I earlier I checked out both Neverwinter Nights 2 and Dead Rising. Neverwinter looks like Obsidian really spent the time and effort to do a D&D game right... but I have to confess that Oblivion has spoiled me. It is a slower type of game whose focus is on party interaction and a sprawling main quest. 2/3s of the game follows a very linear progression and will let you build your character however you want. I was told by one of the game’s testers that the game has a turning point at that 2/3 of the way completion marker that lets you revisit places you have already been to do what you want. It also seems like a lot more attention was paid to the idea of a party system (which is important for a D&D game and is arguably the original’s greatest weakness). It seems pretty exciting.
The best news about neverwinter I think is that they kept a lot of stuff the same, that is to say they aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. They took what bioware gave them and added things on, updated the rule set, and spent time expanding what the game could do. This will get passed onto people in the form of an updated neverwinter toolset with the ability to shape the land however you want.
While Neverwinter is more of a game where you want to consider your actions carefully and the different ways you might approach a situation, Dead Rising is a game about hitting stuff. You play a photojournalist who goes to a mall in a zombie infested area to take pictures and it would appear figure out what is going on.
It doesn't take itself too seriously and really kind of does its own thing by allowing you to pick up things in the gamespace... that is to say, just about anything... potted plants, benches, baseball bats, apples, even a sickle. You can either hit or throw any of those things at your enemies. And those are just some of the items... It really focuses on an interesting type of sandbox because your limited to what appears to be 3 days of real time to do everything you can and make it back to the helipad. Its an interesting mechanic that could pay off in being unique or annoying because you’ll have to start over to do all the cool stuff you want. I’ve never seen so many people laugh at zombies getting destroyed in various ways (My personal favorite was when I hit a zombie in the face with a cream pie. Apparently pie is also a zombie killer.)