I picked up Fallout 3, and so far it’s a winner.  Companies seem to have a house style, and this is recognizably a kin– a dirtier cousin– of Oblivion.  The general mechanics and the wide-openness are similar.  But it’s also way better in graphics, voice acting, character appearance, and quest quality.

Here’s my character, in a relatively safe spot in the post-nuclear wasteland:

Fallout 3 screenshot

Just look at that gorgeous rendering

It’s good enough that I’m willing to put up with the game freezing up at unpredictable intervals.  (Sometimes it’s a few minutes, sometimes a few hours.)

So far it also feels harder than Oblivion.  It’s a constant struggle to keep up your health and find ammo.  I was proud of myself for clearing out a nest of giant fire ants, using virtually every weapon I had except for the BB gun and the police baton.