After making a big splash during its first showing at the 2011 Game Developers Conference, 5th Cell's dizzying cover-centric 3D shooter Hybrid was dragged back behind closed doors in May in order to make sure it was the "highest quality title possible". Let's see what changed the past eight months have wrought.
What's so special about Hybrid? Rather than simply churning out another cookie-cutter cover-based shooter, 5th Cell decided to up the importance of cover to the point where the player is only allowed to jump from one cover point to another. There's no free running, no circle-strafing; just select a cover point and jump there. Switch cover points in mid-jump if you wish, but your destination has to be a cover point.
It's an odd system that impressed our Stephen Totilo rightly enough. I was quite taken myself by the fact that cover points could be on walls or on ceilings, adding a certain 360 degrees of freedom to an otherwise restrictive game.
So what has changed?
For one, players will now fly from cover point to cover point, completely in charge of their own speed and movement while in flight. Players will also be able to engage in combat while in flight, making leaping from cover-to-cover an offensive move as well as a defensive one.
Players will fight matches at locations existing on a persistent online map, a never-ending battle for territorial control shades of Planetside.
The game's visuals have been overhauled as well, with brand-new characters, varied environments, and a tightened interface, delivering blazing-fast 60FPS gameplay at 720p.
Basically they've added a great deal of definition to Hybrid. Combat is more defined. The visuals are more defined. The overall conflict is more defined. Is that enough to define you as a Hybrid player when the game drops this summer on Xbox Live Arcade?