hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

5th Cell

Review: Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure

Oct 05 // Ian Bonds
Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure (Wii U [reviewed], 3DS, PC)Developer: 5th CellPublisher: Warner Brothers GamesReleased: September 24, 2013MSRP: $59.99 (Wii U), $39.99 (3DS, PC) So, how did the world of DC Comics and the game of Scribblenauts come together? For the uninitiated, Scribblenauts centers around Maxwell and Lily, a brother and sister who each posses a magical item. Max's notebook can conjure up anything he writes in it, and Lily's globe can take them to any location. Maxwell gets the brilliant idea to slap a page from his notebook with "Gotham City" written on it onto the globe to be taken to their world. Unfortunately, the word "Doppleganger" was somehow on the back of this paper, and Maxwell's evil twin is let loose in the DC Universe, joining up with the villains. After a chance meeting with Batman, they are all now in search of the starite bits that escaped from Lily's globe that broke when they landed in Gotham City. As you complete tasks around town you earn reputation, which allows you to unlock more cities from the DCU. Metropolis, Oa, Atlantis, and more are all available. Tasks range from the simple to the bizarre, such as a guy who wants to be taken to the Wayne Manor roof where there is a trap door ... that leads nowhere, or the security guard who simply wants a glass of ice water. At Wayne Manor, Batman and Alfred give Maxwell access to the Batcomputer where he can pull up just about everything in the DCU for use in the game. Want to call upon Green Lantern? You can either write his name in the notebook, or pull him up via the Batcomputer. But that's not all, oh no. You can also specify which version of Green Lantern, be it Hal Jordan, Guy Gardener, Kyle Raynor, Jon Stewart -- the level of detail in the minuscule facts of the characters are amazing. [embed]253724:48672:0[/embed] If you're playing on Wii U or PC, the Batcave also houses the Hero Creator, where you can design your own heroes for summoning in the game. Want to make some Marvel hero look-a-likes? Sad that Neil Gaiman's Sandman isn't in the game? Make them here. There are loads of tools and outfits available. When in a mission, however, is when the game starts to fall apart. While there are tons of words in the game that can be used to conjure up items, heroes, and more, how they act in the game tends to be hit or miss. Want Superman to melt some ice with his heat vision? Well, you can summon him, but he may just stand there. Likewise, tapping on the ice and using the word "melt" makes it drip, but it never really melts away. It's as though the game promotes creativity, but only the creativity the programmers designed into it. The game's main story missions are the most fun, where you'll interact with the characters from the comics and stop the villains from grabbing the starite bits, utilizing the book in the coolest scenarios. However, the instances between these where you earn your reputation points only seem to be menial tasks at best, used to stretch out the game length. Some don't even make any sense, and by the time you've figured out what you're supposed to do, some instances end without warning, such as the man beating up the guy dressed as Julius Caesar. By the time I figured out how to stop them, Caesar was dead, and there's no way to reload the instance as they're all randomly generated as it is. Sadly, these types of puzzles must be completed, as the reputation you earn unlocks more places to find starite missions, but hopping from place to place usually opens up better missions if you don't like or can't figure out the ones you have presently. Also, you can only earn half of the reputation points for a task if you use a word you've already used on that map. Switching areas helps negate that. From time to time, Mr. Mxyzptlk appears and issues a challenge for that level, such as not allowing you to solve any puzzles using a weapon, or only using words that begin with a certain letter. This certainly opens up the creativity, and these are some of the best moments of the game for me as it presented me with a more challenging way to solve things. However, I still would run into trouble with finding just the right way to solve certain tasks, as certain puzzles seemed to only want one answer. Scaring a snake was one such puzzle, and summoning a mongoose really was the only option. Playing on the Wii U is kind of a silly thing, as you spend the entire game looking at the GamePad rather than up at the TV screen, so the HD graphics don't really make much of an impression, though they are fantastic if you do happen to look up. There's an option to switch everything to the GamePad to free up the TV, which I highly recommend since you'll never really need the TV to begin with. Scribblenauts Unmasked, when it boils down to it, is a good idea wrapped in poor execution. The main missions for grabbing the starites are fun, but the puzzles that you need to complete to gain reputation to unlock those missions seem to be there to stretch the game to it's 8-12 hour length. The inclusion of the DC license is very cool, and the level of detail included with all the characters, vehicles, and lore is astounding, allowing the player to spend a ton of time in the Batcomputer checking out everything in the game, plus the familiar characters done in the Scribblenauts style is just so frikkin' cute that it's sickening. Still, getting everyone or everything to behave how you want in a mission or a puzzle makes thing just extra aggravating. Though there is a certain amount of satisfaction when summoning Aquaman and having the game tell you "Aquaman is not useful here." Ain't that the truth.
 photo
Not so heroic...
When they announced that the next Scribblenauts game would include characters and settings from the DC Comics Universe, I was excited. That's a lot of history to pull from, and with Scribblenauts' reputation of including tons...

