Hybrid is an downloadable multiplayer third-person shooter that’s just been released on the Xbox Live Arcade.
When you start the hour-long demo, you get a choice of which side to play as: Paladins (Humans) or Valiants (aliens). To keep the sides balanced there might be a bonus for joining one particular side.
Once you have chosen, you’re given a quick tutorial to play through. Whilst the game looks like your normal run of the mill third-person shooter, there is a difference you notice very quickly. You can only get from cover to cover by flying, using your jet pack. I am sure that eventually the novelty will rub off but whilst playing the demo it was awesome. Walking is very limited in this game, it can feel very strange and restrictive at first but after a while you will be flying with the best of them. If you do find the controls a bit awkward to start off with just stick with it as best as you can, I know it can be frustrating at first but after a while you do get used to it.
One feature I found to be very handy in the heat of battle is the ability to retreat (Yes I know I am a wimp). When in cover, if the battle becomes to much for you, hit the B button. This causes you zip back to the previous cover you were in, allowing for a quick and easy escape. This however can only be used once until you advance again, so there’s no unlimited retreating.
I would advise whilst online not to just go around flying on your jet pack with no idea where the enemy is. In mid flight I did find myself to be a very easy target for someone who is in cover. No matter how tempting it is just to fly around on that shiny new jet pack make sure that you use it responsibly.
The matches are 3 vs 3, which I have to say I did enjoy. I find with some games having a huge amount of players, the maps tend to get clogged up and there is nowhere you can go without getting blasted to pieces. The maps are the right size for a 3 vs 3. It gives you the chance to have a good intense match but also give you a bit of time to catch your breath.
One problem I have found is that it can sometimes be tricky to find a game. This might be because the game is new so it might be a temporary problem, but I do hope that this is something that gets sorted out sooner rather than later and a decent community starts to build itself up.
There are a variety of different game modes available but nothing too out of the ordinary. As with most shooters whichever team is getting the most kills in any game mode will most likely win the match. Or in this case it could be whichever team has the most jet pack fuel.
This game is nothing outstanding but it is different, and being different especially in gaming is not a bad thing. I would recommend you check this demo out. Who can resist the opportunity to play around with jetpacks?
Thanks again to Ash for a great article!
This is a touchy topic to bring up, but I think it is something that needs to be discussed. Fan involvement in the development process of a game or series. I think most people are going to have strong opinions on this one, so lets hope this all goes well. On we roll then.
The most recent issue with fan involvement is with the new Devil May Cry game, and specifically about Dante’s new look. Fans of the series almost see the change of Dante as a betrayal, some have even said they will not play the new game because of the changes that have been made. I am a fan of the series but I have to say I do not agree. I think that these people will be missing out on a great game just because they don’t agree with how one of the characters looks.
In this instance we have seen Capcom stay strong and they have not given into the fans. Capcom are not really known for being the most flexible company, but look at the Megaman issue with Marvel Vs Capcom 3.
There are however instances where a developer has caved in to fan pressure. One recent example of this is the highly controversial Mass Effect 3 ending. The fans were not happy with the endings that they had been given, so Bioware went away, added more to the ending and then released it as free DLC. All in all this was the correct decision to make and it still did not please everybody. Having said that, at least they showed that they are willing to work with the fans instead of against them.
Developers have to find the right balance of giving the fans what they want and also sticking with the decisions they have made. If they just give into fans all of the time, this gives out the statement that they do not believe in any of the decisions that they have made and that they don’t have faith in their own game. On the other hand, if they just ignore fans, the game could then prove to be unpopular. After all, these games are supposed to be made for the fans so they’ll part with their hard earned cash.
You’ll probably hate me for saying this, but sometimes I think fans need to back off a little and let the developers do their jobs. We shouldn’t let them get away with everything, that is not the right way to go, but when they make small changes to a game like the appearance of a character just let it go. Sometimes, the more fans push a development team the more they will push back, then it leaves everyone with a game that no one is happy with. If big changes are made that are bad for the series then yes by all means tell the developers what you think, but some of the smaller issues just need to be let go.
So all in all I think the right balance needs to be found, if the developer goes fully one way in the end the finished product might not live up to its full potential.
What do you think, how much control should fans have in the development of a game? Leave your comments below.
Well I think it is safe to say no one saw this one coming.
This is all speculation at the moment, but Kotaku have reported that the next title in the series could be a “cartoony, mechanically-novel and possibly multiplayer-oriented 3D action game for consoles”.
It seems like they are going for a ‘Team Fortress 2′ style game, and with TF2′s success, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea. But it’s still a strange move to take the series there in the first place.
