I have bought all the Strategy Guides for the Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale titles, but this one is rubbish by comparison. There are no statistics (characters, monsters, npcs), no item tables/descriptions and no benefits over what is freely available from web sites. The book itself is in black and white, and the useful information in the Icewind dale and Heart of Winter guides is missing:- Spells are listed alphabetically, with a nice picture of the in game icon, and a brief description (no stats - even in the appendix) - i.e. no real use. There are no item tables, stats or descriptions at all for anything magical - its find out for yourself. The bestiary has no monster stats, only a cursory description. The Skills and Feats sections are skimmed and have no tangible information - again just a brief overview, without actually discussing the benefits of each. The walkthrough itself is ok, but there are better, and more detailed ones available online for free. It is more of a story than a full walkthrough like in the Heart of Winter guide. The maps could do with being bigger with more detail, and the area descriptions should cross-reference these. Perhaps I have been a bit harsh in this review, and I was hoping that after having another look at it I might have changed my mind, but I can't find anything in this guide worth more than 1 star. Personally I could have written a better guide, but then I think most people could. Save your money and go to one of the many fan sites around. For those of you who do buy it, it's OK and will help, but ultimately like me you will be disappointed by its lack of depth.
Having had previous experience of devious design in other Icewind Dale games, I thought this would be an essential purchase. I was right - sections of the game are impossible to complete without the comprehensive hints, tips and walkthroughs that this tome provides, unless you have infinite patience and aren't averse to saving (& re-loading) your game every time your attempt to solve a puzzle goes horrendously wrong. Which it will. Over and over again. Of course, with a 3-star rating, there has to be a downside and it's rather a significant one. Put simply, some of the walkthroughs are plain wrong; they advise courses of action that hinder rather than help you or provide information that is completely inaccurate (some of this can be fatal to your party). I can only assume that the guide's writers produced this handbook before the game was finished and missed some of the changes that were made, or, if I'm being uncharitable, were just not thorough enough. In summary: You will almost certainly need this guide to complete the game without enabling cheats, but don't believe everything it tells you (and Save Game regularly!)