Getting drawn into Scribblenauts Unmasked

Jul 21 // Dale North
Those that have played previous Scribblenauts titles know that part of the joy of the experience is playing around with hero Maxwell's notebook. Anything you write down (type, in this case with the Wii U GamePad's stylus) comes to life on the screen. Write in "corgi" and a cute little dog falls from the sky to play with. Put in "chainsaw" and Maxwell instantly has a pretty good weapon/tree cutter to play with. The joy for comic fans with Scribble Unmasked extends far beyond that as every character ever featured in a DC Comics book is in the game. I typed in Batman and got a list of 36 to pick from -- it's that extensive. Any or all of them can be brought into the game's world at any time. I actually put in "Justice League" and all of them were hovering above the ground, ready to be dropped in.  And if you're an info junkie, Unmasked is fun even before you drop your favorite superheroes in. A Wikipedia-like entry for each and every DC Comics hero or item is available for your reading pleasure. I learned a lot just by using the game's Bat Computer to filter and drill down into the available selection.  Starting off in the Bat Cave, I found myself spawning anything I could think of. I pulled in Green Lantern as a hero to play with, and then drew in a corgi pup to brighten up the place. When I was flying around to test out Green Lantern's powers, I think one of the bad guys in the stage killed him. I had Green Lantern pay him back for that.  Later, in visiting Gotham City, I started in on some missions that Maxwell had stumbled upon. One botched mission had a group of mismatched villains from the DC world ganging up on me , finally wiping me out. Another mission had me drawing in a bulldozer to help a citizen demolish a building, but I soon found myself distracted by the game's unlimited potential once again..  The game's hero maker function is a lot of fun. It lets you start with any superhero in the DC universe and then customize him to your liking. Or, if you're creative enough, make a hero from scratch. After searching through the huge list of available Supermans, I picked Man of Steel and played with the size slider to make him a bit smaller than the rest. In playing with the available stamps for limbs, heads, and other features, I found a cute bear head that I liked. I was able to pop off Superman's head and replace it with a bear head. With a few slides and clicks, I had a big-headed Bear of Steel to spawn into Gotham City.  And then, for no reason, I typed in "tiny Lex Luthor" and then pulled him into Gotham City. I then used Batman to kill him instantly. That's what's so great about Scribblenauts Unmasked. It's a proper game, but there's a game within it for your imagination. That quick break turned out to be a 30+ minute play session. Fans of DC Comics are going to have a blast toying with the endless combinations and possibilities this game provides.
 photo
DC fans will love this game
I took a break from the crowded show floor of San Diego Comic-Con to relax for a bit with the latest build of 5th Cell's upcoming game, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure. Scribblenauts has always been one of those games that's easy to pick up but hard to break away from, but the new superhero twist in this latest game gives us even more to get lost in.

The next Scribblenauts is set in the DC Comics universe

May 15 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Scribblenauts Unmasked will take you to a ton of different DC locations. In the demo we saw, Maxwell and the various heroes are hanging out in the Batcave. These locations are faithful representations of DC environments, and there's a surprising amount of depth to them.  Characters you come across in these levels will also have quests for you, called Heroic Feats in the game. Every time you enter a level a new procedurally-generated puzzle will be presented to you. These dynamic Heroic Feat events are always going to be different no matter how many times you enter the same level. One example of how this could work is Batman becoming paralyzed at the hand of some villain. You have to save Batman as Maxwell by getting him an antidote, and once revived Batman will take care of the villain.  The more puzzles you solve, the more Reputation points you'll be given. And with Reputation points you can spend it to unlock new content for Maxwell on things like costumes, levels, and more. There's a ton of DC characters here; like, it's crazy. To put it in perspective, there are 33 different Batmans and 133 Green Lanterns. At one point we saw a giant room filled with DC heroes and villains like Superman, Batman, Joker, Wonder Woman, Darkseid, Cat Woman, Sinestro, Green Lantern, Flash, Abin Sur, James Gordon -- even freaking Mogo, the living planet that's a Green Lantern is featured here. Later in the presentation 5th Cell let loose the nearly 100 characters all just hanging out in the demo stage where a giant brawl erupted. Adjectives can still be applied on characters, so you can totally call in a zombie Batman into the middle of the fight where he will attack others, which will also slowly spread the zombie virus, thus eventually turning everyone into zombies. If that's not enough you can even create your own superhero in the Hero Creator. You know, in case you get sick of the 133 Green Lanterns or something. You can mix and match parts of different bodies from the DC characters, plus apply different superpowers to them and create some freakish Frankenstein of a hero.  There's a giant Wikipedia-like system that will give you biographies on everything in the game as well. It's accessed via the Batcomputer and will be a big help as you try and sort through everything that's available.  Really, it's the same Scribblenauts you know and love, just overloaded with a ton of DC goodness. You can expect Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure to be out this fall for the PC, Wii U, and 3DS. 
Scribblenauts meets DC photo
Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure coming to the PC, Wii U, and 3DS
Maxwell and Lily's next Scribblenauts adventure sees the pair venturing into the DC Comics universe through the power of their magic notebook. The siblings love comics, and the whole reason they even want to enter DC's unive...

