I found myself not caring what happened. *some spoilers in here*
When I played Final Fantasy IX (which was the first FF game I ever played) I was attached to the characters. I was genuinely concerned with what happened to them. Same with II, VII, and X. I even semi cared about the characters in XII (which I didn't enjoy either). But while I was playing VIII, I really didn't care what happened to any of the characters. I hated Squall from the very beginning. His apathy towards everything that happened made me apathetic as well. That's not a good thing. For a game to be enjoyable, the person playing has to care what's happening and I really didn't.
Rinoa was another problem. She is supposed to be the main love interest, and I never felt the love between her and Squall. With Cloud/Tifa, Zidane/Dagger and Tidus/Yuna, I could feel the love between them. Through their dialogue and the situations they went through together, the love between the above couples was developed slowly over time. With Squall and Rinoa, their romance seemed to just randomly start with little reason. In fact, after *spoilers* Squall was hit with the icicle was when their romance started. Before Squall was hit, Rinoa had shown no interest in him. She had been swooning over Seifer. So for her to suddenly start loving Squall after he nearly dies is kind of strange. I guess you could argue that seeing him almost die, and him almost dying himself gave the two of them a simultaneous epiphany, but that's still a pretty weak thing to build a romance on.
Now as for the other characters, I really couldn't have cared less. Quistis was the closest thing to a developed character. The rest of them just seemed to spout nonsense and get themselves in trouble all the time. Selphie was the worst.
Now for the villains. I didn't care about Seifer at all, ever. The only thing he did that was of any significance was cut Squalls face and betray them later. I guess you could say that betrayal is a pretty big part of the story line, but let's be honest. We all knew Seifer was going to be a villain. We all knew he would probably turn on Squall later. Square didn't do a very good job of hiding that fact. When a character is predictable, they are not interesting.
Edea was the only interesting character in the game. Being possessed by an ancient time-traveling goddess is a thought-provoking plot point. However, once she is no longer a part of the story, all of the luster she gave it is gone.
Ultemecia has got to be the second worst pop up out of nowhere final boss. (Necron being the first) True she is mentioned, but not for a very long time. We don't even know who she is until we defeat Edea for the last time. I can't really feel any kind of accomplishment if I defeat a boss I don't know much about.
Now for the battle system. I liked the battle system for the most part. The only problem I had was upgrading my weapons. This may have been due to my own ignorance, but I had a very difficult time finding the necessary ingredients to upgrade my weapons. This resulted in me being forced to fall back on my summons a lot. As we all know, relying on your summons too much is bad in FF VIII, but as I said, this was probably just my own ignorance.
Now we get to the worst part: the story. I couldn't follow it at all. There was so little stability that I found myself confused as to what was happening. When the story would suddenly shift to Laguna and then suddenly shift back to Squall it was like a punch in the face. However, the real confusion didn't start until after Squall was stabbed with the icicle. In fact, I think that's where all of the big problems started. It was as if, after Squall was stabbed, everything in the story went haywire. The idea of all of the characters growing up in the same orphanage with the same matron (who is revealed to be Edea) and none of them remembering it is a bit silly. This, along with other silly parts of the story (like Squall and Rinoa ending up in outer space) made the story tumultuous and difficult to keep track of. And if a story is confusing, it's hard for a person to enjoy it. I'm sure others understood it perfectly, but I, myself, did not.
Overall the game was a disappointment. I did enjoy the final song in the game "Eyes on Me", which I liked so much that I had a friend burn it for me. However, one good song, a mildly interesting villain and an okay battle system weren't enough to save this game for me. I gave it away immediately after I'd finished it.