What do you think about this move for the series? Do you think it’s good or bad?
Big thanks to Ash for this article. Don’t forget to check out his site Game Clock!
Recently I have been playing through a few retro games including the likes of Sonic, Mario and the Legend Of Zelda. This got me wondering, with the recent torrent of new blockbuster titles, do their polished graphics really make that much of a difference? Can a game with sub-par graphics ruin someone’s experience?
This is all down to personal opinion (Yes I am beating that old horse again). Personally, what a game looks like is not a big deal. To me, if the gameplay is engaging and there is an interesting and immersive story line, I’m sold. Then again I have a friend who is really put off by a game if it does not have top of the range graphics and it will be a hard time persuading him to play the game if this isn’t the case.
Answering the original question, if a game has bad graphics and does not look the best it could, it doesn’t mean the gamer is getting a bad experience. Most of the titles from earlier generations were not the best to look at, but some of the games on those consoles defined a generation, examples such as Silent hill, Mario 64 and Halo. These games are clearly not up to the polished standard of today’s releases and lets be fair, at the time did not look amazing, yet they have all gone on to spawn huge franchises.
Some people may argue that if a game does not look good it can ruin the experience for a gamer, and to a degree this is true. Having said that, I know I would much prefer a game that looked like the back end of a cow but featured amazing gameplay instead of an amazing looking game that played awful. When bad looking games were all that we had we still had a jolly good time playing them and why should that change now. Some indie games are great fun to play, but because they do not have a huge budget behind them they don’t look as good. Therefore they have to keep the players engaged by giving them a unique gameplay experience. So sometimes by having bad graphics the game can actually turn out to be better.
What do you think, do bad graphics ruin a game? Leave a comment below with your thoughts, and don’t forget to like us on Facebook!
Big thanks to Ash over at Game Clock for this review. Great article, be sure to visit his site!
This is a demo release I have personally been waiting for. I mean its giant fighting robots in space, what’s not to love?
Most demos that are released these days are little more than multiplayer beta tests, or a single level that reveals hardly anything about the actual game. Not so with the trial of High Moon Studios ‘The Fall Of Cybertron’. This is a demo that carries a bit of weight behind it, and it gives us the chance to play through some of the multiplayer and two full game levels.
Before we get any further into discussing the demo, I would like to tell you all my one big disappointment. You don’t get to play as Optimus Prime. The character the player does get to control is Bumble Bee. I have nothing against Bumble Bee, but Mr Prime he is not. When you play as the Decepticons in the second level, the character the player controls is Vortex. Still not Optimus Prime, but at least we get a glimpse as to what it’s like playing on the other side.
For this instalment in the series, High Moon Studios have introduced an interesting new game mechanic. In ‘War For Cybertron’ the B button was used for throwing grenades or detaching weapons. This time around the B button is used to switch camera angles. Now this doesn’t sound ground breaking at first, but let me tell you why it is better than it sounds. If you are shooting from your left shoulder but fancy shooting from the right, this will allow you to do that. This becomes invaluable when you are taking cover and need to quickly change sides to get a better shot.
As with most sequels, the gameplay is very similar to that of its predecessor, ‘War For Cybertron’, which is a game I would highly recommend. The graphics feel a little more polished in this instalment, however that was to be expected as it is a more recent release. The levels are also fresh and different which shows that the developers haven’t just been lazy and rehashed the same content from the previous game.
A big difference in the multiplayer is the customization. In ‘War For Cybertron’ you could choose a class of character and a little bit of their color scheme. This is really blown away in ‘Fall Of Cybertron’. This time around you get to select from many different body parts that are taken from already established robots, so if you want to make a particular character from the series you can. If making an already established character does not tickle your fancy you can always mix and match parts to create that Transformer you always dreamed of. Ah, the glory of choice! Having said this, you do have to unlock some parts, but this shouldn’t be too hard when the game is released.
The actual gameplay in the multiplayer is very similar to ‘War For Cybertron’ as I said before. If you have played this you know its fun. If you have not played the previous game it is what you would expect really, you pick a class of transformer, customize it a little, then run around blasting everything you can see and hope you kill someone you are supposed to. It’s just pure robot pulverising fun. It is a game you do have to work as a team, I found if you do not you die very quickly unless you are a very good player. So teamwork people, teamwork.
