Street Fighter EX2 Plus is the follow-up to Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha. Both games eschew the 2D style we've come to know from the Street Fighter series in favor of a polygonal approach, but the gameplay hasn't entered the third dimension whatsoever. While EX2 Plus adds a few features and some new characters to the mix, it doesn't really have the overall flair that made the first game stand out.
In addition to old favorites like Guile, Ken, and Chun Li and returning EX fighters such as Pullum, Darun and D.Dark, new fighters like Nanase, Area, and Vulcano Rosso have entered the fold. The new characters fit well into the EX universe and exhibit the game's altered form of Street Fighter magic. The gameplay is standard six-button Street Fighter. Everything from fireballs to dragon punches to spinning pile drivers have been implemented in polygonal form, and the timing of the moves haven't really changed, so moving from EX to EX2 or even from 2D to 3D isn't much of a change. The real differences in the EX series lie in its use of the super meter. In addition to the super cancels and guard cancels introduced in the first EX, there's a new excel move, which acts much like the custom combos from Street Fighter Alpha 2. While it's neat to watch, the standard super combos are usually a more effective use of one third of your super meter.
Graphically, EX2 has a more smoothed-over look than the first EX did. While it does look a bit better than EX did, some players will likely miss the jagged-yet-defined look of EX. The effects have been bumped up a notch or two, and super combos really explode off the screen as a result. The super combo finish is still every bit as insane as in the original, this time showing all sorts of meteorites streaking toward the earth. The music is a little generic, and you won't find any old Street Fighter favorites among the various tracks. The character voices are still reasonably good. A static screen and a few lines of text, however, have replaced the endings, a definite downgrade when compared with the animated endings in the original game.
The usual modes are here, including versus, the barrel bonus stage, and of course, the expert mode. The expert mode gives you 16 different combo challenges per character. The first few are simple things, like throwing a fireball. But near the end of each character's list lie some pretty difficult six- or seven-hit combos.
Overall, EX2 is more of an upgrade to the original game than it is an entirely new experience. It looks very good and plays well, but it doesn't add enough new features to interest anyone that has become bored with the original. If you're still interested in EX and you're looking for something to tide you over until EX3 comes out for the PlayStation 2, EX2 just might do the trick, but don't expect the originality and freshness that the first game provided.