Fallout 3 was the first three-dimensional Fallout game, an heir to the legend that was the original duology. It introduced several now-iconic elements to the gameplay and set the new template for all future games.
Let's start with the way Bethesda handled the RPG elements. Fallout's S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system remained intact, with a bit of restructuring when it came to perks and skills, seeing as how the new 3D environment demanded changes in the way a player could handle things. They also added the VATS mechanics that served as a substitute for turn-based combat mechanics. You could pause the combat and select who, when and how to strike. This worked surprisingly well for a 3D game that Fallout 3 became.
Speaking of the graphics, even back in the day they weren't the best. Jerky animations, muddy textures, doll-like models of humans - all that was and still is subject to criticism. The advantages of three dimensions, however, were vast open spaces that made you really feel like you're in the post-nuclear wasteland that Fallout is synonymous with. And the environmental designs are still amazing. Despite being set in a decaying world, Fallout 3 is a beautiful game in its own way.
The story and quests, that is, the meat and bones of any Fallout game, was decent. You played another Vault Dweller on a quest to find their missing father. On your journey you could encounter numerous NPCs in various settlements and decide their fate by completing intricate quest lines and getting different outcomes based on your decisions. It wasn't as varied or abundant as Fallout 2, but the new graphics and potential for exploration made up for the lack of what basically was buffed-up text quests.
All in all, Fallout 3 was and still is a great game. Today it looks a bit old and obsolete, especially compared to its successors in the franchise, but it can still bring enjoyment to fans and entertain people who are into a bit of retro. After all, isn't this is what Fallout, with its 1950s feel is all about?