My opinion of role playing games is that they are long games. They generally expect the player to invest a large amount of time and in doing so because they want you to become enthralled in their world. These games use the word Role Play very seriously and unlike most games expect you to be yourself. They give lots of options whether it be jobs, skills, weapons, or armors. I think that if the player is willing to put their time into it then the genre is great. If the content is boring and is hard to drop 40+ hours, it’s highly disappointing.
In short a “good” RPG is one that lets the player do what they want and feel in control of their experience. It makes them reach the end without expecting it to come. It’s fun in every aspect even grinding.
I think a good RPG example is Skyrim because it lets the player do whatever they want and that “whatever” is still fun. It’s enjoyable to run around and mine for ore to grind blacksmithing skills. It’s fun to sneak behind the blind man to exploit the sneak skill, it’s fun to get lost in the world. Everything in the game is fun to do, and when you get bored you just do something else that interests you.
I think a bad example of an RPG is Fallout 4. Though the game is a lot of fun there a few options for the player. It is a very polished game and nothing against it, but the options that Fallout 3 had and the adventure Skyrim offered don’t compare. In Fallout 4 when you’re not doing a mission it feels like you’re not doing anything. There is a point where the game reaches a maximum fun factor and then dips. The creating of your own town makes up for many of those issues with extra things to do. However, one of the biggest flows in Fallout 4’s RPG element is that leveling up lets your skill boost anything. In Skyrim fighting duel swords boosts duel wielding. In Fallout 4 shooting a person could boost your cooking, or radiation resistance, or anything on the skill tree. It basically makes killing people the optimal way of leveling up a character and that quickly loses its luster.