Deftly blending tried-and-true mechanics with a brand-new way to move, Hybrid is a fresh, exciting shooter.

Just when you thought you'd had your fill of third-person shooters with cover mechanics, along comes Hybrid to show you something new. It may not be immediately apparent, given the generic sci-fi setting and fairly standard arsenal, but the innovations here are significant. Hybrid fundamentally reimagines the way you move through the world, and the result is a battlefield that feels exciting and novel.

It's all in the movement. In Hybrid, you are either in cover or flying between cover. There is no freedom to run around, no going off into a corner to find a perfect sniper perch--these maps are built around cover hotspots located on the floor, the walls, and the ceilings. The only places you and your enemies can physically be are in cover or in the air, traveling to cover. You're essentially traveling on wires between fixed positions, and you rarely have more than two visible destinations at any time.

This may sound limiting, but like with any well-designed gameplay mechanic, there is room for flexibility. To travel, simply look at a cover position and tap the A button. You will automatically jetpack to your destination, but your flight path is not a fixed trajectory. Using the left stick, you can climb, dive, strafe, and swoop as you progress steadily forward. You can quicken your pace by boosting, or reverse direction and head back to your point of departure. You can even change course by selecting another cover point midair, which allows you to stay airborne longer and quickly traverse sizable sections of the stage. Just like that, your on-rails transit between points is not so on-rails, and you've got room for strategic maneuvering.

You also have the right analog stick and trigger free for gunplay. Whether you're targeting entrenched enemies or flying foes, your arsenal provides a familiar framework for combat, offering shotguns, rifles, SMGs, machine guns, heavy pistols, and so on. They are effective in the usual ways, and are fun to pair with the novel movement mechanic. A close-quarters shotgun blast always packs a punch, but if you've zoomed in low to surprise your enemy, or lain in wait as an incoming foe peppers you with fire from above, that powerful shot is all the more satisfying.

Kill successfully, and you are rewarded with a robotic ally. One kill gets you a little hover drone that provides close fire support and can serve as a helpful decoy. Three kills earns you a bulky gunship that flies lazily around the map, firing on enemies and serving as an impromptu mobile shield. Tally five kills, and you can unleash a homing missile that takes the form of a flying, shrieking, holographic lady ninja.

These drones can all be helpful and deadly, or they can be easily destroyed and contribute to your enemies' kill streaks. Figuring out when to best deploy them is an interesting tactical consideration. You can have one of each stored for deployment, and unleashing a host of drones as you approach an enemy position is a good way to tip the odds in your favor. Drones emit a burst of light when created, which means they can give away your position, but they also persist after your death, potentially earning you kills from beyond the grave. The fact that they are awarded at such low thresholds makes these kill streak rewards an integral part of regular gameplay, rather than occasional anomalies that disrupt the flow of combat.

Things get even more interesting when you factor in abilities. These powers operate on a cooldown timer, and you can equip only one at a time, but the sheer diversity makes for a lot of possibilities. Grenades come in many varieties, including deadly explosives, disorienting flares, and a sinister little number that instantly converts enemy drones to your side, making them fire on their owners. There are also ammo enhancements (like poison and health siphon), defensive aids (like an overshield and a grenade defuser), and team support powers (like a radar sweep and an ability recharge).

Certain abilities even let you self-destruct, destroying any nearby enemy, or instantly teleport to cover to get the drop on unsuspecting foes. Though the latter can be tough to defend against, most abilities have some kind of counter-ability to help balance things out. On top of all that, you can choose a specialization, which can offer a passive boost to experience gain, weapon damage, drone strength, and so on. You select only three elements for your loadout when entering battle, but the variety of weapons, abilities, and specializations creates an impressive array of ways to play. Hybrid's battlefields feel lively, deadly, and full of opportunity for experimenting with new strategies.

The deadly dance begins anew.

