One of the best RPGs of the PlayStation. Everyone has their own opinion, but most (not all) who hate this game are just over-the-top!
Almost everything was great. The graphics are CRAP - YES CRAP! Happy now Final Fantasy 8 haters? But, consider this; Final Fantasy 8 had the best graphics at the time on the PlayStation, especially compared with other RPG titles what had blocks for limbs (Final Fantasy 7) and is thus CRAP, but super FANTASTIC compared to other titles of the time. The music was fantastic. Simply fantastic. And i've got real proof of that - the game's theme tune "Eyes On Me" is currently the second-best ever video-game music released in Japan to date! (source: Wikipedia). The plot is extensive, with great back-story, history, plot and character development. The card game is possibly the best mini game on the for the early PlayStation, and the Full motion movies were just lovely. Even if you don't like the game, you just have to admit the movie quality was awesome, especially for PlayStation 1 titles.
However, the PC graphics for this game are very ugly, and repetitive of play and stay away - stick with the original PlayStation version! In my opinion, the music (which I just adore) and plot are the highlights of this game.
Of course, hardly anyone liked the new Junction system, which was just plain stupid and hard to understand, even with help of the tutorial. The "chocobo world" minigame was included in the game, but no way to access it due to the Pocket Station device never being released out of Japan, and the over-world graphics. In Final Fantasy 7, towns looked smooth and sleak, but Final Fantasy 8 has locations that look like weird-looking lego blocks when viewed from the map. This is quite ironic, considering that Final Fantasy 7 was the one that, despite having detailed towns, had "block" limbs - whilst Final Fantasy had detailed limbs, but now "block" towns.
The Bottom Line
In a sense, Final Fantasy 8 is like marmalade - either you love it forever, or hate it. Simple. Due to the low availability of this game today, you've simply missed the opportunity to decide if the answer was "hate" or "love". No doubt most people hate Final Fantasy 8, but it's just misunderstood (listen to me, I'm acting like if this game was a person!) and terribly under-rated. If you have the opportunity to play, have a go, but don't bother running around hoping to find it in stores.
If you're in the mood for a RPG, you're probably better off with Final Fantasy 10 (rated game of the year once for the PlayStation 2, and hardly any haters for that game!) or the upcoming Final Fantasy 12 (one of the legendary few considered "perfect" by the Famitsu magazine).