It is odd how different this game is to the last one. Everything the last game got right, this one got wrong. and everything the last game got wrong, this game got right. Funny.
For me, FF 8 is one of my favorites. It has a strong story, beautiful graphics (for the time,) interesting and deep characters, and also a large colorful world to explore.
Weapons and Magic on the other hand is rather poorly done in my opinion. Characters only have a small number to choose from and the magic system is almost pointless to use since your strongest spells are what you usually use to bolster your stats. ie you use magic, you get weaker. Not to mention the Draw system: I hated it! It felt SOOOOOO tedious and needless.
But combat mechanics aside I still enjoyed it immensely. Battles are fun and engaging and the card game is incredibly fun and addictive to play (gotta-get-em-all.)
FF8 is by far more flawed than the last game, but I felt it had more charm and characters that felt more real and down to earth (mostly.) Squall may be a d**k for the most part of the game, but hay! He's a teenager, it isn't really that far of stretch.
Regardless of its flaws. I thought it was charming and a blast to play (even with the draw system.)