 photo

Warner Bros. sued over memes in Scribblenauts? Okay!


Thief-hating company accused of theft
May 02
// Jim Sterling
Warner Bros. and 5th Cell are being slapped with a lawsuit (story via NeoGAF) over the inclusion of a pair of Internet memes in Scribblenauts Unlimited. Both the infamous Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat can be summoned into th...
Batman photo
Batman

Rumor: Scribblenauts Unmasked takes place in DC universe


PC, Wii U, and 3DS superhero title may make E3 appearance
Apr 26
// Allistair Pinsof
The next Scribblenauts, tentatively titled Scribblenauts Unmasked, will take place in the universe of DC Comics, including characters like Batman and locations like the Batcave, IGN reports. The title is for PC, Wii U, and 3D...

Top ten best THQ games: Remembering a giant

Jan 31 // Allistair Pinsof
Anyone who knows me, knows that I loves me strategy games. I love StarCraft, Rise of Nations, Sins of a Solar Empire, Civilization -- you name it. Company of Heroes was probably the first one that got me really into WWII from a strategy perspective. It is also one of the first games that took advantage of advanced graphics -- namely, destructible environments -- that have a huge effect on gameplay. As tank shells create craters, for example, your infantry can use the modified terrain as cover. Subtle details like that keep gameplay fun and dynamic and also provide a refreshing twist on the classic RTS. - Daniel Starkey [Take a look back at our previous Company of Heroes coverage.] Licensed games, as a general rule, tend to be rather uninspired affairs. Relic Entertainment's acclaimed Warhammer 40,000 titles fly in the face of that trend. Space Marine and the Dawn of War series are genuinely entertaining titles that pay homage to Games Workshop's license rather than abuse it. Relic has delivered quality experiences time and again, developing games capable of standing on their own merits while still providing ample amounts of fan service for the already initiated. As someone who has spent more than a fair share of hours painting miniatures and rolling dice, it's clear Relic has a great deal of reverence for the source material. Captain Titus' battle with Ork and Chaos forces on Forge World Graia brought that universe to life for me. I wish Relic the best and hope that their new overlords at Sega allow them to keep making these games for a long, long time. - Kyle MacGregor [Take a look back at our Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine review.] While the game was initially buggy, a heroic modding community has managed to make S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl into something worth celebrating; despite its dreary setting and almost constant peril, the Zone was a place that oozed life. It is a brave game both mechanically and tonally, considering no FPS has come close to what S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl attempts is slightly sad; the singular highpoint of the whole Call of Duty franchise is when the series visits Pripyat in the irradiated zone. - Alasdair Duncan [Take a look back at our S.T.A.L.K.E.R. coverage.] It feels wrong to love Saints Row 2, but it feels even worse not to. The presentation lacks polish, the writing is tasteless, the focus is aimless ... but it's so fun!  Where Saints Row made a marked improvement on the GTA series' controls, Saints Row 2 makes a remarkable improvement on almost every other level. GTAIV offered flawless presentation but boring combat; Saints Row 2 is just the opposite. It's the sandbox game I've always wanted, where nothing matters but the player having fun. Want to surf on a car for no reason?  Hell ya!  Want to ride golf carts through a mall while doing a drive-by?  YES! Even the music is awesome in this game. GTA is great but nothing compares to firing infinite rockets at cop cars while driving to Hum's "Stars". If only I could merge Saints Row 2's gameplay with GTA4's presentation and story, I'd have the greatest game ever. For now, I'll take Saints Row 2 over GTAIV.  After all, I can watch The Wire if I want inner city drama.  - Allistair Pinsof [Take a look back at the only Saints Row 2 video that matters on the internet.] Lock's Quest is one of the most unique games released on the Nintendo DS. It spices up tower defense with direct character control and RPG elements.  Long before Iron Brigade and Starhawk, Lock's Quest had players building walls and constructing turrets to later fight among them. The ability to directly control Lock on the battlefield may seem trivial at first, but it adds an entirely different prioritization element to tower defense, where Lock's location, health, and special abilities all factor into the decision making process.  