Does Skyrim do anything about this or is it the same thing with prettier graphics?
It can be similar. If you powerlevel a skill to 100, you'll hit level 18 pretty quick; around every 10 levels enemies get stronger gear (or so it seems). So by the time you hit 40, they'll have glass; and levels 1-10 happen really quick, but then it starts to slow down (again, unless you're powerleveling skills to 100). Still, assuming you do things like pickpocketing, lockpicking, and sneaking, it's quite possible to hit over level 20 long before even reaching the first big city, which spoils the game to some extent in my view. Some enemies, like dragons, also come in stronger varieties and seem based on your level. I think around level 20 I started fighting frost dragons; blood dragons at 30; and elder dragons at 40.
If you level smithing up, your weapons and armor will almost always be more powerful than what you'll find through quests or off enemies. If you level enchanting, it'll be better enchanted too. I've done both, and it makes the game incredibly easy, like what you're saying. If you level neither of them (or not very far), questing remains a great way to get some good gear and the difficulty remains pretty good (although potion spamming will let you live through almost anything).
Even in Oblivion though, some questlines are worth it for the unique awards. Unbreakable lockpick, Shadowmere (the fastest horse), Azura's Star (reusable soul gem); all of those are unique and pretty useful. Skyrim has those too.
I like Skyrim's story, world, and quests better than Oblivion, though. Oblivion, I played through the main quest, a couple of sidequests, the expansion, and that was it. I probably still have a good 40-50% of the content left to do, but I just ran out of steam. Hasn't happened with Skyrim yet. Edited, Dec 12th 2011 10:03am by LockeColeMA