Holy fuck, I totally forgot about Fallout 3!
I bought the game even though I had the feeling it was Oblivion with guns. Sadly, it is. But they didn't use the stupid levelling system Oblivion had, and went with a standard "put your skill points where you want" type of system. Basically, they fixed one of the major complaints I had with Oblivion.
The VATS system is great for targeting, though I'm much more accurate than my character, so it was kind of useless to me. Most of the times I used it was when I walked around a corner and wanted to blow the head off of an enemy with my combat shotgun. Otherwise I just used the standard FPS targeting.
The ability to pickpocket an enemy and drop a live grenade to kill them is hilarious when you first do it, but when you find that that's the most efficient use of your ammo it loses it's charm fast. If I threw grenades at the same enemy, it might take 2 or 3, but one in the pocket kills any humanoid enemy instantly.
The lockpicking mini-game is the same stupid shit as Oblivion, though this time if my skill isn't high enough I can't even try. It was one of the easiest mini-games I've ever seen.
The hacking mini-game on the other hand is the most fucking frustrating thing ever. I would have been fine if they had simply required a certain level to hack the computer instead. The mini-game is more a frustration than anything.
The AI is still as stupid as Oblivion, the graphics all have that bump mapped shine to them (which makes everything look like plastic), and the environments get very repetitive after a while.
"Ooooh ... more subways!"
"Another cavern. Yay!"
"Ruined office building. I've never seen this before!"
You get the idea.
The setting is a lot better than Oblivion for sure. The foul language, morally repugnant bits of plot and such make the setting very real. And the open world to explore is super cool. The only problem is when you realize everything you see is the same 3-4 tilesets, in different patterns, there's no real incentive to explore. I basically skipped most of the north half of the map, and a lot of the ruins of Washington, DC. cause I realized it was all the same. And finding more of the same guns and ammo wasn't all too thrilling. At least in Oblivion, there were some cool, unique magical weapons and items you could find. In Fallout, there are some unique guns, but they are just a little bit better than the standard guns.
Also, I managed to hit the level cap of 20 far too easily, and had every weapon I could think of at my disposal. Money became completely trivial, ammo was plentiful, and I had almost all the combat skills (including the sneaky thief and conversation skills) near maximum. There wasn't anything I couldn't do. About the only thing that became a problem was the stupid random enemies that I'd run into while wandering the Wastelands. Because of my level (since they used the same dumbass mechanic from Oblivion) the only enemies that would spawn were mutated grizzly bears. And they don't drop ammo. So they simply became a drain on my ammo supply. The meat they dropped was near worthless. I began to use the fast travel option to get anywhere because it was the only way to avoid the fucking bears.
The story is not bad, but like Oblivion, it's not great either. I did the first part (cause you have to), and then wandered around until I was near max level. Only then did I do the rest of it. I spent about 30 hrs on the intro and wandering around. After I followed the main quest exclusively, it was only another 10 hrs. And the intro is less than an hour, easy. So the main story is just like Oblivion. Over before you know it, if you don't do side stuff.
And the biggest kicker is the ending. No matter your choice at the end, you can't continue the game. At least Oblivion let the player keep going, so they could do all the little things they missed. Fallout doesn't have that option at all. Unless you download a 3rd party mod. Ghey ...
Really, if I were to recommend Fallout 3, I'd tell people to borrow it from someone else. Or maybe rent it. Though that doesn't work if you really want to explore a lot. It's not worth it to buy at full price. Maybe when it's on sale.
It's a good game, not great, but it's a lot like Oblivion. And that's not something I look for in a game.
Just double checking this I realized how much I sound like Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation. But maybe that's cause I just watched like 5 of his videos. :P