As part of or Co-Optimus remit we are sometimes asked to review games that contain no co-operation at all, hence our Beyond Co-Op reviews. As a gamer I often play single player games, so reviewing them is rarely a chore. That is unless you ask me to review a game that can be considered the antithesis of co-op - an online multiplayer shooter. Hybrid is a game that wraps up all the elements I dislike about versus gaming and plops them into 1200 MSPs of easy downloadable game.
Hybrid's paper thin plot surrounds an invasion of a future Earth. Once you have that out of the way you are basically being asked to take part in a series of 3 vs. 3 arena battles. On a positive note Hybrid manages to mimic some of the best Modern Warfare style RPG-lite elements and has even built on them. By playing the game and gaining experience you unlock new armour, weapons and perks to personalise your character. The bigger concept is that your battle is part of a Meta game. Every fight you partake in will gain vital resources for your side. Over the coming weeks every person who owns the game will battle for Earth itself.
With some decent RPG elements OCD style gamers will be hooked in minutes, but not if they pay attention to the most important thing in any game – the gameplay. Hybrid is possibly one of the most basic shooter of recent years. It harks back to the versus modes of the late 90s. If you are being kind you could argue that the various modes; team deathmatch, capture the flag, zones, are prevalent in modern shooters, but is that a good thing?
Future Robocop and his Mini ED-209
I have to admit that I am not a fan of the Modern Warfare style of versus and Hybrid follows it. Basically you spawn, someone better than you headshots you, and you respawn. Ad infinitum until you throw your controller across the room and pick out a co-op game instead. The empty meat headed gameplay lacks any flourishes at all, only the fly to cover system is remotely original. I cannot stand playing such an openly competitive game. As part of a threesome, teamwork would help, but the short battles, small maps and limited gameplay mean that you rarely get any co-operation going.
In truth, Hybrid is not a game I would choose to play and this is probably reflective of the Co-Optimus audience. Many of us have voluntarily opted out of the versus market because of the racists pre-teens, constant respawns and chaotic gameplay. Fans of something like Modern Warfare may actually like Hybrid, but the limited maps, graphics and lack of originality will soon turn them off anyway. Hybrid is a game that should only be tried by those gamers who want to refresh themselves as to why they stopped playing online versus in the first place.
Editor's Note: This review is based on the XBLA version of Hybrid with a code supplied by the publisher.