Hybrid is an online-only third person shooter with a twist. The game focuses heavily on it's cover system, requiring players to switch between cover to get around the environment. There's no ability to walk, and that might sound bazaar, but it seems to work. Developer 5th Cell have tried to offer something unique to the shooting genre, and Hybrid sure delivers.
There's no single-player component here. Hybrid is all about competitive multiplayer, but it does have a small backstory. Once you first boot up the game, you'll be shown a small intro. Simply put, the game takes place in the year 2031. Two factions are at war, fighting over an unknown resource called
Dark Matter. It's nothing original, nor is it that interesting, but it's the online matches what make Hybrid intriguing.
Before jumping into an online match, you will be given a brief tutorial. It teaches you all the basics, and it gives you a taste of what to expect online. The first thing you will notice is the lack of movement. As I mentioned at the top, Hybrid is all about it's cover system. You cannot walk around the maps. Instead, you must fly to cover with your jetpack. To do so, you simply aim at a cover-point, then tap A button to fly there. This on-the-rails structure might seem off-putting to some, but you do have more control than you realise. Whilst in mid-air you can shoot at any angle, retreat to your last cover position, and even select a new cover-point. It can take a little while to get used to, but it's fun once you do. The controls are very intuitive, and the 60 fps help keep it at a smooth pace.
Once in cover, you can move along it, vault over, and even blind fire. Staying in cover is one of your best friends, but everyone needs to fly at some point. The level design on each map is very well made. Cover-points are not only placed on ground level, but on the side of walls, and even on the ceiling. This offers some great flanking positions, and it keeps everyone moving. Each match only consists of 3v3, but it always seems fast and frantic.
When you first login to Hybrid, you are given a choice between the two factions. Once you have picked your side, you are sent to the consistent world map. From here, you can see an overview of the current stats, and which factions are currently ruling each continent and district. When a faction reaches 100%, they have claimed that area, and are rewarded with two Dark Matter. This leaves the remaining faction with one Dark Matter. The first faction to reach 100 Dark Matter wins the season. This then resets the world map, and you start again, but your stats are all saved. It's an interesting idea, and it keeps you coming back to see how the map has changed.
Once you have selected an area on the map, you are given a selection of game modes. There's
Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and King of the Hill. These game types are nothing new to shooters, but they are interesting to play with the limitations of moving freely.
One of the biggest draws to Hybrid is it's levelling up and customisation. Like nearly every online shooter today, Hybrid rewards you with xp for kills and completing objectives. There's a variety of weapons and equipment to unlock as you rank up. From assault rifles, sniper rifles, shotguns, and more. You can also customise your character with new gear, like helmets, armour, etc. It's nothing particularly deep, but it's enough to keep you coming back for more. I found the levelling up very addictive, and the option to select your own bonus missions is a neat feature.
The game also has a kill streak system. Your first kill earns you a small drone. This will fly around and try to protect you, but it's very weak. If you receive another two kills, you will earn a much stronger drone called the Warbringer. If you manage to get five kills in a row, you will get the Preyon. This is unstoppable, and it will fly in and kill any nearby enemy.
Hybrid will certainly feel off-putting to some. The lack of movement will not be to everyone's taste. With that said, Hybrid is a unique and enjoyable online shooter. For those who want to experience something new and fresh, Hybrid will certainly satisfy. It looks great, it plays great, and there's enough to keep
you coming back. Hybrid is without doubt, one of the best titles from this year's Summer of Arcade line-up.