Inazuma Eleven 2 takes place shortly after the events of Inazuma Eleven, where goalkeeper Mark Evans' Raimon Eleven are the youth football champions of Japan, after having beaten Zeus Academy in the Football Frontier.
Preparations to begin a new season are interrupted by the invasion of Alius Academy, a superhuman football team composed of aliens who seek to destroy Japan through football superiority. As the newly-crowned champions, Mark and the Raimon Eleven must travel across Japan to find the best footballing kids in the country, and build a team to challenge this threat and discover their mysteries.
Inazuma Eleven 2 has two main views - the map view and the match view. The map view offers a top-down view similar to traditional16-bit JRPGs, where your characters walk around city and landscape environments to interact with NPCs, item shops, and hidden chests. From this view, players find random and scripted battle encounters, which are real-time soccer matches.
In random battles, four of the player's characters face off with four AI characters in a short match to achieve some kind of soccer objective, such as "score the first goal," "gain possession of the ball," or "do not lose possession." If the player is successful within the time limit, Experience Points and Friendship Points are awarded. If the player is not successful, they will lose a small amount of Experience and Friendship Points. Experience Points accumulate to grant player levels and abilities, Friendship Points can be used to recruit new team members or increase the stats of existing team members.
Scripted story battles (and battles played in the Extra Competition Route challenge mode) are full 11-on-11 soccer matches played over two 30-in-game-minute halves, and take about ten real-world minutes to complete.
In battle, the football pitch is displayed on the bottom screen of the Nintendo DS system, and the top screen is reserved for the game clock and score line. All of the player control in matches is handled using the touch screen, where the player can draw a line originating from a teammate to make them run in that direction. Tapping the touchscreen will initiate a pass or shot. When a teammate on the player's team gets close to an opposing teammate, the action will pause and the player will choose between tackle or slide (if defending), or dash and feint (if attacking). Individual teammate stats and the player selection will determine who gains control of the ball. The player can also choose for their teammate to execute a special move which consumes TP (Technical Points), and has a higher probability of gaining or retaining possession. Special moves are available for dribbling, tackling, shooting, shot blocking, and goal keeping. Success of special moves is determined by the opposing teammate's FP (Form Points), as well as the relevant player statistic.