Even back when FF7 came out I never understood everyone's undying love for the game. The characters aren't that great, Cloud is your best character by LEAPS AND BOUNDS, Materia is a broken system that can optimize any character as long as you upgrade there gear, and the big plot twist is only heartfelt because Aries is the only character your WANT to have in your party at all times. Had that happened to Barret, Tifa, Vincent, or Cait Sith no one would have given a crap.
There's nothing really wrong with the materia system in itself. It's not broken in the slighest as it was DESIGNED to allow you to create synergy, your own strategy and to stop tedious min-maxing of characters that will facefuck a playthrough if one bad thing happens.
That said, the storyline is shit, it's full of needless 'tension', and the only characters worth a damn are Cid and most of ShinRa. That said, it's great fun to annoy hardcore fans of the game by pointing out they've been fooled, and it's really "A Hideo Kojima-like masterpiece of a story about a down-and-out pilot finding a reason to fly again."
FF8 is a cluster fuck of a game that has so many dropped plot points and poor design elements that it shouldn't be mentioned on any excellent game list ever.
FF8 had a lot of great points to it, however. While the storyline had enough holes in it to make people think it was actually a rabbit warren, and the junction system was screwy, the base concept of the gameplay was incredibly interesting and under all the telltale signs it was rushed, there was a damn good mechanic there that still holds up.
Personally, I think it's pretty unarguable that FF6 and 12 are the best Final Fantasy games. 6 because it's everything a FF game should be, and 12 because it's 1) A damn good game in its own right with solid mechanics, setting and (Vaan and Penelo notwithstanding, but they weren't originally meant to be in the game) 2) nothing like a Final Fantasy which is a plus point in itself.