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Creativity comes in the form of an all new way you get around your environment. Instead of traversing around with your feet, in Hybrid, you instead use your jetpack to fly from cover to cover. While flying you can do everything you would want through a simple button press. You can, of course, still shoot enemies with the right trigger but you can also select another cover to fly to while in the air by targeting it and pressing A. This adds a snappy feel to moving from cover to cover and can help you in establishing a certain strategy to navigating levels. Also available at your disposal is the ability to retreat to your last cover by pressing B, just in case you made a bad decision with what cover you wanted to jump to or unless you just want to bail out of your current situation.
5th Cell really perfected the movement in Hybrid in almost every way possible. If I could bring up one issue, it would be that moving while attached to cover can be a bit awkward as the game sometimes doesn’t recognize where you should be and instead just pushes you a few inches away from cover. It’s an odd issue but doesn’t hurt you too bad in the grand scheme of things. That small issue aside, moving around in Hybrid is something entirely new yet it’s something you can get a handle of in minutes. It will feel like you’ve been gliding between cover for years in no time thanks to the simplistic controls.
Something that lends itself really well to the glide control scheme is the map design. Every map in Hybrid is small, something that is necessary since you only have 3 people on each time, and feels a bit similar to old school multiplayer maps as there is always a specific choke point located within it that both teams are fighting to take control over. This leads to some truly exciting battles that can keep you 100 percent focused until the winner or loser emerges. One problem I’ve found in a lot of multiplayer games is that most maps are designed with one game mode in mind, Team Deathmatch. Even if the game itself has multiple modes, they know Team Deathmatch will be the most popular so that’s all they have in mind. That’s not an issue in Hybrid however as, thanks to the choke points and variety of different areas to fight in, you never feel as If the mode you are playing is the 2nd tier mode.
The game modes found within Hybrid do not entirely reflect the creativity found within the game itself. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a load of modes to go through, though as Hybrid gives you six different modes to select from. The modes mostly boil down to your average VIP, Team Deathmatch, or King of the Hill selection. But in the end, the unique gameplay keeps you playing through any and every mode, even if you have seen it before.
I’ve went this entire time without mentioning arguably the most interesting thing about Hybrid and that is the ongoing battle. The idea behind Hybrid’s story is something that could have been explained a bit better than the 1 minute cutscene the game gives you at the beginning but from what I picked up on an unknown species landed on Earth and attempted a takeover. They mostly succeeded but certain humans fought back and eventually a war broke out between the two, and it’s now your choice to choose which species you want to fight with.
You then begin fighting with players who chose the opposite species in a certain area off of a world map. You can choose where you want to fight but throughout the course of the game, hotzone’s begin to emerge and you gain extra XP for fighting there. You capture an area (and take its Dark Matter) by filling up a percentage meter shown at the world map. That meter also shows the opposing teams percentage, which can fuel a fierce battle to take over a certain area, especially if the two percentages are close. This whole idea is a very interesting but very daunting task that doesn’t seem like it achieves its full potential. Even if the full potential isn’t achieved, it’s still exciting to keep track of and even more fun when you know you were an integral part of the takeover of a district.
Apart from the new things Hybrid brings to the table, one need of the multiplayer only genre is to have a solid upgrade and leveling system. Hybrid has that, but doesn’t blow you out of the water with it. The guns themselves never seem too different, unless you’re comparing a shotgun to an assault rifle of course. You unlock different guns by getting the ability to unlock a gun in a certain category (light machine gun, assault rifle, sniper, etc.) through leveling up. You can then use that ability to unlock whatever weapon within that category you desire. While the weapons may not all feel unique, they manage to have a solid kick to them that adds to the combat. But a slight negative comes in the fact that some weapons sound like pure trash. Most of them sound just fine but a select few sound like something I’ve never heard before, and definitely not something recognizable as a gun.
Another thing you achieve through leveling up and attaining upgrades is the capability to unlock more abilities. Abilities are basically strong perks you use in battle. For example, one of the abilities can be used to instantly heal every one of your teammates health while another can be used to increase the amount of damage you must take before dying. The abilities aren’t limited to standard health buffs however, as they also range into attack and defense categories. Such as an ability that lets you use frag grenades (which are much more useful than you may think) and another that voids all nearby grenade effects. The amount of abilities and the variety between all of them can really add to the overall experience as you never know which ability your opponent will be using and no matter what it is, it can hurt you in its own special way.
I’m a guy that has a strong distaste for multiplayer games, such as Call of Duty, Battlefield, Medal of Honor, etc., and going into Hybrid I felt like I was destined to hate it. 5th Cell managed to prove me wrong in every second of their beautiful, fun, and slick creation that is Hybrid. Whether you’re flying around maps, fighting through battle, or just exploring the world map while checking out the slow Paladin takeover I’m leading, there’s no shortage of excitement to be had in Hybrid and for only fifteen dollars, you can’t do much better than that.
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