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Icewind Dale II plays like Baldur's Gate with one major difference: you create and control your entire party, which leaves you free to experiment with the huge array of options D&D 3rd Edition makes possible. Halfling Paladins, Wizards with thieving skills, it's all possible because Black Isle dutifully added all the new skills, rules, options and feats given to D&D characters in the tabletop game.
The story line is long and epic and may be too focused for its own good. You can experiment with any character combination you want, but you can't really range far and wide, adventuring as you wish. The story concerns a goblin army threatening the human settlements far to the North and quickly begins to involve infernal implications as you learn the goblins' masters might not be of this prime material plane. The combat is fast, furious, constant and extremely challenging. One of the reasons Baldur's Gate II worked so well was that your Priest always had enough healing powers and Raise Dead spells handy. In Icewind Dale II you begin at first level, so for fully half the game you have to trudge homeward whenever somebody dies, which is frequently. The enemy appears in large numbers, usually with a spell-caster in tow, and just beyond one group of enemies is another one. It's relentless and strategically satisfying if more than a little frustrating too.
Fans of the earlier games who were perhaps a bit unsatisfied with the single-PC focus of Neverwinter Nights will delight in another chance to play party-based D&D. --Bob Andrews Amazon.com
A generation after the events in Icewind Dale, a grave new threat has arisen in the North; a threat that seeks to cut off the Ten-Towns from the rest of Faerun in a bitter power struggle. A vicious horde of goblins, orcs and bugbears has gathered beneath the mysterious banner of the Chimera and is attacking the port town of Targos.
The town of Bremen has fallen, goblin raiders ride the plains, and a stream of refugees are fleeing southwards to Bryn Shander and beyond. Fearing that they will be overrun, Targos has sent out a call for all able-bodied adventurers, soldiers and mercenaries to sail north to stand with the town's defenders against the encroaching horde, and it's up to the players' small band of adventurers to save Targos from destruction. Yet nothing is as it appears and as the shadow of the horde falls on Targos, the players find themselves drawn into an escalating conflict that plunges the region of Icewind Dale once again, into war.