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Other than the beat mechanic pretty much breaking the game (I could never do it reliably anyway), the combat system was fine. I went through Mother 3 without ever grinding and the boss battles all relied on managing the rolling hp meter. I'm honestly surprised more games don't use it because it's such a simple way to make battles more involved.
But you took that paddle, and smacked me in the face, and I wear my heart on my sleeve, so when I wiped my face, I got heart all over it. - Abe Lincoln*
Not every sprite has to look like something out of Guilty Gear or Blazblue. Saying that some of the characters look technically ugly is missing the point. I actually like the simplicity of Mother 3's style; it lets your imagination fill in the blanks. For a game as personal on Mother 3, I think it's good to project your own thoughts onto the characters.
The creator of Mother, Shigesato Itoi said that more than half the game is what the player makes of it. I think a simplistic art style helps that along pretty well.
You can wax on, wax off all you want. I'm still kickin' your ***.
The Mother series really deserves another chance in North America. I know Earthbound didn't sell very well, but due to the success of Smash Bros I think its popularity has risen a lot. Perhaps there could be a Mother trilogy remake? But no, unfortunately Nintendo would never do that.