Reviews

Hybrid 2: Saga of Nostalgia

Hybrid 2 is Gamevil’s newest foray into the action RPG genre.

The first Hybrid game wowed many iPhone gamers with its combat and flashy graphics, but after playing quite a bit of it I was left unimpressed. Coming in to the sequel, I had my hopes up that Gamevil would have crafted a more polished game.

Good role playing games normally have certain qualities about them. Most gamers will cite the importance of having an enjoyable story, character progression, and combat mechanics you don’t mind repeating for hours. Hybrid 2 misses the mark on each of these, and a host of other aggravations worsen its fundamental problems.

I was able to appreciate some of the superficial elements of Hybrid 2. Graphically, the game is varied and colorful. I enjoyed watching many of the sprites animate, even if most animations have a low frame count. I do also enjoy the combat of Hybrid 2, but only to a degree. If this were simply a two hour beat ‘em up, Hybrid 2′s combat would be up to snuff.

hybrid2twoAs it stands, the game is a multi-hour RPG that doles out mechanics at a snail’s pace. Hybrid 2 lacks that sense of constant reward that most action RPGs have. After an hour of gameplay you may unlock a new combo, and said combo may only add a very small layer to the combat. The game has you playing through countless screens of enemies, repeating the same combinations ad eternum, and taking part in what inevitably feels like a button masher.

It should be noted that you are constantly picking up new weapons and armor to use, but since they don’t change your character’s sprite, new weapons almost feel inconsequential- which is another major problem for an action RPG. I want to look at the cool stuff that I am picking up.

I can deal with some boring combat if a game’s story is compelling enough, but Hybrid 2′s text is nothing short of wooden, and there is far too much of it. The stiff and drawn-out character dialogue rests upon what could have been an interesting story premise. So while your quest seems like it may possibly be interesting, it is delivered very poorly.

These story flaws make most missions feel meaningless, since the execution of missions does not change from quest to quest. The overworld consists of a series of rectangular arenas connected by menus, and while exploring the player must clear each arena before proceeding to the next. This can become confusing, as some arenas branch out into multiple paths, and you must do some digging to find out which direction you should be going.

Some arenas lead only one direction, so you can simply run from one to another. Even this can be problematic, since after a 15 minute fight I got knocked back by the last enemy and accidentally warped to the previous arena- meaning I had to go redo that entire fight.

A 15 minute fight wouldn’t be such a big deal if the previously addressed combat issues weren’t present, and if the game weren’t so punishing at times. It is possible to get stuck up against the edge of the screen in an almost endless knockdown and death loop, and at each death the game presents the opportunity to buy more penalty-less resurrections.

There will be many people who buy Hybrid 2 and enjoy it. The game isn’t quite as bad if you have some other source of entertainment while playing it, allowing you to gloss over the intially mindless combat and inconsequential story. I wouldn’t be able to play this game were it not for the iPod function, because the in game content and endless combat music loop cannot hold my attention.

I found that the RPG mechanics in Hybrid 2 are shallow, the combat takes far too long to get interesting, and the story is a snoozefest. All of these flaws contribute to make a game with little motivation outside of flashy graphics and combat that is fun at a very basic level.

Final Score:

2pt5-stars

Hybrid 2 is available on the App Store for $4.99

This game was played on both a 3rd and 4th gen device, performance on the 3rd gen device (iPhone 3g/iPod Touch 2g) suffered large dips in framerate to the point where the game was less playable.

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  • AnotherTim

    How do you feel about the Zenonias Nathan? Based on your Luna Story review, it seems like you enjoyed those more than the Hybrids. I find that I really want to like these Gamevil RPGs, but I never actually enjoy them.

  • Nathan Mustafa, USA

    I like the Zenonias a bit more- mostly because the exploration bits remind me of Zelda. They are qualitatively better than Luna Story- and Hybrid- but I still can’t get much into them.

  • AnotherTim

    It’s a shame there are no action RPGs for the iPhone that come close to approaching the quality of A Link to the Past. I like Across Age and all, but that’s the only game that really emulates the experience at all, and it’s not even in the same ballpark in terms of quality.

  • Nathan Mustafa, USA

    Most RPGs on the iPhone seem more concerned with running down a checklist of what an RPG needs without worrying about actually crafting those elements into an enjoyable experience.

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