General Fuckface just captured the courtly guard and is leading an airship rebellion in an attempt to control the flow of magical resources powering streampunk army robots while young white guy farmer learns about morals and philosophy 101 while fucking up a clichéd, emotional romance. Giant ragtag bunch of heroes saves the world and learns exactly one thing about themselves, solving many of the psychological problems haunting the characters. There is twist, after twist, after twist in this "epic" plot, but by the end of it you just wish it was over.
Four: Being easy as hell.
Pretty self explanatory--if you're not dying you're not playing a good game. Notable exceptions: Ultima, Roguelikes, Diablo 1, Diablo 2, Diablo 3, Quest 64.
Three: Lack of Scope.
Seriously guys, Ultima I has 8 Castles, 32 towns, and 26 dungeons to explore. What the fuck. Notable exceptions: Ultima, Quest 64, World of Warcraft, Everquest.
Two: No Randomization.
Why is it many games continue to drive the player through the same dungeons over and over? I'm looking at you, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy. Notable exceptions: Crawl, Nethack, all roguelikes, Diablo, Diablo 2, Diablo 3.
One: Having a party instead of one character.
Why do so many games have a party of adventurers? Are we so schizophrenic? Even Ultima eventually fell victim to this unfortunate trend. What seems like an avdance is actually a cleverly-designed artificial game extender. Battles take 4 times as long, and you need four times the supplies and gear. Things become watered down, and I don't even think game developers are aware of what a drag parties in RPGs can be. Notable exceptions: Roguelikes, Ultima 1 and 2, Moraff's World, Quest 64.
It's pretty simple when you look at it. Good RPGs will tend to have a single character, gigantic scope, and a lot of randomization. It almost seems like cheating, because any game made with this formula sounds pretty damn fun.