OK, firstly we are all aware that Half Life 2 is a truely unique game, most particulary the story, and mainly the graphics (that is if your GPU can handle the power!) When i first play this game I was blown away on how good it was, the game created the right atmospheres at the right times, tension rising at particular parts and not forgetting those times when you start to panic (my mates laughed at me for that :S). These are the elements that make HL2 such a big success. If you've not played the game before or completed it, then this guide will spoil it all, reveal all the twists and story from as soon as you turn the first page, and that would be a waste of the odd £35-£44 on the game (depending if you got the collectors edition :P) the story has been built precisely for the player and it would be a shame if you actually knew what was coming up before it happened. This guide will show you every hidden location, all items in all areas, how to defeat enemies and much much more, this is a great companion to those who want to play it through a 2nd time, but I would strongly recommend that you purchase this after the completion of the game, or if you can't resist, buy it but store in a safe place. I have to admit I have been tempted at times but let me tell you this, the story has a unique twist! and its more rewarding if you discover it yourself :P But dispite what I just said, the ultimate choice is yours! those that still want to buy it, try and get as far on it before the guide arrives, and those that already completed it- GAME ON!
Fitting in a condensed HL2 guide and then HL2.E1 and E2, followed by Portal and a summary of TF2 is what is written on the book - and thats what you get. It also lists the achievements you can get, some easter eggs and other munchy treats. The portal guide, however, is a bit hard to understand when doing the puzzles (I never did need the guide, but looking through it and playing it was a bit of a toughie) therefore the photos that go with it are a bit unneccesary, usually the entire photo is blocked with a picture of a companion cube. The TF2 guide is useful - for its time. Now with updates, new maps and new weapons its dated. However, it still only points out the bloody obvious. Ofcourse you would know which key is reload, ofcourse you know heavies and medics are a good pair - its simple stuff.
It has some artwork pieces of extras, etc, but it would have been nice for even more extras. Worth the 5 quid I spent on it, though I would hesitate with 10+.
I hate to exaggerate but this strategy guide is BY FAR the best I've ever read! The detailed maps of each level, the excellent descriptions of the weapons, the thorough analysis of the enemies and their weaknesses helped me countless time while I played the game. Even more, the writing style is great (with some jokes here and there) and the illustrations are fantastic. Buy this book and when you'll finish HL2 you will know that it helped you get there. Just as it did for me.