant, for my players, and for myself that you only ever saw semi-auto, and burst fire guns, with a lot of gear strapped on to overcome the recoil penalties. While this was "legal" it certainly wasn't much fun. There were whole swaths of guns that nobody ever took, as their were cheaper, easy to fire, and more accurate options.
Now, we move to 5th Edition where several rules changes have turned the formula for ranged combat on it's ear. First, let's look at Progressive Recoil. This is a very simple rules change with massive repercussions. Progressive recoil states that recoil carries over from combat turn, to combat turn. This, if you think about it, makes sense. If you've ever fired a rifle, or pistol, as fast as you can eventually the gun gets away from you. That's what progressive recoil means, and we love it. In 4th Edition it was as if everyone stopped to take a breather between combat turns. There was no sense that combat flowed from one turn to the next, now, there is.
Right on the heels of Progressive Recoil comes another small, but catastrophic change to combat. You may take one attack action per round. One. That means, your single-shot rifle fires once per round, or your semi-automatic pistol fires once as a simple action (making it the same as a single-shot gun) or you can fire three times as a complex action. This is great, you get more bullets that you did in 4th Edition, but with the progressive recoil rules your three-round burst recoil carries over to your next turn. Fire another three-round burst and you have to contend with six bullets worth of recoil, out of a semi-automatic gun! That's nuts! Burst fire is even more insane, regular three-round bursts are a simple action, but you can fire TWO three round bursts as a complex action, however you're now carrying six bullets worth of recoil into your next turn. Full auto guns fire 6 rounds as a simple action, and a whopping ten rounds full auto!
What does this all mean, from a tactical perspective? Well, quite simply you cannot stand behind cover and spray bullets down range and expect to hit things turn after turn, after turn. You must take time to pause, adjust, aim, and at the very least break the flow of bullets to minimize the Progressive Recoil. Large characters, and guns mounted on tripods, or in fixed positions will still allow you to fire numerous rounds before incurring penalties, and that's as it should be, but for the average Runner the player now needs to weight the options, do I fire a burst this turn, and accept that I may have recoil to contend with next turn, or do I fire a single round and then move to a better position? Do I use a Take Aim action, and break the flow of recoil, before firing another round? All of these things were included in 4th Edition, but rarely used as it was simply easier to fire, and to keep firing.
Catalyst, good job. Seriously, good job.
After I published this, several of the comments brought to my attention two additional points. First, single-shot guns do not suffer from Progressive Recoil, they are immune. This makes single-shot guns, especially rifles, very useful.
Second, all characters start with one free point of recoil compensation, and then get strength/3 (round up) points of additional recoil compensation before any other equipment is added in. This means a troll, with a very high strength can handle Progressive Recoil much more readily then a human, or other less bulky character.