Squall should be grateful to Vaan and Lightning for heroically yanking the conch shell of FF controversy from his gloved hands. Before those two protagonists came sauntering along (bearing gifts of gender ambiguity and/or cardboard personality), Squall was the whipping boy for those that felt Final Fantasy was truly veering off course into the dark land of emo brooding and bad character design.
Critics/fanboys had a somewhat legitimate point – why the hell was Squall such a sphincter, when he had a dime like Rinoa constantly hitting on him? Ultimately though, the story was appropriately rich enough to keep us going, and all felt right by game’s end.
Of course, others will cite the gameplay as a primary fault – but frankly, we loved the complexity of the Junction system. And we were consequently incentivized to hunt down all of those GF’s beyond the normal “collect ‘em all” mentality.