Now lets sink our teeth into the single player levels on the demo. On the first level as mentioned before you play as Bumble Bee, the yellow guy for those who may not know. Knowing that the war on Cybertron is lost, Optimus Prime leads the remainder of the Autobots, all of whom are on a huge spaceship towards a huge portal. As everyone does when they start to lose a war. This portal is supposed to take them somewhere that is hopefully out of Megatron’s grasp. It feels weird talking about portals and not mentioning Glados now. (Damn you Valve!) Anyway, as you would expect from any villain, the Decepticons are not just going to let this happen. So it’s up to you as Bumble Bee to defend the ship.
In the second level of the single player campaign, you play as the Decepticon Vortex. This time around you are you are attacking an Autobot transporter that contains the Cybertron energy source, Energon. This level has more need for transforming as Vortex switches between helicopter and jet mode. Vortex’s job in this attack is to clear a shortcut to the bridge where the transporter is, but as in all games this is not the simple task it should be. Vortex has to weave his way through lasers and other assorted obstacles before he can reach his target.
All in all a solid demo which I would recommend. Even if you are not a fan of the series, you should at least give the demo a try. It’s free so what have you got to lose?
Most gamers will remember the days when extra content that was released for a game was called an expansion pack. You would wait months or sometimes even years for a developer to release potentially hours worth of new gameplay. A lot of the time you would effectively buy a whole new game for less than twenty quid!
Sadly, this is no longer the case (in most situations anyway). In the past few years, developers have discovered the powers of digital distribution. Content can now be downloaded and installed within seconds and at the risk of sounding like a complete traditionalist, it’s almost too easy for developers to throw lacklustre content at gamers. This is the point where if this was a real conversation, you’d probably tell me to sod off back to the late 90’s and go play an Ensemble Games title, but hear me out!
It’s not hard to see that extra content is no longer something to look forward to that might be released if a game is particularly successful, it’s pretty much expected from all major release. To top it off, no one seems to have a problem with paying large amounts of cash for what is, in most cases, a lot less content than there should or used to be.
In my opinion, this is a step in the wrong direction. Don’t get me wrong, I love extra content; my gripe here is with developers that seem to have already planned the DLC before the actual game has been released.
It’s almost as if the developers purposely create a feature such as a game mode or an awesome weapon only to pull it out of the main game, which is not on. A recent example of this is Capcom’s ‘Street Fighter X Tekken’, where a whole twelve fighters that were included on the original disc can only be unlocked by downloading an upcoming content pack.
The speed at which DLC is released now is another thing I have a problem with. Paying around forty pounds for a game at launch and finding out that the first downloadable content pack is scheduled for release a week later, or even on the day of release, stinks of what I like to call ‘cash-cow syndrome’. Developers who do this aren’t fooling anyone, it’s obvious that these things were for all intents and purposes developed as part of the original game and they should be treated as such.
One good example of this is the recent release of EA/Dice’s Battlefield 3. Depending on what shop you pre-ordered the game from, you received different weapons, ammo etc. on release day. Not only did this give some players an advantage over others, but it forced consumers to buy from particular shops. What if someone has store credit that they were intending to use? Not only that, but it doesn’t exactly encourage the already sparse independent game shops to carry on trading.
So what’s the solution? How can we keep receiving new content for our favourite games, without feeling like we’re being totally ripped off? The answer is that developers need to take a leaf out of the books of some of the guys who are getting it right!
Take Valve for example. With recent stellar series’ such as Portal and Left 4 Dead, you’d think they’d try and cash in on their success, yet most of their downloadable content is totally free of charge. This isn’t just a set of horse armour either, it’s full packs of content such as online multiplayer maps, new single player sections and even in some cases, whole level editors. With this going on, it seems totally unjustifiable that at the other end of the spectrum, a single weapon can go for a couple of quid!
However, this doesn’t mean to say that we should boycott downloadable content altogether until developers get their act together. The reason for this is that when all is said and done, DLC is still awesome!
Every gamer has at one point or another finished an amazing title and simply thought ‘I need more!’. And we can have more! It’s now simpler than ever to access loads of new missions, maps and all other manner of in game awesomeness directly from the comfort of our armchairs in seconds. A quick visit to the Xbox live marketplace and you’ve got it!
Another reason why DLC is so great is that sometimes a game is totally bettered from the extra content. For example, a completely unbalanced weapon could be replaced by a much fairer one and be embraced by the community. Plus, let’s not forget that title updates are pretty much downloadable content too!
All in all, downloadable content such as map packs, add-ons and the like should be embraced. This method of distribution has been around for years now and developers aren’t going to stop using it. Any true gamer would tell you that no matter how developers choose to push out new content, it can only be a good thing. The real issue here is not that developers are using the wrong method; it’s that they need to reassess why they’re doing it. Extra content is for the fans to be able to extend their favourite game and what they release should reflect this.
Copyright Chokepoint 2012
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