As a tower defense game, it really shines in that it's not unforgiving in its difficulty, but the later levels really feel like they push you to your limits. While it's satisfying to have a great base built that easily repels the hordes of robots, it doesn't get much better than feeling all is lost only to scrape by with a well timed electrical explosion that takes out the last of the advancing enemies. Lock's Quest is pure fun, whether you are a fan of tower defense or not. - Darren Nakamura [Take a look back at our Lock's Quest review.] 50 Cent: Bulletproof was an awful waste of time. 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, on the other hand, stands as the greatest guilty pleasure for any person who was brave enough to try it back in 2009. 50 Cent and G-Unit are playing a venue somewhere in the Middle East where his payment is in the form of a diamond skull, because why the hell not? As luck would have it, that skull is stolen and 50 Cent goes on a bullet hose rampage, destroying the country and yelling "you fucked up!" at everyone until he finds it. Because no one takes Fiddy's skull. No one. - Brett Zeidler [Take a look back at our 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand review.] Red Faction: Guerrilla is initially interesting for its building destruction mechanics. It's quite a hoot to blow up a building's support beams and watch it tumble down into pieces on top of anyone around it. I might die in the process, but it hardly matters since I'll just get a new guy and have at it again. That's when it hit me: these thoughts and ideas have a lot, perhaps too much, in common with those of terrorists. After all, the goal is to drive these uninvited invaders off of the planet, since they're only there for economic reasons. Guerrilla explores terrorism in an almost uncomfortable way, by executing it perfectly. Throwing away a life in an explosive raid is okay to do within the game, though it does make me a bit uncomfortable. And I love that. - Patrick Hancock [Take a look back at our Red Faction: Guerrilla review.] Very few games have warmed my heart like Costume Quest. There's just something about it. Although many people were quick to point out it was a very basic RPG experience, for a downloadable title it was perfect. Subtle changes to RPG tropes, like candy as currency and trick-or-treating as quests, helped showcase that the game wasn't merely a homage, but a labor of love. Combat has elements reminiscent of Super Mario RPG and exploring the whimsical world never felt like a chore. Double Fine did a great job recapturing the spirit of every child's favorite evening, and THQ did the right thing by publishing it. - Chris Carter [Take a look back at our Costume Quest review.] Until the arrival of Darksiders 2, drawing comparisons to Zelda was used interchangeably as a slight and compliment. Whether shamelessly cribbing from God of War, Portal, and Panzer Dragoon made the game stronger or not was also a point of contention. Never before had a game attempted such blatant copying of contemporary, popular games. Though some resisted Darksiders -- and still do -- for me, it showed that there is no shame in copying others when quality and holistic design come before tribute. The variety of level design comes from copying other titles, but Vigil Games is what made all the disparate parts come together in a game that continues to surprise until its end. When stripped away from its idols, you get Darksiders 2, the equivalent of a dried-out sponge. - Allistair Pinsof [Take a look back at our Darksiders review.] Some people may say that its predecessor, Saints Row 2, was a funnier and better game. These people are afraid of change. The Third is the full realization of what the series had been working towards. It is utterly ridiculous and doesn't pretend to be anything but. By doing this, the actions of the player outside of cutscenes fall in line with the character's actions within them, unlike a certain other company's open world games.The http://deckers.die mission in particular is what skyrockets this game above any other. In a single mission you become a toilet, a sex doll, use the Mega Buster, participate in a text adventure, and fight a boss that simulates lag. I truly hope that when future generations talk about the best levels in video games, deckers.die is sitting alongside the classics. - Patrick Hancock [Take a look back at our Saints Row: The Third Dildo Baseball Bat review.]
Top Ten THQ Games photo
From wrestlers to panda-suit-wearing sociopaths
When assessing a publisher's impact on the industry, we tend to focus on the highs rather than consistency. THQ was anything but consistent, putting out Nintendo DS shovelware, rushed licensed games, and taking part in one of...

