EXceed 2nd is the complete opposite of the 1st. First, you’re a half vampire trying to prevent your kind from being wiped out by humanity. Second, it’s good instead of being terrible. Finally, they spent the hour or so to use Google translate to localize the subtitles so I can understand the story (I still don't understand the story. I guess I should've read the comic book... I'm sorry Manga.)
The graphics are vastly improved and the soundtrack is still solid. The player’s sprite and enemy bosses have some pretty good looking animation. The bullets are no longer monochromatic blobs. The backgrounds look nice. The run of the mill enemies are still pretty bland, though. Overall it’s a huge improvement from eXceed 1.
The game play is what really stands out. The enemies’ attacks are either light or dark. The player has a ‘polarity’, which means you can absorb one type of bullet to power up while you are vulnerable to the other. The game play is tough without feeling cheap and the difficulty curve is well balanced. Most importantly, you can move diagonally with your gamepads analog stick.
In conclusion, this game is as good as the first one was bad. If you’re only going to play one game in the series (which is what I’d recommend) this is the one.