Matches consist of three-on-three battles in a variety of game types, though team deathmatch is far and away the most prevalent. There are two versions of king of the hill, a mode in which you must capture and hold onto an artifact, a bomb-based mode with no respawning, and a mode that focuses on individual kill streaks. You earn experience points for dispatching enemies and meeting a particular mission goal, and these points increase your level and earn you unlocks in the armory. Guns, abilities, and cosmetic helmets await, and if you're impatient you can purchase credits with Microsoft points to unlock items faster. Everything can be unlocked over time, and you earn unlocks for weapon categories, not specific weapons. This means that anyone can have any weapon fairly early on, so the pay scheme doesn't appear to have an unbalancing effect on the game.

All of your skirmishes contribute to your faction's progress on a persistent world map. You choose Variant (red) or Paladin (blue) before you get into the action, and you are pretty much stuck with that faction for the duration (though you can switch once per world cycle and not lose any personal progress). The only story tidbit you get is that there is dark matter and both teams want it, and your influence on the world map is hard to discern. You fight in various regions across the globe, though as the game points out, the region you choose in-game does not correspond to a server region. Though Hybrid suffered serious network issues on launch day, it runs smoothly as of this review, despite some occasionally sluggish matchmaking.

This is crucial because Hybrid is online multiplayer only. It does only one thing, but it does that thing really well. Hybrid subverts one of the core mechanics of this popular genre, while skillfully implementing many of the elements that have made its predecessors so addictive and successful. The result is an enjoyable blend of the new and the familiar that makes Hybrid something special on the shooter scene.

The Good
Intriguing twist on traditional movement mechanics
Great array of strategic loadout options
Flexible unlock system
The Bad
Uninteresting setting
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Chris enjoys aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent.

Discussion

0 comments
shadgrindk
shadgrindk

The worst 3d shooter concepts of all time:

1.) Bullet-time

2.) around the corner combat

 

The 2nd one is all I see in these videos.  Whichever game started this crap is one I'll hate forever.  It adds nothing of value to the experience, but instead give one a cheap and boring way to fight.  I will not buy this game or any other that has this wall hugging garbage.

da2g
da2g

just another boring shooter

you_aint_Z
you_aint_Z

Ill have to give this game a try.

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

It's pretty fun, actually. Played the trial and had tons of fun with it. 

LeMeAtOm
LeMeAtOm

I'd go as far as to call this a variation of risk, the strategy game, built upon 3 on 3 skirmishes which allow you to have an element of say in the fate of the dice.  Its a mechanic that works very well, and keeps you gripped in an "oh just one more go" kind of way. Something that i haven't said about a game in a long time.

bmart970
bmart970

Had  the beta, liked it, then got bored in like an hour.

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

It sounds like compelling shooting with a chess style strategic movement. I'm interested. Wish I didn't have so much game to play.

Joeguy00
Joeguy00

The game isn't working right now lol, the Always Online requirement pulled a Diablo and denies any use of the game as the servers aren't working just for the moment.

 

Freboy
Freboy

I think the moving mechanic sounds very appealing. Since you are automatically flying towards a set piece of cover, you can focus on aiming and firing instead of moving.

That was a slight problem in Vanquish, for example. Kudos on creativity for 5th cell.

howie1926
howie1926

For all of you who think this looks boring, I thought the same thing until I bought it. It is actually a very intense shooter. Quite enjoyable.

chilipepperman
chilipepperman

looks ok, it just seems like it would be hard to get into

anime-2k3
anime-2k3

Hopefully we get a PC release. 

 

unrealtron
unrealtron

The video killed any interest I had in the game.

EliOli
EliOli

The video looked incredibly boring to me. Not something I think I would enjoy at all.

JIMDOG4442002
JIMDOG4442002

Horrible graphics ,as expected from xbox 360

deathstream
deathstream

This isn't that different from what iOS developers are doing with cover-shooters.  It sounds like Hybrid 2 could be a great Kinect 2.0 game.

bfoy
bfoy

When I first played the beta, I thought it was rather bland. I ended up picking it up on a whim hoping it would get better with time and after 4 hours of accumulated play I have definitely noticed a rather deep experience here. The movement at first seems like a gimmick in an otherwise all too familiar shooter, but the more I played it the more involved I found myself. The presentation isn't particularly original, and the weapons and abilities are something you have seen before but the game is so well balanced with the new movement system that it feels fresh.

