Here we are, second AC3 book, first one not made by NAMCO. Can it measure up to the S-Rank achieved by the Official Guide Book? Well, yes in some respects and no in others. Let's get down to business...
It has 191 pages in A5 format, almost all of them in color but no glossy finish. The last pages, that contain AC1, 2, and 3 secrets and some other stuff, are in black and white.
The guys at CB's Project clearly went for the style of the original book (wise choice) but it falls short of that. It's not as good-looking as the NAMCO one, with a look that is simpler and less refined. It feels more like a budget version than a high-end one, even though both books originally retailed for the same 1200 yen. The backstory and character sections fare the best while the mission guidelines and the airplane presentations fare the worst. They didn't even use renders for the airplanes, only screenshots (and some bad ones at that). While one may not miss the glossy finish, it's clear it doesn't have the production values that NAMCO put into their own book. It fares bad in comparison but I'd still be satisfied if this were the only one available, just not impressed.
Now about the content. There's a lot overlap of information between this and the first book, which is to be expected. It looks to have almost everything that the first book had so nothing wrong at all here. The good news is that it does have some additional concept art for characters. The BEST news is that there's another interview (which we'll be translating soon) at the end of the book, with a couple of revealing pictures showing staff members and a lot of AC3 merchandise and some unique stuff there: Mission 00 and Direct Audio are par for the course but then you see what may be the actual animation cels, the original concept art drawings, other promotional art and at least one great-looking poster, oh my!
The interview contained in this book will be the first one translated, hopefully in the next few months. Look forward to it!
All in all, I consider this an expansion to the NAMCO book, not essential but welcome nonetheless if one's willing to shell out the same amount for some extra things (kinda like a typical DVD douple-dip, same main contents and a couple of new featurettes).