Hybrid isn’t your typical third person shooter, it’s far from it. But it is a first for 5th Cell who are the developers of Scriblenauts. This may be their first title launch on a console, but they’ve been around for a some times and made a name for themselves with the Scriblenauts franchise.
The game opens up with a simple but straight forward narrative, fight the for Dark Matter. A power source and material which will give the winning faction control over the world. Unlike many third person shooters, this time ties you to a set group of rules, such as you can’t leave cover. You move around by highlighting cover and using your jetpack to reach it. This includes walls and ceilings. Though the levels are limited in mobility as you have to navigate your way through the cover walls, you can be a little creative in how you use it. You don’t have to land if you feel that you will have more of an advantage jumping to further cover while in flight. This will allow you some freedom in your movement, but it could cost you a life if you don’t take into account what may happen on the other side of the level where you’re heading.
One drawback to Hybrid is its full multiplayer model. This model has worked in the past for some games, but not all. This can be an extremely risky model to take on as if the community dies the game will slowly lose its active lobbies. Hybrid is a simple game at heart, but it offers a very competitive edge through its world map and stat tracking. You’re all fighting to take control of the regions in the world map.
As you start the game you will be slapped with a heavy hitting beat, which then slowly progresses. This sets the overall tone of the game and high quality audio production. All the sound effects and segments of audio from the menus, selection screens and so on are also very well done. The only down side to the audio in this title is the lack of music. The music it does have is very well done, but it lacks a full soundtrack. You will hear the same music looping a lot while playing, with the same tracks playing in the menus.
The music is very well suited to the game, and the production value is there. But I would have liked to see more from the music, even though half the time it’s drowned out by the sounds of gunfire and your jetpack and drones.
The game’s overall graphic style is very clean and suites the style of the game. The graphics and visuals may not be the best on the console, but they work well with the games presentation. The art direction behind this game is well done, and with the speed that the battles take place. The choice of art style may be bland compared to some games, but it compliments the way the game is played. If the visual style were to be extremely high in detail it may slow down the gameplay and lose from of the games fast paced style.
Even though the graphics may not be the most detailed you’ve seen. They’re all very high quality with no sign of low res textures and horrible texture pop. The levels are also very detailed with lots of surrounding elements to give the areas life.
The story for the game is fairly basic, there is a source of power that two factions are fighting over to gain power. You will need to join a side, then fight for possession of the dark matter. From here you’re then ranked by completing various game modes and winning around the world map.
This is a fairly watered down story, but as the whole experience is based around you fighting the enemy for possession, just a slight introduction of what’s going on allows you to focus on the combat and not worry about wasting hours to find out what’s really going on. The game’s story is fairly shallow, but with this being a full multiplayer experience, just having a small back story makes a huge difference to what’s going on. Rather than just fighting random enemies for no reason.
This is much like every other third person shooter, but there are various twists and techniques which you will need to master to become a dominating player. Unlike most shooters, this is a cover-to-cover shooter, so you won’t find yourself running around and sneaking up on your enemies while they’re not paying attention. You also don’t have a flat playing field, there are various areas on walls and ceilings which you can take advantage of which changes the prospective of the fight. So you can’t always just look straight forward and expect the enemy team to be in front of you, they could be above you, or even on the walls.
With these additions to combat stance, you’re also rewarded with drones for kill streaks. As the game is only two teams of three players, your drones can pick up the slack and stand in and act the roll of extra players. Earning these drones require you to get kill streaks, so not everyone will be rewarded with straight away.
The gameplay is fluid, with intuitive controls. But you will always be faced with a challenge due to the learning curve required to play. Once you master the cover-to-cover jumping and how to navigate, you will soon master various other techniques such as cover jumping to stay in the air, or using your retreat and cover options to avoid enemy fire.
When you start the game you’re introduced to a very short tutorial, so you’re not left in the dark from the get go, but these tutorials don’t really teach you how to fight other players, just drones and the basic controls to navigate and stay alive.
There are several different game modes which vary from team deathmatch, king of the hill and capture the flag. These are variants on the original game modes found in most games, but with the typical hybrid twist. There is quite a variety of maps, but they’re user voted, so don’t expect to see different maps on a regular basis as it’s down to the other 5 players you’re playing with.
If you’re looking for a multiplayer game this summer that is fast paced, full of action and slightly different with a fresh take on the third person shooter, then Hybrid will be right up your street. It may take some time to adjust to this cover shooter, but once you master the techniques the game has to offer, you will enjoy this title for hours.
This title obviously isn’t for everyone, and if you live in an area where your internet connection suffers, this title may be one you need to pass up on. There are also times where you won’t be able to pass the titles title screen if there are server issues.
Hybrid comes in with quite a high price, but you get a lot of replay value for your money. If you’re an avid multiplayer gamer, then this is a must play title. It’s something slightly different and well worth the experience.