Hybrid: Eternal Whisper Review

Great games, for any system, don’t come along nearly often enough. With more than 21,000 games currently available on the iPhone and iPod Touch, there are plenty of ways to just waste time. But if you want a high-quality experience that rivals some of the biggest names in console gaming, spend your time and money on Gamevil’s masterful beat ‘em up RPG, Hybrid.

Hybrid contains a complex, wide-ranging story, full of interesting characters and its own unique mythology. You play as Grey, a young man with a mysterious background and a charming protector named Fairy. Grey is thrust into the center of an epic conflict that takes him between two parallel worlds to fight thousands of nasty monsters.

Grey’s been reading Harry Potter and the Secrets of the Occult.

We were reminded several times during Hyrbid’s ten-hour storyline of the Final Fantasy games– those wordy, sentimental tales that sometimes don’t make a lot of sense, but never stop trying to win you over. The story may not be Hollywood-caliber, but it’s a mile beyond almost any other iPhone game.

Unlike the Final Fantasy games, though, Hybrid’s gameplay is all about action, and this puts it in the same category of brawlers like Streets of Rage or Devil May Cry. Every step of the way, you’ll gain experience points and currency called POW that can be spent in several different ways, from upgrading your abilities to buying more health potions.

Hybrid’s combat system is extremely satisfying. Using just one attack button and a D-pad, you start off with a simple repertoire of moves, including a dash and an alternate grip on your sword that lets you easily attack surrounding enemies. As you play through the game, elemental magic and new advanced moves like double-sworded spins and gravity wells are granted to you by the wise priests and spirits who help you on your quest.

Instead of being just bit characters, each creature you meet will help shed some light on the complicated story, and many have individual personalities that come across through the heavy amounts of dialogue. While some impatient gamers may not like being forced to stop slashing and read the dialogue, it’s part of an overall experience that makes Hybrid much more than a typical action game.

When someone asks you if you’re a god, say yes!

We have a few minor complaints about the basic mechanics of Hybrid, like the fact that some magical attacks are a pain to pull off consistently, and the overall look of the game tends to sacrifice fluid animation for having lots of enemies on the screen at once. Plus, the cinematic direction is definitely lacking: During cutscenes, characters simply stand at attention and deliver their lines robotically.

What Hybrid may lack in its animation, it overwhelmingly makes up for by its seemingly endless leveling up system. As any gamer knows, the desire for “one more round” to upgrade your character, buy a new sword, or unlock another chapter in the sweeping storyline can threaten to put your real life on hold until you beat the game. And when you do, Hyrbid offers even more combat situations to play, like an endless survival-style mode set in a floating garden in the sky.

We couldn’t be more impressed with what Hybrid has managed to pull off. In its mythology, it claims that words have power, and by that measure, the lengthy story that accompanies this game is heavy stuff indeed. However, it’s also an addictive action game as well, one that should strongly appeal to adrenaline junkies who are looking for their next challenge. Hybrid pulls off both its action and RPG aspects with a fantastic sense of style, making this easily one of the iPhone’s best games.

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