Hybrid doesn't contain much of a story, and in fact, Hybrid doesn't need much of a storyline to be a success. The game is set in the year 2032 on Earth, but this futuristic setting has set the foundation for an epic world war. After a Hadron Supercollider imploded taking Australia with it, a human-like species known simply as the Variant emerged from the destruction. The Variant quickly grew in power, and now, the only thing standing between the Variant and complete control of the planet is a group of human fighters known as the Paladins. The two sides continue their battle against one another all around the globe fighting for possession of continents that house a newly discovered an powerful element known as Dark Matter. The outcome of the war will be settled in the online multiplayer matches you play over Xbox LIVE with this interesting plot already established.
You may be asking yourself what makes Hybrid so different from other shooters. Well for starters, you don't move yourself around the map per se. Instead, you will take cover and choose a new location to where you will be automatically moved by the game. It's an interesting concept that plays out a lot better than it sounds, and it one of the big reasons Hybrid is such an amazing experience. You will be equipped with a jetpack and other futuristic gear that allow you to fly around maps and even attach yourself to walls and ceilings. You'll be equipped with a primary Weapon from a wide variety of gun types, an Ability which is your typical grenades or other accessory and a Specialization which is similar to perks in other shooters. Loadouts are fully customizable and fun to experiment with throughout different matches.
Hybrid is an amazing game aesthetically; the game runs at a full 60 frames per second with 720p graphics, and the online matches are relatively lag free. Gunfire in the game sounds great, and they actually feel like they're really powerful inducing an adequate kick each time you shoot. The game offers up 3 vs. 3 matches in 6 different games modes that include your typical shooter warfare like Team Deathmatch to 25 kills and King of the Hill and even some other unique modes. You'll also have in-game missions to complete to earn unlockables. Since the game only supports up to 6 players, the 10 maps in the game aren't huge, but they'll provide plenty of action packed scenarios that will have you coming back for more. A brilliant presentation is rounded out with plenty of customizable options for your soldier to ensure your character is truly your own.
Hybrid may seem like just another shooter, but it is far from it. The game offers up plenty of unique twists that will have you playing this title repeatedly for many months. Jetpacking around maps while firing away on enemies is a blast, and even more fun is earning enough kills to unlock special drones and other killstreaks to assist you in combat. Hybrid offers the unmatched gameplay and high level addictiveness you've come to expect from the Summer of Arcade promotion, and it is simply another game that will follow in the footsteps of Scribblenauts as a great game from developer 5th Cell. If you purchase Hybrid, you won't regret it, but you may wonder how in the world Dust: An Elysian Tail can follow this tough act. I guess we'll have to wait until next week to find out, but at least we have a great game like Hybrid to play until then.
Hybrid is now available exclusively on Xbox LIVE Arcade and can be purchased for 1600 Microsoft Points. Hybrid is rated T by the ESRB for Violence. For more information on the game, check out the official Hybrid website.
Developer: 5th Cell
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Available exclusively for Xbox LIVE Arcade
Release Date: August 8, 2012
Score: 9 out of 10