I agree completely. The hand phasers and ship's phasers were so very well done in Trek II. We can thank Peter Kuran for this, he did a fantastic job of animating them. The stunt work, acting, and sound effects contributed greatly too. The phasers just sound violent, powerful and painful.
I remember watching TWOK in the theater at age 9. When the final battle in the Nebula started, and the Reliant got the first shots in, carving up the torpedo bay, I couldn't believe it. I remember the whole audience gasping, and my father sort of instinctively ducking in his seat and letting an expletive fly.
I think the production of torpedo FX was a lot cheaper, easier and quicker. TWOK had stop-motion damage appearing in the phaser shots to convey the scorch marks left behind by the beams marching across the hulls of the ships. I can imagine that starting and stopping a motion-control rig during the miniature photography was a complicated proposal.