When 5th Cell were deciding what to name their new game I think they went the literal approach and named it something that most certainly embodies what it is. Hybrid is just that; a hybrid 3rd person shooter, that takes the conventional shooter genre and eschews it completely. If you thought you knew what it was to be light on your feet, you haven’t seen anything yet.
When you first start up Hybrid, you’ll be asked to choose which faction you want to join, the Paladins or Variants. See, there’s a war going on between these two to decide who will control the Dark Matter extraction sites scattered throughout the world. After choosing the continent that you want to fight on, you then choose a district. Each district holds a Dark Matter extraction site and getting there first will score your faction double the amount of Dark Matter than the other team. Once a team reaches 100 Dark Matter, fighting is closed and a new season starts.
Where Hybrid really shines is in the action. Each game is a 3v3 match and there are several game modes to choose between such as the general Team Deathmatch mode and Artifact, a mode that has you play keep away from the other team for a period of time to win the match. The maps are very small and you’ll move between cover spots constantly. In Hybrid there is not the conventional sense of movement. It is instead replaced by a jet pack. Aiming at the cover you want to move to and pressing a button will have you lift off the ground and fly towards it. Other than being able to strafe left and right or use a short speed burst, moving is autonomous. The same is said for when you are in cover as well. You can vault to the other side of the cover you’re hiding behind and strafe back and forth, but otherwise you’re stuck there until you choose a new cover point.
You’ll start each match with the loadout screen. There you’ll be choosing which weapon, ability, and specialization to bring into battle. You’ll also be able to see the loadout that your teammates make as well, giving you the opportunity to coordinate you’re strengths. The abilities bring a decent amount of variety to the game, enough that it will be memorable in the future. You can choose between abilities that siphon the health out of enemies as you hit them, heal your teammates, or increase your defense for a certain period of time, among others. Further allowing you to customize your loadout to your play style is the option to change your specialization. These are passive abilities that can increase your weapon damage, that of your mechs, or increase the amount of experience you earn. Kill streaks make an appearance as well. After 1, 3, and 5 kills you’re rewarded with different sentry mechs that grow in firepower, the last of which is a one hit killer.
Unfortunately, the game is only good if you get to play it. Herein lies the issue with Hybrid; it has ridiculously long wait times before a match starts. After choosing to start a match, I would often wait 5 or more minutes only to be kicked from the server just as the lobby is filled. Considering how quickly the actual matches end, I spent at least as much time waiting for a match as I did actually playing one. This is the largest downfall of Hybrid and it is a big one. Regardless of how fun or innovative the gameplay is it means zip if you can’t actually experience it.
The Bottom Line: While Hybrid is a step in the right direction and does present some new ideas to rejuvenate the stagnant shooter genre, it lacks the polish to make it great. While some customization options are available, it all seems a bit shallow when you take into account how quickly any weapon kills. Also, considering how short the matches are and how small the teams are, you would think there would be a lot less time spent waiting.
Nizulo scores this 6/10