Fallout 3 is among the best RPGs out there. You'll find yourself immersed in the Capital Wasteland for countless hours.
Fallout 3, as you probably know, is an RPG. You are in control of the nameless Lone Wanderer throughout the entire game, gaining experience, meeting countless characters, and exploring the Capital Wasteland. That being said, it is not your typical RPG. It is a shooter as well, because your character, while having access to a few melee weapons, primarily uses guns to mow down the ghastly enemies you meet in this wasteland. You can either do this from an awkward third-person perspective or do it the way the developers want you to: from first-person. This gives you the best view and best depth perception. From there, if you're good at shooters, then you'll probably excel at Fallout 3. However, your character is much more modifiable than the typical shooter hero. As Fallout 3 is an RPG, there is an experience system complete with skills, attribute, and perks that you may choose upon leveling up. There are also "karmatic" decisions in the game, which affect how people perceive and act towards you. All these elements grant a great level of versatility in what you can shape your character into, not to mention the typical character creator at the beginning of the game.
I'll try not to spoil anything here. Let's just say that you grew up in a vault meant to protect people from the nuclear holocaust and fallout. Somehow, won't say how, you end up having to venture out into the Capital Wasteland, which is made up of the remains of Washington D.C. and surrounding areas.
The gameplay is very solid. The shooting mechanic is smooth, as is the melee mechanic. There are a ton of different weapons to make and collect, all of which need you to make sure they're tuned up and well-repaired. It is a blast to use the weapons in Fallout 3, as there are many variations on weapons that do wonderful, violent things. The characters you meet in Fallout 3 are diverse and every word of dialogue in the game is spoken. You really get the feeling that you are in the wasteland when interacting with its inhabitants, which is good because it gives depth to them. There are plenty of types of enemies to conquer, so you'll never have too much peace and quiet. That being said, let's talk about the great V.A.T.S. system in Fallout 3. This is an innovative targeting system that you can use when armed against enemies. It basically freezes time, zooms into the enemies, and from there you can target specific body parts, each having their own health bars and chance of hitting percentages. This makes battles more strategic, as enemies show their injuries. For example, crippling a leg will make them move slower, and crippling the head will make them miss you frequently. It's a great way to play, but you certainly don't have to use it.
The graphics in Fallout 3 are bleak, disturbing, and wonderful. While it's not the best looking game out there, it certainly does not have bad graphics in the least. To ask for a game of this size to have top-notch visuals would just be a little much. There are a couple of gripes with the graphics, though. The frame-rate hitches up frequently in large battles, and every now and then, the game can freeze indefinitely, making frequent saving an imperative. There are also pop-ups every now and then. These things don't make Fallout 3 a bad game, but they keep it from being a game quite on par with Oblivion.
If you have a PS3, Xbox 360, or gaming PC and have not given Fallout 3 a shot, you are doing yourself an injustice. For RPG, shooter, or post-apocalyptic action fans, Fallout 3 is an absolute must-buy. Even if those genres aren't usually your cup of tea, you will probably still find the game enjoyable.