Review: Scribblenauts Unlimited

Nov 18 // Jim Sterling
Scribblenauts Unlimited (3DS, PC, Wii U [reviewed])Developer: 5th CellPublisher: Warner Bros.Release: November 13, 2012 (3DS) / November 18, 2012 (Wii U) / November 20, 2012 (PC)MSRP: $39.99 (3DS) / $29.99 (PC) / $59.99 (Wii U) For Scribblenauts' big Wii U debut, Maxwell finds himself attempting to free his sister from a petrifying curse. The spell can only be broken by collecting Starites -- magical objects that are dropped in fragments by people whenever they're happy. Maxwell, atoning for an indolent life brought about by his magical summoning notepad, must use his scribbling powers for good and collect the Starites that appear as a result.  It's a simple excuse to toss Maxwell into an "open world" of sorts -- and by that I mean a series of sidescrolling environments that are gradually unlocked and freely traveled to. Each environment is littered with people who have problems, which the player solves by conjuring objects based on the predicament at hand. For instance, if there's a cyborg who says he wants to look human, you simply write "wig," give it to him, and he drops a shard of Starite. Shark with toothache? Give him a dentist. There's not much more to it than that.  [embed]238789:45808[/embed] Unlike before, where specific puzzles were solved to get Maxwell to a Starite, the bulk of Unlimited is spent in this fairly simplistic fashion -- highlighting NPCs, working out what they need, and giving it to them. There are slightly more complex challenges, where Maxwell performs a series of tasks that tell a little self-contained narrative -- but they more or less follow the same pattern, and often basically just tell you what to write down before you do it. You may get a tiny bit of creative freedom in the type of object you draw, but the basic requirement is linear, explicitly suggested, and leaves no room to challenge the player's mind.  Only once or twice did I ever get moderately stumped by vague clues or puzzles that required any form of thought. For most of the campaign -- which can be cleared in a handful of hours -- I was simply going through the motions, inputting words without having to think about them and watching the cute animations unfold as a result. For many of the larger challenges, your choices don't even influence the results -- for instance, if you're told to give an injured dinosaur a new tail, your decision to write, "Pink Fluffy Tail" won't be shown on the dinosaur afterwards. Attempts at creatively solving the challenges are an active waste of time.  This problem lies at the bulk of Scribblenauts Unlimited. It's not actually worth it to be inventive. You have the option to do so much with Maxwell's notepad -- changing the size, temperament, and color of anything you desire -- yet doing so doesn't really matter. Applying adjectives to objects only really matters when the game outright tells you to apply adjectives to things, otherwise you're doing it for personal amusement -- amusement that doesn't arrive since, as stated, nothing matters. Even worse, it's entirely possible to overthink puzzles -- being too creative can render the object unrecognizable to the game. It's always best to keep it simple, dreary, and unambitious. Scribblenauts really wants to drag you down to its level.  Unlimited takes advantage of the Wii U's online function to allow users to create and share their own creations. You can make a Smelly Wheeled Neon Dog or a Giant Supersonic Demonic Fly, and most of the time, you'll get a fun result. The depth of creation is greater than ever before, and includes some characters from the Zelda and Mario series for added amusement, but it all feels for naught in a game where these inventions are more pointless than ever before. Not to mention, it's all just a slight expansion on ideas that have already been in two games, so there's not exactly anything fresh to make up for a new and mundane campaign structure.  One thing I do like is the cute character editor. As well as Maxwell, players can choose any one of his many, many siblings, and each sibling may serve as a base for personalized character avatars. Their clothing colors can be changed, limbs grown or shrunk to disproportionate sizes, and they can be named. This has no bearing on gameplay, but is nonetheless a cool little addition to the series and does go some way to providing a bit of added interest.  Another waste of time is playing the game with the television switched on. You'll be using the stylus on the GamePad's touchscreen to do practically everything, from interacting with objects to writing down words. The vibrant, colorful game looks utterly gorgeous on a television, but you can only really play if you're looking at the Pad, so it's not worth looking at.  Scribblenauts Unlimited still serves some purpose as a playground of silly ideas, and it still has a measure of charm left over from its original incarnation, but when it comes time to actually play it, this is the most boring and monotonous game in the series. Anything it does well was already done in the portable installments, and the new structure is utterly tedious. With Unlimited, 5th Cell had an opportunity to greatly expand on a brilliant idea and bring us something truly groundbreaking. This opportunity was squandered, and the result is a game that can't hope to live up to the lofty promise of its own name.  Boundless freedom? Scribblenauts Unlimited doesn't even try to drag itself out of the holding pen.
Scribblenauts Unlimited photo
Fun limited
The problem with a game like Scribblenauts is that the promise of boundless freedom comes with strict boundaries. A game that promises you can conjure any item in existence to solve puzzles can be broken pretty simply in a wo...

 photo

Mega64: Selling ONE PERSON on Scribblenauts Unlimited


Guest starring 5th Cell's Jeremiah Slaczka
Nov 07
// Tony Ponce
Judging from the opening, it looked like Shawn somehow already owned Scribblenauts Unlimited on 3DS, so 5th Cell co-founder and Scribblenauts creator Jeremiah Slaczka was just wasting his time. Either way, it's always fun to...
 photo

