This Guide is about all it does. Get's you through the basics. To bad they didn't let VersusBooks do this one. Their treatment of Baldur's Gate II & the Expansion was perfect (except for the printing errors, which they graciously correctly and provide a replacement at no charge for those of us with an early edition) All the really good stuff you buy a guide for is completely left out (What the loot is where to get it) and although you don't always want to use them. The inclusion of the cheats codes is a nice bonus VersusBooks gives us for BG:II but prima LEAVES OUT for ID:II. But since this is all there is I guess you have to buy it. I hope Bioware and BlackIsle will use Versus in the future as prima's guides are weak.
The consists mainly of a walkthrough. The do have maps and nice little helpful hint boxes. That portion of the book is done well and I have no complaints there, but what I can't understand is not having a list of items or breaking down the spells by class and by level (something sorely needed in the manual). If you just want a walkthrough, then this guide will serve, but if you want a complete guide, you will be disappointed.
Prima is usually the standard when it comes to strategy guides. They are pretty reknown for their in-depth walkthroughs and attention to detail, but with Icewind Dale 2, they fell somewhat short of my expectations. The guide has the "essential" information; they detail the new 3rd Edition D&D rules, providing a small glossary of 3E terms (Hit points, Armor Class, etc.) lists the new skills, feats and races, including all the benefits and disadvantages of each. The Character descriptions are nicely detailed, describing their individual abilities and disadvantages and their roles and recommended positions in combat. A monster list is available with a description of each, and they give an outline of the spells with their respective icons in the game. Additional spell lists are found in the appendix, listing individual class spells separately. Prima also gives a "few guidelines" for building your own party. Helpful notes and tips appear in rounded boxes throughout the book which give necessary information that you might not spot immediately in the book text, and it provides a decent walkthrough. The maps of the areas are impressively crisp and clear versus previous Prima strategy guides; you won't have to squint to see them. For black and white reproductions, most are surprisingly easy on the eyes. Unfortunately, the book is not quite thorough. Are they going to produce another Icewind Dale 2 guide with complete information and charge everyone for it a second time? You will find a list of BASIC weapon stats and BASIC Armor and Shield "Data" all on one page, but a COMPLETE list of items, magic or otherwise is absent. In addition, the guide states that all major/minor quests are detailed but not every "experience point opportunity". This may have been implemented for those who wanted to find everything on their own. I would have loved the guide to list a few sample parties; that's the first place I turn to. Veteran gamers like me may not need that info but it's a must have for people new to the game. If you are expecting this book to have everything, you will be disappointed. Prima did do an okay job on this book, but I expected better from them; if they are the only company producing an IWD2 strategy guide, fans looking for additional info will have to look elsewhere.