Fallout 3 was a title that was never high on my priority in this insane period of new "big game" releases. Indeed, the likes of 'Gears Of War 2', 'Fable II', 'Dead Space', 'Mirrors Edge', 'Tomb Raider: Underworld', 'Far Cry 2' e.t.c. all were, originally, going to be put ahead of this release. However, after reading numerous reviews and learning more about it, I decided to put this game ahead of all of the aforementioned (excluding Gears Of War 2 which I also purchased). And I'm damn glad that I did, because I can't see any game "beating" this in sheer quality!
At time of writing I am just over thirty hours in, and am still exploring the huge game world. On top of that boredom hasn't even remotely shown itself, which is a testament to the pull factor that this game manages to generate. Not only is this game HUGE, but its also engaging all the way (just because a game is big / long that doesn't mean for one moment the experience is anygood or, indeed, value for money). Fallout 3 is first and foremost a role playing game (aka RPG) but played in a first person perspective (it can also be viewed in a third person perspective but its pretty poor) with a strong shooter emphasis thrown in. I'd be here all day explaining the mechanics of this game, but needless to say it's very substantial and fun (without being alienating to those new to this genre of video game).
Visually the game is superb. Exploring a ruined Washington D.C. after a nuclear event is a very atmospheric experience (the Wastelands during the day are incredibly detailed and often breathtaking). The weakest visual element are the character models who aren't well animated and look a bit under detailed at times. A small gripe though. As for the audio side of things, the ambient effects are very effective. A subtle musical score also adds to the wonderful immersion factor. The voice acting is solid but not spectacular. As mentioned previously the game is massive, and if you add to the fact that you very well may need (and want) to play the game through multiple times you have a title that really will last you a very, very long time! Oh, and the story is good and the game touches upon many interesting topics that plague (or have plagued) real life (how can fiction exist wihout non-fiction to inspire it to begin with eh?).
Being a sucker for Limited Collector's Editions (in the world of video games they genuinely mean it when they say they're limited, unlike most DVD's!) I opted for this version of Fallout 3. Its a very nice set and though pricey, I feel this one (unlike most) was well worth it (probably helped by the fact the game is fantastic).
Anyone who likes the 'Mad Max' trilogy, 'Fist Of The North Star' material (the violence in Fallout 3 shares the same over the top nature as this), 'I Am Legend', 'Waterworld', 'The Postman', 'No Escape', 'Children Of Men' e.t.c. will probably enjoy this, particulary in detail and stylings. Also, more obviously, those who enjoyed 'The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion' and, indeed, the previous two 'Fallout' games (which I haven't had the pleasure of experiencing) will probably like this game too.
I would give this four and a half out of five but can't because the rating system here doesn't allow it. Probably game of the year and demonstrates that gaming in a traditional sense is anything but "dead"!