(5th Cell/Microsoft Studios for XBLA)
By Mike Delano
The story behind Hybrid makes it seems like a game destined for failure. The developers at 5th Cell, known mainly for the Scribblenauts series on Nintendo DS, are trying their hand at an online multiplayer-only shooter, aimed squarely at the hardcore Xbox Live audience? And they’re doing it with a brand new, non-military shooter IP? Say what?! Incredibly, though, it works, and works well.
The game takes place in a futuristic world where opposing factions are competing for resources, blasting away at each other from cover in a third-person viewpoint. The sleek presentation recalls the multiplayer that never was in 2010’s Vanquish, and the gameplay has a hook: Instead of running around a battlefield, your character uses a jetpack to boost from cover point to cover point, making for an interesting, more deliberate experience. The weapons feel good and varied, unlocks occur at a fairly good clip as you engage in TDM and objective-based matches, and the augmented firepower you receive after just one kill (a blessing for those of us who are rarely on a killstreak) is a nice perk. Hybrid is the type of game you just can’t resist jumping into when you see it on your dashboard, even if you were planning on playing something else.