I loved 8. However if you are one of those OCD people who have to have the strongest characters and 99 of each spell than you probably won't like it as you'll waste a lot of time drawing spells. If you play the game more or less normally it will be a lot more fun.
FFVIII was the first game that made me think Squaresoft was slipping. Didn't like the story, the level of technology, the characters, the design, or, as you say, the teen melodrama. Everybody was luke warm on it back then, too. Of course, now that it's old, people come out of the woodwork talking about how awesome it was. Watch, in fifteen years, people will be ripping on FFXXVI and talking about how it could never come close to FFXIII. --- You might very well think that. I couldn't possibly comment.
I love this game, I think the series really fell off when they kept pushing the romantic angle in each game, but in 8 this was still original and appealing. Unlike other RPG's this game offers alot of variety in playing styles so grinding is mostly a personal choice. However, the draw/ junction system is very confusing and most people just give up trying to figure it out (I wasn't really getting it till my 2nd playthrough) What I really liked about this game is how after big events, we return to Squall just laying in bed despondent. As teen playing FF8, that really resonated with me
The battle system and leveling in FF8 are ridiculously exploitable. Even more so than FF7's materia system. Card mod, refining magic, junctioning status effects, and especially the Limit Breaks make the game so easy to demolish.
Regarding the story and characters, the writing has some major plot holes, illogical character actions, and just a whole lot of deus ex machina (seriously!). --- Glad Superman 64 was the third best-selling Nintendo 64 title upon release and was a success. Supporting risk-takers and change is how the industry grows.