Scribblenauts Unlimited for Wii U has Nintendo characters


Mario and Zelda? That was one hell of a guess
Oct 17
// Jordan Devore
Exclusive to the Wii U version of Scribblenauts Unlimited are characters and items from Mario and The Legend of Zelda, as shown above. But you already knew that, didn't you? Either way, the fun is in seeing these characters d...
 photo

FREE: Scribblenauts REMIX is Starbucks' Pick of the Week


Sep 06
// Dale North
Want a free download of 5TH Cell's Scribblenauts REMIX for your iOS device? Head to Starbucks and pick up one of the free promo cards there to download this week's Pick of the Week. Scribblenauts REMIX is normally $5, so...

Review: Hybrid

Aug 13 // Ian Bonds
Hybrid (Xbox Live Arcade)Developer: 5th CellPublisher: 5th CellReleased: August 8, 2012MSRP: 1200 Microsoft Points When I say the cover system is the main focus of the gameplay, I mean that the only movement in the game is from cover to cover. That's it. Basically, you point the camera at the cover, press the A button, and your character jet-packs on over to it. You can strafe and swoop, bob and weave while you fly, and walk along the cover or vault over it once you're there, but make no mistake; this is the extent of your movement in Hybrid. You either blind shoot from cover, aim from cover, or shoot while moving from cover to cover. Granted, cover can be on the ground, on the wall, or even on the ceiling, but that's what you're limited to. While this may sound ... well -- pretty terrible, honestly -- it's actually more fun than you'd imagine. There's a certain urgency when flying around, as you try to make sure you're not heading to cover that contains your foe directly behind it. Or maybe that's exactly what you want. Either way, it's definitely a style of gameplay I had to get used to in my first few matches. There's a quick tutorial at the beginning, but bots do not compare to live players. There's a plot here, apparently concerning Dark Matter and its acquisition across the continents of Earth between two factions fighting for it, the Paladins (humans) and the Variants (aliens). Somehow, shooting the ever loving shit out of each other in three-on-three firefights determines who gets Nibbler's poop. The story is a thin shell used to explain why you're killing each other, and serves as the framework for the world map. As battles wage on, each section of the map shows who's taken what region. Each individual region within a continent is also labelled with a specialization. As you complete matches, you rank up your specialization, be it Assassin, Commander, etc. These specialization have tiered ranks (1-5) and during your loadout before matches, you can choose a specialization along with your weapon and an ability. The specializations you choose here do not have to be the one specific to the region you're in, as they offer varying boosts to experience, health, weapon damage or cool-down rates. The tiered ranking determines how much of a percentage the given specialization helps. It sounds confusing, but once you've gotten acclimated to how the specializations affect gameplay, it helps you choose which regions to attack. Once in battle, XP and kill streaks are the name of the game. You get rewards almost immediately in the form of drones. After one kill, you're awarded with a Stalker, a little drone with a small rate of fire. Three kills gives you a heavier, larger Warship, and five kills lets you use the Preyot, a female android assassin who screams and flies at your foe with a one-hit kill shot from her sword. When and where to utilize each of these can be crucial in fights, as they can be stacked so you can have one of each running at once, but activating them causes a flash of light next to you, which can give away your position. Matches are your standard fare, and while the majority of the time you'll end up in a team deathmatch, there are several other gameplay types. For example, Artifact rewards the team who holds onto the item the longest, while Crazy Kings is kill of the hill with a moving "hill." As you progress and level up, you will unlock more weapons, helmets, and abilities, but can optionally purchase credits with real money to buy these items ahead of time. Weapons are your standard-behaving light machines guns, shotguns, pistols, sniper rifles, etc., but with the limited movement, it all depends on if you're better at blind firing or at close range around immediate corners. Abilities are another matter altogether. Operating on a cool-down timer, these range from standard frag grenade and smoke bombs to grenades that can hack your enemies' drones to attack them instead of you. There are also weapon enhancements that can poison or siphon enemy health, support powers that can detect foes behind cover or offer a health boost to your entire squad and more. Knowing when to use these, as well as seeing your fellow teammates' loadouts can really help strategize during battle. Strategy is key here, because when it comes down to the firefights themselves, things can be a little standard if you're not going in prepared. Level design is minimum and with the focus purely on moving from cover to cover, all the maps tend to feel the same (with the exception of some levels offering cover on walls and ceilings). While they aren't really anything special, it's your loadouts and careful execution of your drone deployment that really make this a fun, almost arcade-style shooter. It's not a ground-breaking title, but it definitely offers a cool twist on the shooter genre. While I wasn't completely sold on the cover-only gameplay, after a few matches, I found myself really enjoying the time I had put into the game. Hybrid is certainly not what I expected, but with the right mindset, players can get a different experience than most shooters provide nowadays.
 photo

