Numerous additions to the game included the ability to choose your destination, leave diaries of your travels, and move around the various towns you visited. The player could at any time, as in the previous game, go hunting to add to their food supplies, provided they had a weapon and the ammo for it. Hunting involved a minigame where the player shot until they ran out of a box of ammunition. The player could use a pistol, shotgun, or rifle. If your wagon met a river, you would choose to either ford it or float over it, this would begin an animation of the wagon moving across, hopefully successfully.
The game carried over the elements of disease, profession, and inventory management that were present in the earlier games.
The player could travel to various locations including:
- Sacramento, California
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Willamette valley, Oregon
Each trip had a different route and obstacles to avoid, Sacramento for example, required you to cross a large desert, with little water, or animals for hunting, Some areas required the completetion of a rafting minigame in order to reach a settlement.
The trails would change depending on the time of year or date. Games occuring in the late 19th century, allowed you to use steamboats to cross rivers, and gave you access to bigger towns. In winter, hunting was harder to do, and rivers were frozen over.
Oregon Trail II introduced the use of photographic images of people and animals to create areas of the game. A series of photos were taken of someone doing an action, and then they were played in order to create an animated effect. When they talked, the characters in the game had mouths that moved , but nothing else did. Animals would slide across the screen while hunting, making jerky walking movements. Backgrounds in the game were often illustrated in a very detailed way.