 

The demo isn't long enough, and most people probably won't chance $15, but if you like strategic shooters and want something a little different from the norm, then Hybrid stands a good chance of winning you over if you give it the time.

 

The experience is also much improved when you are playing with at least one other person in a squad regularly because communicating strategy is essential.

sayoose
sayoose

People like to say LoL

_huh
_huh

I still cannot find an XBLA game that beats Iron Brigade (Trenched - as it was titled when it was first released). 

shantd
shantd

Doesn't seem like there's much depth here. The only sense of progression comes in the form of unlocking new powers and...helmets?

xerxes5678
xerxes5678

Sounded interesting, but lost me on the online-only part.

 

IMO, offline bots are a necessity for MP games on XBLA.

DinoBuster
DinoBuster

I like 5th Cell a lot, but I played the demo for Hybrid and found it to be completely devoid of any kind of personality, which was surprising given the presentation of their other games. I thought some of the mechanics were interesting based on the demo,but I definitley couldn't get into it.

y3ivan
y3ivan

wait a 8? thats a supprise

Atheosis
Atheosis

Tried the demo.  I wasn't impressed.

DemonGoliath
DemonGoliath

Was wondering whether or not the game was good since I wasn't finding any reviews anywhere.

DreamingSora
DreamingSora

 @shadgrindk  Oh cool, I guess that's why

"Wall hugging 3rd Person games" like Gears of War are fucking terrible right?

blackace
blackace

 @da2g 

Coming from someone who hasn't played it.

y3ivan
y3ivan

 @bmart970 good for you, i had a bad experience playing the beta.

ShadowRun02
ShadowRun02

 @anime-2k3 i hope so too, but this game looks like a console exclusive kind of a game

blackace
blackace

 @JIMDOG4442002 

 

This is an XBA game. Graphics aren't the most important thing is these type of games anyway. It looks fine to me considering how cheap the game is. Stop reaching for negativity. Makes you look like a bias fanboy. Oohh..ok...

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

 @_huh Shadow Complex is pretty great. Same with Battlefield 1943, Trials, etc. 

y3ivan
y3ivan

 @_huh what about toy soldiers series? it did really well.

Ryozo
Ryozo

 @xerxes5678 To this day, I don't think any devleoper has match the implementation of bots back in Perfect Dark... which was, what, two console generations ago?   Every so often I find myself wondering, "why is that?"

 

That aside - which, as you point out, is a valid criticism of many games (not just, I must add, XBLA/PSN titles) - I'm having fun with the game.  Perhaps the only thing I would change is to take a page from Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and have _all_ weapons and abilities usable in the training arena regardless of whether or not you've unlocked them yet.

Ninjatrek
Ninjatrek

 @DinoBuster I felt the demo was boring too, it wasn't enough to get me to buy the game

LeMeAtOm
LeMeAtOm

 @y3ivan from Chris it is anyway lol

 

the game though, is very good I say :)

anigmha
anigmha

 @DemonGoliath  The servers went up after the game was release, not before; therefore the reviewers need time to play it. More reviews will likely come in the coming days.

juboner
juboner

 @blackace why are you defending this game so much, if i feel like playing a shooter which im seriously bored with ben playing them since early 2000's im going to play gow3

surppo
surppo

 @Ryozo ahh perfect left so much hope for the future of multiplayer in games. it seems like cod killed that.  how could a n64 game have bigger maps, more guns, more gadgets, more fun than games 15 years later.

DinoBuster
DinoBuster

 @Ninjatrek Yeah. I'm sure this game will be a good fit for a lot of gamers, but the soulless presentation instantly made me want to nod off. Dust looks pretty promising next week though, and definitley more my kind of game.

DemonGoliath
DemonGoliath

 @Gelugon_baat I don't understand why.  It's part of the Summer of Arcade, so people would at least know about it.

Hybrid (2012) More Info

Follow
  • First Released
    • Xbox 360
    Hybrid is a third-person online multiplayer shooter with a novel movement mechanic that focuses on flight between cover positions.
    7.2
    Average User RatingOut of 44 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Hybrid (2012)
    Developed by:
    5TH Cell
    Published by:
    Microsoft Game Studios
    Genres:
    Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Violence