Third-person shooters are a dime a dozen. From games like Gears of War to the recent Spec Ops: The Line, cover tends to play heavily into the combat, but you'd be hard pressed to find one that fully revolves around cover as n...

 photo

Hybrid removed from Xbox Live Arcade due to server issues


Aug 08
// Conrad Zimmerman
[Update: 5th Cell dropped us a line to let us know that the server problems have now been resolved and Hybrid will be available again on Xbox Live Arcade tonight stating that they, "expect a smooth gameplay experien...
 photo

5th Cell: Wii U definitely more powerful than 360/PS3


Jul 13
// Jim Sterling
5th Cell CEO Jeremiah Slaczka is frustrated with the console war and the way in which systems are ranked according to power. Nevertheless, he has stated that the Wii U is definitely more powerful than either the Xbox 360...
 photo

Scribblenauts Unlimited has a big, fat... dig


Jun 11
// Jonathan Holmes
Here's a quick look a Scribblenauts Unlimited. It feels like the game will truly let you create whatever you want, however you want. There is an object editor, a huge array of recognized adjectives and nouns, and a handy aut...
 photo

[Update: Contest over! Check your PMs in the next hour if you were one of the first 50!] We got to play 5th Cell's new XBLA game Hybrid earlier this week, and what we saw really impressed us! The sci-fi shooter feat...

Preview: A fresh take on cover-based warfare with Hybrid

Apr 26 // Casey Baker
  Hybrid (Xbox Live Arcade)Developer: 5th CellPublisher: 5th CellRelease: Summer 2012 Hybrid tells a story of a massive war happening between an alien-infected populace called the Variants and the remaining humans (the Paladins) after a pathogen has taken over half of the population. The war is a persistent online event that operates in a similar way as the game Risk does, with Paladins and Variants battling over the capture of continental sections of a large world map. When the player first boots up the game, they must make a choice to join up with the Paladins or the Variants, and this choice will stay with them almost permanently as they jump in and out of battle. The game operates on one large server with various skirmishes taking place in different parts of the map. When the war has been officially declared and the victors have been named, anyone who belongs to the team of victors will gain special perks that will carry over to the next war -- which will begin anew with the end of the last one. The battles in the game are always 3-on-3 affairs. This seems like a small number, but 5th Cell has implemented a smart system of populating the map with drones that help each player achieve more kills. These drones are awarded to the player through kill streaks, and they don't necessarily disappear when you die. The first drone every player gets with the first kill is called a Stalker. This small combat drone follows you around and takes shots at enemies, though it is incredibly susceptible to enemy fire and doesn't last long. If you can successfully get three kills in a row, you're awarded the Warbringer, a much heavier combat drone armed with heavy machine guns. Warbringer actually goes after enemies aggressively and is a great boon to defensive strategies as you leap and fly from cover-to-cover. Finally, achieving five kills in a row give you the Preyon. This drone is more like a heat-seeking missile than a combat drone. She is also incredibly awesome and fun to watch. The Preyon is like a ninja robot assassin, and as soon as you send her out into battle towards your target, she goes straight for the kill. If someone has sent a Preyon after you, the first clue to this is the robotic shriek she gives as she makes a beeline for your throat. In our playthrough, we saw nary a single soul escape from the banshee shriek of the Preyon. Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately) the Preyon only goes for a single kill and then disappears so as to keep the game a fair and balanced affair. Beyond the drones, players are also awarded with cool active perks such as teleportation for sneaky kills, passive perks such as boosts to armor or weapon damage, and new weapons/weapon categories. Hamza kicked some serious ass in a round with a powerful shotgun, while I got my ass handed to me attempting to use an assault rifle with burst shots. Of course, I haven't even touched upon the gameplay itself and the main caveat of cover-to-cover shooting. This is possibly because the game is so incredibly fluid that I didn't even think much about how it worked. With the press of the A button, your character automatically flies over to the next piece of cover that your reticule has aimed at. However, you're free to strafe and aim in any direction as you fly. This actually gives you a great competitive advantage in some ways, as you're not constantly worrying about where you're headed so much as who you need to take down as you get there. You're not confined to your initial flight path either. At any time as you're flying, you can aim at a different piece of cover and take off in that direction. This also helps give every player a competitive advantage, as you can quickly change your route if someone has left a grenade waiting at the spot you were headed towards. If you can't seem to find another piece of cover to escape to, you can also quickly press B when you've landed to jump off to your last cover spot. Another wrinkle to this is the fact that cover exists everywhere from grounded platforms to the sides of walls and even the ceiling. The experience of flying about and defying gravity is actually pretty exciting, and the game moves at a surprisingly fast pace that likens it to a twitch shooter. The maps that we played through seemed to be designed in a manner that makes them easy to remember and highly replayable. One such map saw my team and the opposing team heading parallel to each other towards the same conflict point, both teams visible but generally obstructed from damage until the choke point. The maps we saw were generally close quarters and sectional, though overall they were large enough to accommodate strategic battles rather than a chaotic killfest. After a couple of online sessions, I was convinced by Hybrid's cover-based twist and I'm excited to see how the game evolves when it hits the general populace. We were told the game will retail for the usual 1200 space bux and will eventually have a total of 10 maps to play. The developers also mentioned that the perk for being on the winning team of the first war will be "something special." From what I've seen so far of Hybrid, I can't wait to see what else 5th Cell has up their sleeves.
 photo

