This game initially launched me into the Final Fantasy franchise. It still holds up well 15 years after it was first released. The storyline is consistently good, as are the characters. It is also interesting to see Cloud's internal struggles, and how everything fits into place, once the truth is revealed. Aerith's death still has the same hold as it it did the first time, and Sephiroth is still a douche. The soundtrack is superb too.
Overall, it is near the top of my all time favourite games of the franchise.
When I first played it over 10 years ago, I wasn't initially taken by it. I seem to remember it took me 3 years or so to complete it. In the years since, I've decided that it is a good game, but not nearly as good as 7, or my favourite in the franchise, 9. The first half is excellent. Being a mercenary, but being a student, felt different. I would have been happy if it had ended at the end of disc 2, with a few alterations of course.
Everything begins falling apart at the beginning of disc 3 though. The storyline became stupid, and aside from going to Esthar for the first time, it was underwhelming. In my view, it became too big for its boots. The soundtrack was good though.
The characters weren't as strong as in 7, but they still had a likeability factor: Squall in part reminds me of myself at times, but I was never that bitter and closed. Being a (hopeless) romantic, I did like how the love story between Squall and Rinoa developed. She sometimes reminds me of someone I know. Zell is quite cool, Irvine is alright, but Selphie and Quistis to me are forgettable. I never used them unless I had to.
Time to play 9 now, my favourite.