Although I’m not going to award numerical scores, I do want to have some kind of criteria for a final review of each game, following the pattern of CRPGAddict, AllconsoleRPGs, and Inconsolable. These are what I’m considering now, as things that I personally like to see in RPGs:
Story/Characters: I’m not as big on story as a lot of RPG players are, but it’s still nice to see a decent one, and interesting characters.
World: This is the general feel of the game world. Is it generic fantasy? Does it just seem like random towns and dungeons slapped together for the game?
Game Flow: Does it feel like you’re progressing through the story? Things that would subtract from this category would be large difficulty spikes requiring grinding, or long dungeons/fetch quests that get tedious.
System: What is there to do in the battles besides mash A for “attack”? Can magic users actually do anything? Is there anything outside the battles other than standard town/dungeon exploring (minigames, puzzles, complex NPC interaction, etc.)?
Side Quests/Optional Content: In the SFC era this wasn’t the mainstay of RPGs that it later became, but there are still plenty of RPGs that have some.
Interface: Is it easy to navigate the menus? Equip things, use spells, etc?
Graphics/Sound: Judged by the standard of the SNES, of course.
Am I missing anything?
That all seems pretty simple, but I think you could also include things like "Is the exploration fun? Is it rewarding?" To show RPGs where just going through the dungeons and maps is fun, either because they are varied and interesting, or because the authors put in rewards that make you want to explore more. This could be folded into the System part.