I'm playing GoW 2 on hard more..and I noticed something VERY irritating...
First off, you can't ever block... EVER...I'll be in the middle of a combo then all the monsters will attack at once and I'm just dead...spamming  + + triangle is the only way to combat this and it's annoying.
Secondly, I keep going out of my way to break objects and open secret chests but it's not giving me any exp (red orbs) I'll collect them but the number doesn't change...
You can block most things.
Some of the moves that would guard break you are trumped by the air block and parries. You have i-frames during a parry and the counter (other than pursue after a launcher, evasion, some spell casts, etc.). Most things are defeated by i-frame abuse, but not all (traps, Lahkesis energy pillars, Atropos beam sweep, etc.).
Though you can block, often enough you would do better to learn to parry/counter. Even better, learning to use i-frames effectively. Particularly in the quick and free way that doesn't toss you away from foes. That being the draw animation of the bow (TB) or head (EH). They're god-like. I've provided videos for this before. The air version can be held for constant i-frames until you land. To caution, the i-frame window of the ground draw is small (so you need to be precise) and using the (L) to move will cancel the i-frame straight away. It takes practice.
This besides drawining the bow/head to cancel normals with a given weapon. If you want to cancel specials of sub-weapons, you can do this with a different exploit once you have two or more sub-weapon (as soon as you get the SoD in New Game). I can teach that too.
Usually a very bad idea for higher level play. Efficiency is rewarded over fancy antics. Indeed, set-ups and control tactics over square slapping, special whoring, etc.
Quick path to t0 (Plume), is it? A begginer's favorite that has merits to be sure, but isn't exactly where you want to be when there are better ways to go about things. At lvl2 and below you're stuck with the long path to "t3" (after s5), so you get strings like 's,s,s,s,s,t' for Spirit (super plume for those that don't know what the Hell I'm talking about). At lvl3 you unlock 't2', allowing for 't,t,t', but you should remember that t1 is slow unless buffered out of another move.
The ideal 'combo' you should learn is 's,t' which is s1 into quick t1 as t1 hits as hard as a plume (unless the latter glitches to hit twice for the primary damage as it can do only in GoWII), comes out faster, is safer, sets up air grabs and ground-to-air grabs (OH) much better among other things. There is a great deal I can teach on the matter of basic combat. Many won't have much knowledge of these things as lower settings really don't encourage you to try terribly hard. Part of the reason vets need higher challenges with restrictions to feel the need to innovate rather than rest on their laurels as it were.
You'll find that is far from true in time. Particulary in GoWII where you would do better to at least learn to use 't,t' with the BH (with canceling at the very least *if not also tricking*) to deal far superior damage. SoD is more a vet weapon and it would take you a second or third time through VH to learn it. For now, we'll stick to your first time through vanilla VH and the upgrades you've chosen.
Near worthless beyond Easy unless there are A LOT of them in one area, which almost doesn't happen outside GoW1.
Not bad. Not great either. Bigger chests have bigger payoffs. If you get FULL extensions, all chests become mega chests for EXP (in GoW1 they were mixed chests for a full refill of MP or HP). I hope you didn't stop looking for them once your extensions were MAX'd. Then there is the Easter Egg EXP fountain (5K+ EXP). Also, the UBER EXP chest (Gift of EXP) at the Bog/Destiny's Atrium (where BK attacks you, you just revisit the area for something like 5K+ EXP).
If you miss the big EXP drops, you will mostly be relying on monster kills. To caution you, BH and SoD kills reduce EXP drops from foes even if you used a spell to finish them while they are selected. The former gets rage orbs and the latter MP. BoO would grant more EXP via a bonus, but you don't get the option outside NG+. These things said, EXP bonuses via crushing/shattering foes, grab kills, combos, etc. do not get altered by the EXP % changed only on VH to a value lower than 100 (75 instead). These are your real meal ticket, but they take more work to gather.
This said, there are also EXP orb fountain glitches of three varieties in GoWII. The easiest one is known in GoW1. You'll likely finding setting up and using these too troublesome though.