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I personally liked it, that's what gave me an incentive to always get massages and do anything that can give me favor. Kind of like how SR2 I constantly did things to get my respect up until I had infinite before continuing the story.
It's not a boring grind to me, and raising your face gives bonuses to food, tea, and dragon kick energy drink. Then when your face meter is full by the time your at 9, you are a non stop ass kicking machine. At 10 you get huge discounts on everything. =)