Fallout 3 is one of those games that really drew me in from the very start of the game. You begin growing up in Vault 101, a safe haven from the nuclear fallout, and supposedly no-one has ever been in or out of Vault 101 since the fallout.
The game's start is very much just a tutorial and you getting a feel for the character and people around you.
Basically your father manages to leave the Vault, he doesnt tell you why, so now your mission is to find your father (insert darth vader jokes here)
The character customisation is fairly basic, apart from the hair styles and beard types which are alright, most faces will end up looking the same, but again, you wont really see your face in most of the game even if you use third person view so it wont spoil it either way. You start to forget about the way your character looks as soon as your being chased by super mutants with missile launchers, so dont worry.
You can also change your beard and hair when you get a place of your own in Megaton which is the first city you should come across when you leave the Vault.
The first thing you notice when you walk out of Vault 101 is the graphics. The utter destruction that lays waste infront of you is astounding. The attention to detail really makes you feel as if your alone in the world, and you have to get your hands on anything you can just to survive.
The free-roam aspect is still there, but there are times when you will have to travel underground in the metro lines to get to certain area's. So it can be restricted although you can teleport to an area if you've already been there apart from when your underground or encumbered. They make you go in the underground for a reason though. To crap your pants.
When I first encountered the ghouls I nearly kegged me pants. The enemies details are amazing. It seemed so real. Thats what Fallout 3 does so well, it makes the world and everywhere you go seem so real.
If you laughed at the thought of a giant super mutant walking the earth, this game will make you believe that its real, it really is quite gripping when faced against enemies.
The VATS system works quite well, at times when your low on ammo or health its obviously brilliant as your more likely to hit the enemy in VATS. Sometimes some enemies are just easier to kill the good old fashioned way, shotgun to the face in realtime, whereas the VATS has its appeal if you tend to panic when super mutants are charging you with nail boards.
The one interesting thing this game does, it makes you scavange everything. If you find a tin can on the floor, you'll want to sell it to make money which the currency is bottle caps. Its very hard to make money, and you cant carry an awful lot very early on, so you find yourself just porting to and fro from one area back to a town to sell your items which doesnt get boring.
I cant comment how it compares to the other Fallout games as I have never played them but this game is truly a winner.
If your getting this game because of loving Oblivion then you'll find this game different in alot of area's. Firstly the scenery, then weapons, combat and alot of other things are different, but in a good way. Fallout gives us a different experience. Its like the film Mad Max turned into a game only better.
The weapons are great too. It takes about roughly 1 / 2 hours to get used to Fallouts system and by that point you wont be able to put it down.
Fallout keeps all the good parts of Oblivion, and now in a different perspective, and it works so well.
If you want a game to last through the xmas holidays, this one is for you. Its scary as hell, yet bloody great fun.
A must buy for anyone. Definatly a contender for game of the year.