Icewind Dale II is in essence a sequel of a sequel. I held off on getting this thinking it'd be overkill on a genre I love - but once we got it, we were hooked!
|Graphics are really good, in the Baldur's Gate/Icewind Dale style. The stone and mosaic templates around the screen, the character portraits, the books on the shelves, the trees in the snow.|
You're playing with the 3rd Edition of the D&D rules now, so you get skills, feats, and other great enhancements. You also get some new character types, including half orcs and dark elves (Drizzt!!). There are pre-made parties or you can create your own with up to 6 characters.
Playing the other games helps get you settled in this world, but it isn't necessary. ID2 is 30 years after the original Icewind Dale, when a demon has come to wreak havoc on the land. You run into various characters from the first game, which is great fun.
AI is great, and the quests are challenging and fun. You really get a sense that you're progressing through the world, meeting real, thinking opponents and having to struggle to overcome them. This isn't just a hack-and-slash, it's a game that involves you fully.
Buy Icewind Dale 2 from Amazon.com