According to ESRB, this game contains: Animated Violence, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes
Parents should be aware that there is a load of cursing in this game (Square is reaching for the older gamers with this release). With all its faults, Final Fantasy VIII is still better than Final Fantasy VII and is a worthier successor to the Final Fantasy series as well. But I would suggest renting this game first before deciding whether you would actually want to buy it.
Final Fantasy VIII is a must-have for any Final Fantasy fan and I think general RPGs fans should check it out as well. However, the load-times do get to be a distraction and you must sit through each and every spell animation powerlessly; those who have played Final Fantasy VII will better prepared for this than others. Handling GF stats as well as the management of their resources can be difficult and time-consuming, so be forewarned.
For those who will not settle for anything less than perfection, I hear that Final Fantasy IX is only about a year away. And if that's not enough, Square is rumored to be producing yet another Final Fantasy game for Sony's ûbersystem, PlayStation 2; maybe it will offer the power Square and Sakaguchi need to realize their dream.