For Final Fantasy VIII, Triple Triad was a lot better than the FFIX version (though FFIX is still by far my favorite FF) and could easily be used to bypass the Draw and leveling systems by changing enemies to Cards and changing Cards to spells using the abilities of a GF that you get before you even leave the Balamb Garden for the first time. Granted, you can't get Ultima that way, but you really don't need to when you're boosting all your stats insanely with spells and fighting low level enemies.
The characters were kind of hit and miss for me; on the one hand, they were more professional than most FF casts before them, which makes their random spaz out moments more annoying. I actually liked Squall since he was the only teenager in the history of FF that wondered why the hell everyone was putting the fate of the universe in his hands. Rinoa's romantic proactivity was refreshing, even though she was sometimes strangling the war plot with wuvvy wuvvness and they didn't really explain why she was rebelling against her dad in the first place. Zell was entertaining as a target, but that's cause I really wanted to punch him almost constantly. Quistis was admittedly something of a non-entity and Irvine needs to die just for introducing the stupid Orphanage sub-plot. Selphie I like without reservation cause she was adorably energetic, well-meaning, had good dramatic moments with the destruction of her home Garden, a completely broken Limit Break, and was borderline psychotic (need to stop a train? First option: rocket launcher).
The plot was alright and the scenes where you flash back into Laguna's time period were intriguing. Seifer and company were entertainingly douchebaggy, but still had some neat interaction with each other and the main party. Edea was pretty awesome. The main problem was that they left way too much unexplained and Ultimecia had no clear motive.
Fox Mr. Sinister (holding Rogue's chin): "So beautiful, yet so strong."
Fox Wolverine: "Well, I always did think I was kinda cute. Nice of you to mention it."
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