I personally hated FFVIII's story actually...more specifically I didn't like many of the characters. Also, the design decision around the game's battle system and leveling was awkward. The enemies and bosses leveled with you so the only thing leveling up did was make the game alot harder. What made it even more awkward was that you could max out your characters, stay at level 7 due to the structure of the game, and the game would be infinitely easy.
Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy IV are my top two final fantasies, though when it comes to story every RPG ever takes a back seat to Xenogears lol.
I think Xenogears is a game deserving of a remake as there's so much content that had to be left out of the title.