Historically, 5th Cell is a company known for fun and incredibly innovative games that skew towards a younger audience, such as the surprisingly deep Lock's Quest and the award-winning and beloved Super Scribblenauts (both fo...

 photo

Hybrid looks a little nuts in this developer video


Apr 24
// Jim Sterling
5th Cell has shared a developer walkthrough video detailing its new multiplayer shooter, Hybrid. If you were expecting a generic Gears of War clone from the usually innovative studio, you're in for a surprise. Hybrid has the...
 photo

5th Cell's Hybrid due this summer, looking sharp


Jan 31
// Jim Sterling
5th Cell will be releasing its first 3D console game on Xbox Live Arcade this summer, having pushed back the game to give it extra polishing. A new trailer went out today, which you can view above. Based on feedback from ear...
 photo

Scribblenauts comes to iOS as Scribblenauts Remix


Oct 12
// Jim Sterling
Cult hit DS game Scribblenauts has made its way to the iOS platform as Scribblenauts Remix. Costing $4.99, it features forty of the best levels from both Scribblenauts and Super Scribblenauts, plus ten iOS-exclusive challenge...
 photo

Warner Bros registers 'Scribblenauts Remix' domain


Aug 04
// David Rayfield
The Scribblenauts franchise has been fairly successful for Warner Bros. Interactive and developer 5th Cell so it stands to reason that the series would continue. Warner Bros has registered a site domain for something called "...
 photo

5th Cell's Hybrid delayed back to 2012


May 13
// Jim Sterling
Scribblenauts developer 5th Cell has pushed back the release window for its upcoming shooter Hybrid. The studio says it wants to turn the XBLA game into "something great", so it's taking extra time to really pour the quality ...
 photo

First screenshots for 5th Cell's shooter Hybrid


Jan 26
// Jordan Devore
Scribblenauts maker 5th Cell is departing from the DS to create Hybrid, an Xbox LIVE Arcade-bound third-person shooter. A full reveal for the game will be happening next month at GDC 2011, but for the time being, we have some...
 photo

5th Cell: 3DS is 'cooler' than Kinect, Move


Nov 30
// Jim Sterling
Scribblenauts creative director Jeremiah Slaczka has stuck his oar into the "next-gen-but-not-really" wave of gimmickry, assessing that Nintendo's upcoming 3DS is a cooler prospect than either Microsoft's Kinect or the P...
 photo

Homicidal houses: Super Scribblenauts' ESRB summary


Aug 09
// Jordan Devore
It's been a while since we got a good laugh from those ever-delightful ESRB rating summaries. What better game to get back into it than Super Scribblenauts? Enjoy this edited-for-space version in all of its "corpse-eating bik...
 photo

Super Scribblenauts art depicts a windsurfing werewolf


Jun 07
// Jordan Devore
The promise of better controls and adjectives in Super Scribblenauts has many of us eagerly awaiting any and all news on the sequel, which -- do I even need to remind you? -- shouldn't be much of a wait given E3. As with the ...
 photo

Scribblenauts wishes you a Merry Christmas


Dec 07
// Jim Sterling
It's December, and you know what means -- fun Christmas pictures from videogame companies! It would seem that Scribblenauts is the first to observe this industry tradition, sending us a lovely little picture of Maxwell and Sa...
 photo

5th Cell wishes you a happy Halloween with some art


Oct 30
// Jordan Devore
It's happened. I now know Scribblenauts more for its cute art than the actual DS game itself. In anticipation of tomorrow's festivities, developer 5th Cell sent over an awesome Halloween wallpaper. Unless you have the world's...

  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -