- Developer: Sumo Digital
- Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
- Genre: Action, RPG, Multiplayer
- Release Date: 10th May 2021
- Platforms: PS 4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC
- Reviewed on: Xbox Series X
- Game Supplied by: Publisher
Hood: Outlaws and Legends is one of the most intriguing games I’ve seen in years. A PVPVE heist game, two teams of four players face off against each other and the world to infiltrate a stronghold, steal a treasure and safely extract it. It’s a basic concept with plenty of promise, and for a while, it was just that.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends really did have a fun-filled vibe for a while, but a few weeks in the enjoyment waned as repetition started to spoil the experience. More on that later.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends is exactly what it says on the box, a heist game. The intention behind Hood: Outlaws and Legends’ gameplay was to use its four characters and their unique playstyles to pull off the perfect heist.
Robin Hood, the ranger, acts as a long-range stealth character. With his bow in hand, Robin was able to take out targets silently whilst being the only character in the game who can open up certain pathways by dropping down ropes (why no other character would be able to do so is beyond me), and when you found yourself in a pinch with enemies, a horde of AI or you just needed to get the other team off the extraction, Robins ult move would send an explosive arrow flying and clear the area.
He was a must-have character, providing you had someone who could use his bow effectively. I found myself struggling to hit shots and that usually really isn’t much of an issue for me. The bow had a bit of a learning curve to it, requiring you to lead shots, and there was no forgiveness for being a slight hair off. That’s not in itself a bad thing but it did put me off using the character; second to that was the limit on arrows, as I found myself constantly searching for arrow replenishments and not really serving my teammates well.
Marianne is the Hunter in the mix, specializing in stealth; her ultimate renders her almost invisible. She has a wrist-mounted bolt that you can fire and is fairly good to use but it did not change the tide for me. I found her to be almost useless, honestly. Her ult, in theory, could have been the most useful, especially when you are extracting. In practice, however, even though the invisibility worked on AI, other players could quite easily spot her if they were paying attention.
Tooke is the healer of the bunch and was one of my favourite characters, with his flail doing the greatest damage and because of his healing ult he was a must-have on every team for me. I would almost consider him overpowered due to the damage potential and healing ability he has.
John the brawler (or tank) was my main. Dealing devastating damage with his heavy hits and his increased speed carrying the chest, I wouldn’t dream of picking another character. Johns ult was pretty good as well, allowing him a period of unlimited stamina where he could spam heavy hits over and over decimating enemy players who were not good at parrying.
These characters are what make up the foundation of how Hood: Outlaws and Legends was intended to play, the issue was that you had no restriction on how many of each character was in play. This, in my opinion, was the biggest flaw in the gameplay.
You could just take up a GOAT tactic from the old days of overwatch (go all tank) and in theory, just hit your way through. I have played against a couple of teams like this and it made victory exceptionally hard. Or, you can opt for the tactic my team used: two tanks, one healer and Robin. You have the two tanks to take damage and deal loads more back, the healer to keep them alive and Robin to put in damage before the enemies even get to you. This also meant we never felt the penalty of losing our heavy hitter because he is carrying the chest because we had a second in reserve.
Now to the equally large issue which is the actual game mode. There is only one, and it relies entirely on the game retaining a player base. Hood: Outlaws and Legends has no single player, it only has the one heist game mode that changes map each game, and this does lead to a fair bit of repetitiveness. New maps could freshen up the gameplay for a while, but ultimately it’s rinse and repeat. The devs have said they intend to do seasonal content and events but progression in the game is fairly quick and again you need to really like the single mode to want to carry on playing Hood: Outlaws and Legends day after day.
Moving on to the progression of the game, at the end of every game you would receive a varying amount of gold depending on if you win or lose and how many of the progress points of extraction your team captures. After that, you can decide how much of the winnings you’d like to give to the people and how much to slide into your pocket. Money given to the people would progress your hideout level and money you keep would be available for you to spend on perks and cosmetics.
This was a fun system, as you have to decide if you’d rather buy loads of stuff or unlock better stuff to buy. Everything in terms of perks and cosmetics was either locked behind a hideout level or character level. Perks were mostly bearing on character level and cosmetics a bit of both. There were also some higher-end cosmetics that would only unlock after challenge completions.
This was the long term of Hood: Outlaws and Legends, you level up both your hideout and character to equip cosmetics and minor perks that would be things such as allowing you to extract slightly faster but carry the chest slower. These perks were decent enough but didn’t offer enough variety to keep the game feeling fresh.
The world of Hood: Outlaws and Legends is the highlight of the game. The environment is stunning at times and atmospheric, with a vibe that mimics what you would expect in that situation perfectly. Eerily quiet patrols, troops on their off time, hearing the bells go off when someone is discovered and they echo across the map. It’s a true experience.
The environmental graphics are no slouch either. Pair them with the great map design and attention to detail and the world is amazing. The character models definitely don’t feel like they got as much love as the environment, but they look more than good enough in-game. The faces are a bit funky, but that’s such a common thing in games nowadays that it’s almost a cliche.
The sound of Hood: Outlaws and Legends is again well-executed, everything sounds exactly as you would expect. The atmospheric vibe is carried over into the sound as well as the visuals. Sound, in fact, plays a crucial role in stealth gameplay. Listening out for guards or cue noises from other players can be the difference between an HP draining fight or just slipping by undetected.
That is if the opposite team plays as intended, of course. Hood: Outlaws and Legends is obviously supposed to be you striving to pull off the perfect heist despite the odds. But more often than not you will find your team just rushing in without a shed of stealth, which forces everyone to play that way unless you want to abandon your team. And if it’s the enemy team that plays that way, you can bet you will get caught by guards if you are trying to be stealthy, as they will already be on high alert.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends has great potential. It has great gameplay and a stunning, atmospheric world, plus the whole concept of deciding how you will divide your earnings to benefit yourself or your hideout is great. I just wish there were a couple more modes and maybe some challenge modes that could be done single-player or with just friends.
I would also like there to be an incentive to play as intended so that we get more of the silent but deadly gameplay and give the two stealth reliant characters more purpose over the currently common brute force approach.