’Scuse me, but I gotta save New York from aliens

Aliens apparently love to attack New York City, so the Crysis franchise has schlepped its first-person-shooter sequel to the Big Apple.

Crysis 2

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Genre: Shooter; Publisher: EA Games

ESRB Rating: M, for Mature

Grade: 4 stars (out of 5)

Aliens apparently love to attack New York City, so the Crysis franchise has schlepped its first-person-shooter sequel to the Big Apple. In leaving its more interesting jungle confines for the concrete jungle circa 2023, Crysis 2 might feel like a copout — if it weren’t so darned much fun.

The first-person-shooter genre is continually getting more crowded, but this franchise offers a nice feature — the nanosuit.

With its cloaking abilities, enhanced armor feature and a few other goodies, the suit made Crysis a standout game on the PC back in 2007.

Mix the nanosuit’s features with Crysis 2’s open combat areas, and gamers get myriad tactical options, from stealth and assassinate to all-out run-and-gun.

Players can expect at least 10 hours of action in the main campaign, and after that, plenty more in the online multiplayer mode, where some nice new perks await.

The artificial intelligence is rather dumb in campaign mode, which is disappointing, but online gamers get a bevy of well-trained soldiers to battle. The nanosuit in multiplayer opens up lots of twists and turns.

Crysis 2 may not offer the exquisite greatness of the original, but with its gorgeous visuals it’s a solid sequel that compares well to other first-person shooters.

Homefront

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

Genre: Shooter; Publisher: THQ

ESRB Rating: M, for Mature

Grade: 3 stars

Now here’s something you don’t see every day — a fantastic story that lacks action-packed excitement.

Set in 2026, Homefront creates an eerie and mildly plausible future in which the United States, with its deteriorating military and fragile economy, is overtaken by a unified Korea.

Between the well-done introductory montage and collectable newspaper clippings scattered liberally throughout the game, you can really feel this rich story come to life.

Despite the game’s lush background, the action doesn’t deliver. The gameplay is a mix of styles seemingly taken from other games.

None of it’s done poorly, but none of it lasts long enough to make an impression.

In online multiplayer mode, Homefront seems to have taken “best of” snapshots of other first-person shooters and blended them together.

But it does have one nice feature — the ability to spend points earned in matches on tanks, drones and fancier weaponry other games lack.

Homefront could have been so much more had the campaign lived up to its interestingly woven narrative.

Giving us a compelling story is wonderful, but it’s not enough to just stick a gun in your hand and point you toward reclaiming your nation.

Follow Chris Campbell at twitter.com/campbler or e-mail him at game—on—games@mac.com.

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