Traditional by what definition? DS9 Trek battles were moving into the realm of Star Warsish style space battles; even down to doing a "trench run" with the Defiant on a Cardassian outpost and a Klingon warship and the Valiant and Dominion warship. Trek's space battles will always be a function of budget.
While ST II (IMO) is the best in the franchise, it has nothing to do with the FX but all to do with what's happening between Kirk and Khan. You can have the same tension and drama with a bigger budget battle. For example: I had no problem with the opening battle in ST ('09) and could tell pretty well what was going on FX wise, but I was more vested in what was going on with George Kirk and his crew than I was the FX; it was a fast pace, chaotic event, and the FX just reflected that mad pace of what was going on.