I honestly never felt like the game required any kind of grinding. Just fight the battles you get into naturally and you're pretty much fine against all but maybe the most difficult optional superbosses. As far as the healing by defending goes, I can remember exactly two bosses in the game where I had to do that even in my first playthrough, and even then it was just because I didn't yet know how they should be fought. In the end, the only real issues I've ever had with the game are its awful voice acting, which was pretty much the norm at the time, and the graphics which are naturally dated these days.
When the combat is this plain i don't even want to do that tbh. And to be really honest, this game released after chrono cross,FFVIII and just some months before FFIX. The "graphics" were already not that good at the time. But i should have clarified this on the post, the artstyle is the problem here more than the shading and/or polygon modeling. Everything looks bland besides some parts of the opening.