Playable on its own merits...
If I'd picked up Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel off the shelf having never heard about the Fallout series, I would have enjoyed it immensely. The game is fast-paced, with smooth, attractive graphics, great sound effects and ambient background audio, a huge range of weapons, armors, and items, and of course the endlessly configurable Fallout SPECIAL game system, which is so involved that it makes AD&D character generation look like a third grade multiple choice math test in comparison. I could have had a great time blasting away muties and evil robots if I didn't have preset expectations. However....
... that wasn't the case for me. I, like most people who have played this game, was an avid Fallout addict long prior to the release of Tactics, and, like most Fallout fans, was seriously let down by this sequel. The heavy emphasis on pure all-out combat, the distinct lack of RPG interaction or dialog, the paper-thin storyline and the shift away from Fallout's traditional turn-based combat leaves Tactics a real let-down for Fallout addicts and RPG fans alike. Furthermore, there seems little serious emphasis on "Tactics" whatsoever - "Fallout Assault" might have been a more apt title, since most missions are significantly easier accomplished by charging in miniguns blazing than actually utilizing any type of combat strategy.
The Bottom Line
When I bought this game, I played it for an hour or so, then put it aside in disgust. It seemed like a betrayal to the Fallout name. Months later, I dusted it off and played it again, this time trying to appreciate it on its own merits, not as a sequel to Fallout 1 & 2. And you know what? I loved it. Fallout Tactics really is an enjoyable, playable game for what it is. So long as you remember that it's not supposed to be Fallout 3, or even an RPG at all for that matter, you can have some really good fun with this one.