Gary Pendergast doesn’t believe React makes WordPress development more difficult:
If you’re new to web development, React is just as easy as anything else to start with… There’s still a lot of work to do to make web development something that anyone can easily get into. I think React is part of the solution to this.
Gary mentions TestPress in this post, a tool he has been tinkering with “to help deal with the difficulties of contributing to WordPress.” It’s not finished but worth a look. 👀