<Br>Gameplay- Ah yes, gameplay. In most games, this is absolutely the number one to do. In RPG's though, I'd have to say it's split in the middle between gameplay and story (or is it 60/40, respectively?). Whatever way you put it, my choices for gameplay will probably be strongly disagreed with by many, but it's not my fault that's what I had the most fun with! Final Fantasy VII's materia system was just right for me. Rather than having just plain leveling up, you can also do it with your magic! Not only that, but it has a quite fun, collect-em-all thing to it, and even with your party at level 99, there will be dozen's not leveled up still. Though ditch the random battles; I'm tired of not actually moving my character in battle and waiting for the "transition". Another thing from FFXII: Gambits. Is this genius? While so many other RPG's have me tapping X (admit it, doing hundreds of battles can get tiring), why not strategize first, and watch the magic unfold. Though at the same time you can think up even better moves on the fly. Also, six playable characters; there always seems to be a few I never use otherwise, any less would feel too small of a cast. Regardless, all the usual mixings (spells, swords, leveling up, etc.) will be present; even after all these years, that formula still hasn't met it's match!
Graphics- Right off the bat, I guess I could pretty much just say PS3, but no. Processing Power is all and good, but a game can't look truly great without amazing art direction that not only pushes the system to the max, but also looks better than it should. Being the next Final Fantasy I played after FFVII, Final Fantasy X's graphics blew my mind (graphics didn't have to be for an RPG though, it just wound up that way!). Frankly, I'm not an art scientist, so I'm not going to go all in-depth here, but FFX's realistic style, with a small dash of an animated look, fit exactly what a RPG should look like. FFXII has surpassed FFX graphically, but FFX pioneered its look.
Music- Quite an obvious one; no doubt I'm going with Nobuo Uematsu. When I think about his music, most especially that from FFVII, VIII, and X, I know every type of theme is explored, and done to absolute perfection. When it comes to his music, I know there is at least one area where games surpass movies (you heard that right!).
Environments- Big. There is no reason an RPG's environs should be anything else. As long as the detail is not toned down and the graphics aren't repeated (I'm looking squarely at you Oblivion!), this is the way to go. Oh, and get some sort of sci-fi vibe! FFXII seems to do this quite well (so just how good is this game?).
Camera- Is it just me, or does it seem that most RPG's are living the past with the fixed, top-down, or "isometric," camera angle? It's nothing all that bad, but wouldn't a more controllable, or "adventurous" camera angle be more appropriate for adventurous games like RPG's? It's a good thing more RPG's seem to catching on to this lately. FFXII incorporated this, but sadly lacks a free-look. Kingdom Hearts (while not completely an RPG) had the free-look, but left out the ability of invert look (leaving it unwieldy for southpaw's like me). Dragon Quest VIII though, nails it. It may seem like such an unimportant feature, but it's all about the details!
Note: One last mention for all the old-school gamers who are steaming right now, unlike most of today's RPG's (thankfully, FFXII seems to be going back to the old trend), the perfect RPG will have challenge. Don't expect wussy FFX final bosses who seem to squeal at blond-haired teens. No more save points just before bosses, I've had enough of five battles = level up, and careless people who go out wandering will be destroyed in a few hits by out-of-nowhere monsters!<Br><Br>Mix all the chemicals and the end result is:
Nah, just kidding! I'm well into FFXII, and, as you can probably tell, I couldn't ask for more!
<Br>Still, all of this does not make "The Perfect RPG:" Without an amazing story (which would also account for setting, theme, characters, etc.), this RPG can in no way stick with the greatest. I can't exactly just pull these from other games; the pieces just wouldn't fit right... can I just hire Tetsuya Nomura for the character design and Yasumi Matsuno for the story? At its heart though, you can probably see this is pretty much a rip-off of every RPG game in existence... Oh well, in theory this is the best concoction. I can think of at this time, but I await the response on how immensely flawed it is!