Fallout 1 and 2 are two of my favorite computer games. Those games had a great style to them, engaging post-apocalyptic story lines and a great turn-based combat system. Fallout 3 is a worthy 3-D successor to those games that falls short only in its game combat mechanics. At first glance Fallout 3 looks like a first person shooter. You can try to play it that as a standard shooter but you will soon find out that it's an awful FPS. Fortunately, the game has a pseudo turn-based combat system in which you can pause the action and spend "action points" to attack specific parts of an enemy's anatomy. This works out pretty well although the combat is nowhere near as deep as it was in the original 2-D games.
However, Fallout is much more than just killing things. The devastated Washington D.C. area is a great environment to explore. There are tons of little areas to discover. I finished the game with about a third of the map left to explore and I am already going back and seeing what I can find. The quests and character interactions are usually pretty entertaining and filled with a nice, black sense of humor. The role-playing aspects are there, but you don't spend you time worrying much about your stats and leveling up. The game as a gentle difficulty curve and even if you get off track you feel like you are accomplishing something.