The title says it all, what makes a good role-playing game? That is what we are here to figure out. For starters, while graphics are clearly important, I in an RPG they may be the least important of all gaming genres. To this day some of my favorites are the older SNES and PlayStation games like Mario RPG or Suikoden. This may sound like a personal preference and it technically is but it is a pretty popular preference. If you can make a good sounding sprite-based RPG with a solid story it will probably be more enjoyed then an amazing looking game with no story and bad gameplay.
This brings me to sound. The sound is pretty important, it sets the tone for everything that is going on and with the undeniably most important aspect of the genre. Music can touch emotions just as well as any word can and many times even faster. Walking into a town with upbeat music you can feel happier or know this is going to be a good visit. The dreariness of a cave or castle can instantly let you know this is not a place you are not going to want to be for long.
Gameplay is also highly important, a good turn-based system for many is loved but some prefer the Dark Souls style of trial and error and learning. Every mistake and death teaches you something for the next encounter and every win brings a sense of satisfaction in either case. I remember the first time I beat Emerald weapon just as vividly as the first time I took down Father Gascoigne, tho admittedly Emerald took much longer for me.
All of this, however, pales in comparison to the one thing that matters the most, story. IF your story isn’t solid and well planned and thought out people won’t care to play the game. There are plenty of examples of this I am sure, and just reading that sentence I am sure many of you instantly thought of a game. I won’t name any since I don’t want this to turn into a debate on the quality of specific games but you all know the type I mean.
As one last bonus thought, characters. Two games pop to mind with this and any Final Fantasy fan will instantly think of FF12 and 13. They are notorious for characters like Snow and Vaan, characters nobody seemed to care about or like. The little back stories they had did very little to endear most fans to them and undeniably took away from those games. So to me, a good RPG requires a good story and characters followed by solid gameplay and music. What do you guys think? Best wishes and may the gaming gids bring you glory.