The concept of Mega man has always been the same since the franchise's inception into the gaming world. You get 8 robots to take down, you can pick any of those 8 robots to take on via the main menu. You beat their asses, take their powers, and you can use those stolen powers to easily destroy other robots more vulnerable to those stolen powers. The X series is really no different then the classic Mega man titles, with the exception of adding more elements to the gameplay. You still kill, steal, and destroy, but now you have more add ons, moves, and power ups to add to your already existing power.
In the X series, armor, heart capsules, and sub t's play an important role in making your journey through the game easier and much more enjoyable. To acquire these magnificent items you have to really search each level with a very OCD like attitude. Some of these items can either be simply placed in a very Miyamoto esq way by being rewarded for thinking outside of the game's usual patterns. On the other hand other items can be much more fiendishly hidden, some only to get by using different combinations of weapons, others make you think outside of the levels, and a few just require plain old luck.
As you progress through each level, you will eventually stumble into these babies. Their sole purpose of existence is to simply extend your life bar.
Sub Ts are basically 'energy reserves'. When your main life bar is filled to the brink with energy, you can pick up and store once nonessential energy packets into the Sub T's you have collected. You can use them to fill up your life when you are in dire need of energy. Sub Ts are a godsend in this game, especially near the end when you have to re battle all of the robots for a second time, as well as defeating the final bosses.
Throughout the game, a priority for you will be upgrading your armor. The new armor you collect will either give you new moves, new abilities, or improvements over your already existing abilities. Doctor Light from the classic Mega man series will provide you with these new upgrades Via holographic message capsules from the past.
These aren't really upgrades, but they are an integral part of the story. I don't want to spoil anything so I'll I will say is that your decision to collect these 3 parts or not will weigh in later on in the game. If you want to make the game easier on yourself then you'll probably want to collect the parts.
Ok, lets get this straight before I start going on about the story. Mega man to me has never been about the story, and honestly I don't know anybody who has followed or has ever really cared about a story in a Mega man game. To me Mega man has always been about shooting, stealing, and just being plain bad ass. Besides all that, if you do want a story, then it's there. Wikipedia explains the plot best.
"Six months after defeating Sigma, X assumes leadership of the Maverick Hunters. Despite Sigma's death, the Maverick Rebellion continues. X has tracked the remaining Mavericks to a Reploid factory, and launches a full assault. But this was not the end of the war.
"Three of the Maverick leaders, Serges, Agile, and Violen, form a group called the "X-Hunters" and gain control of the North Pole. In the time between Sigma's demise and their sudden uprising, Serges has collected the parts of Zero, who had died in the first conflict didn't salvage Zero's parts but created new ones, but still lacks Zero's original Control Chip. The X-Hunters contact the Maverick Hunters and taunt them with Zero's body, which they have split into three pieces, in order to lure out X, hoping to destroy him." - Wikipedia
For a story, this is as good as it gets or should really ever get for a Mega man game. It's not too complex to understand, it really doesn't seem to force you into it, it's just there to create a foundation and underlying meaning for the characters and the actions that take place in the game. I would go as far as relating it to the movie 'Shoot Em Up'. The entire movie is really just a balls to the wall A+ action movie, balanced out with a story just good enough to become a foundation and vehicle strong enough to support the showcased action. This is exactly what they did in Mega man X2, and it really does work for this type of game.
By the way, if you haven't seen Shoot Em Up, go to your nearest Blockbuster and pick it up. It's damn good.
The controls for this game, much like the previous Mega man titles before it are tight and responsive. If you screw up in this game, it is your own fault, not the controls, not the game, it is your own fault, period. To shoot in this game you simply press the Y button, to jump you use the B, the start button brings up the menu, and the A button is used for dashing, but personally I like to map dashing out to the R shoulder button, because rolling my thumb backwards to use it is kind of annoying. As for the default L and R buttons, they're just there for selecting weapons anyways, so mapping dash to R isn't going to kill you in the long haul.
Since Mega man 4, the franchise has allowed you to charge your gun, and X2 is no exception. You can hold down the Y button to charge up, and when you release the button you will unleash one enormous blast from your buster arm. Later on in the game when you acquire the armor upgrade for your arm you will be able to unleash 2 blasts as well as unlocking secondary blast based attacks for your stolen powers. The first blast will discharge when you take your finger off of the Y button, and the second will follow when and if you decide to hit the Y button again.
You can also dash jump by pressing the dash button and the jump button simultaneously or semi simultaneously (dash then jump). To beat this game you will need to master this technique because sometimes the regular jumps just won't cut the mustard. Wall grappling also throws itself into this game, and it really is a welcome comeback from the original X game. To wall grapple you jump on to a close by wall while holding the d pad in the correct direction of the wall while rapidly hitting the jump button. You can also slide down walls in this fashion by jumping and holding the d pad to the direction of the wall.
There really are too many great things about this game to hit on, but I'll try my best. First of all it's a Mega man game, that should explain a lot in the department of quality.
The levels and the bosses are designed very well. Very rarely does the task of taking on multiple levels and bosses get repetitive. Every level and every boss has a different feel and vibe from the last place you've been.
To reiterate what I touched on earlier, I just have to throw out another bone to the tight controls. When it comes to the first 3 Mega man X games, the controls and the general feel of being Mega man has always brought me a lot of enjoyment, so much that the controls really are my favorite part about the X franchise. Whenever I think about revisiting the old X classics it is always because of this total engrossing vibe that they bring me into. For an action based shooter platformer, there really are no controls better then the X series in my honest opinion.
The upgrades and new powers really are exciting and rewarding to gain as well. I just love gaining new abilities in this game, I can sit there for literally hours on end just messing around and trying new things out with the different gained powers. They are all totally varied, and they really do help keep the game fresh.
Well I can't really say anything is really bad per se, but I will say that the game doesn't live up to the original X game. The music in Mega man X was a lot more memorable, there really was no apparent update graphically from X besides using a new pseudo 3d effects chip, and to be brutally honest it is just the same old same old. Although X was a better overall game, X2 is still definitely worth purchasing or 'obtaining' if you were a fan of the first.
I know that it may seem like I've been blanketing all of X2 with the Mega man franchise as a whole, but I just cannot label or review X2 alone without referencing the entire franchises great evolution in quality. Mega man X2 was a solid sequel in the Mega man X franchise and even though it may just follow the same trail as the previous installment, it shouldn't be forgotten. The game was damn fun, and it brought a few things to the table that would help further the evolution of Mega man.