Like its predecessor, it advances the story through the eyes of Shion Uzuki, who shares a coincidental bond (in terms of the late name) with Citan Uzuki of Xenogears lore. She is accompanied by KOS-MOS, an experimental anti-Gnosis (an alien lifeform that is brutish in nature and can kill a human upon physical contact within seconds) android. Other characters from the original game return, such as Ziggurat 8 (Ziggy) the human cyborg, MOMO the experimental human specimen who is pursued by a fanatic, Jr the gun-wielding young man who is older than he looks, and Chaos the mysterious stranger the group accompanies who conjures light based energy from his body that can somehow paralyze and destroy Gnosis. Every character has their backstory, some of which come into review during the events of the first game. And I am not the type to try and ruin things for those who have yet to play it, so if you want to learn more about these characters, experience the story.
Cutscenes are still frequent as ever in this game, advancing from one area to another and working battles in between. One new feature that distinguishes Episode II from the first game is the fact that now you can fight in mechs. Except they are called AGWS (anti-Gnosis weapons systems?) units. Battles with regular characters are still present, but the battle system has made changes. Attacks can be executed with combos and regular attacks, but now some attacks have different effects compared to the original game.
Now, this game has been stretched over a 2 disc compilation instead of a single disc, which allows for a longer game experience, which seems to stretch into the estimated 40-50 hour mark, which is not that different. The fact the game's been beautified up nicely now shows that the PS2 has a lot more potential to eke out for beautiful presentations from its games.
At this point, the game can be found at any Gamestop in the bargain bin for a cheap price. However, the game is still decent. Anyone who's played the first game and is looking to advance the story should not get discouraged. This is still a good game. Great graphics, good battle system, the ability to play as mechs or characters finally...the only big thing is you need to be used to watching the game more than playing it. It's basically what Star Wars: The Force Unleashed had done, but it is much much...much longer.