E3 2012: Hybrid (hands on)

by: Chuck -
Hybrid is one of those games that is hard to understand until you play it.  I'm going to give it a try (Nathan did as well) but honestly playing the game or a demo of the game is the best way to get a handle on the game's core concept.

The easy to understand  part of Hybrid is that it's a cover based third party shooter.  As you progress through the game you'll unlock new weapons, gear, and abilities that will change how you play the game.  The game features your standard variety of weapons with a few extra things tossed in for personality.  As you progress through the game you can earn rewards for kill streaks which translate into robotic helpers that follow you around or seek out other players to kill. 

The different part of Hybrid comes in that you don't directly control the movement of your soldier, rather you select a node you want to move to, click the A button and your solider moves there automatically freeing you to shoot other players and droids as you move along the path.  You're not stuck into the route though as you can head back to your starting point by hitting the B button or select another node and pressing the A-button.  You can get a short burst of speed by pushing down on the thumbstick if you need to get there in a hurry.  Once you reach a node you are automatically placed in cover where you can stay or continue on. 

I know that sounds a bit odd but after playing the game and getting used to the mechanic I was shocked at how much fun I was having.  You can pivot completely around and shoot people behind you as you fly.  The ability to change direction quickly means that you can make sudden moves without too much effort.  This is the key part of the game as you don't want to always move in straight lines as it makes you very easy to kill.   The lack of direct movement control takes some getting used to but once it clicks with you the game is a blast. 

Outside of the shooting mechanic the game features the ability to completely customize your character with parts and pieces that you earn playing the game.  There's a vast array of armor and weapons that will allow you to tune your character in a lean, mean killing machine. 

The game will launch later this summer with 10 maps and six game modes.  The game even features a persistent meta game where the two sides of the game (Paladins and Variants) will vie for control of various sectors of the world.    While I enjoyed the game tremendously I do wonder how the folks at 5th Cell are going to get people past the odd movement mechanic and into this wonderful little game.  

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