I was instantly drawn to this game the minute I saw the trailer, a game that was set in medieval times, had you use bows and swords for combat and with a splash of Assassins Creed thrown in. On paper, it seemed like my dream game. Using well-known characters from the times of yore you must band together and pull off the heists of a lifetime. The dark and gritty atmosphere you get from the game is amazing and the graphics are fantastic. I couldn’t wait to jump in and see if Hood: Outlaws & Legends would take the spot for the best game so far that I have played in 2021.
Set in a violent, medieval world you must outplay rival gangs in intense PVPVE multiplayer heists. Using stealth, you must try and steal the treasure unseen or dominate through loud and brutal combat, at the end of the day it is your team’s choice. Have you got what it takes to escape with the treasure and earn those riches? There isn’t much of a storyline going for the game, just steal the treasure and either keep it for yourself or give it back to the people when you go back to your hideout.
The game is easy to get your head around and it does offer you a tutorial right off the bat as soon as you load into Hood. You get to try out the four characters and get a snippet of their playstyles and abilities and from here you pretty much start your journey.
Each heist is simple, track down the sheriff, rob the key off him, locate the vault to get the treasure then after that go to one of the many extraction points on the map where your team must defend it while you also try and extract the treasure. Sound simple right, but when you throw in AI guards and soldiers, four other real players then it doesn’t seem so straightforward forward and that’s where the challenge comes in. You can play against AI in a training-like mode but it doesn’t have the same effect as you pretty much win every time, I only play this to get a better understanding and feel for the characters, so if I’m trying out new playstyles or new perks.
The four characters allow for diversity in any situation you find yourself in, if you want to go in as a team of four Brawlers you can and vice versa though I find it better to come into a heist with one of each, as The Ranger is your sniper effectively at supplies long-range support and his a unique ability which is an explosive arrow which is so cool, then you have The Hunter who is an assassin, really effective a stealth and assassination, her unique ability allows her to blend into surrounding and become undetectable to guards and almost invisible to rival players, which comes in handy when stealing the key from the sheriff. The Brawler and Mystic are both melee characters one has a hammer and the other has a flail, The Mystics unique ability embodies the environment, highlights obscured enemies for teammates, and heals those within close range, and lastly, The Brawlers unique ability unleashes your inner beast and enhances your offensive and defensive capabilities. I play The Ranger and The Mystic as their playstyles are right up my street and I have found that I enjoy the game more by using these characters.
The biggest problem I have with Hood: Outlaws & Legends is its combat, this key element should feel natural and easy to use but it’s not, I find myself avoiding combat altogether and praying I can land stealth takedowns as the combat just sucks. When in combat it feels laggy, broken, and just awful. When fighting other guards and players the perry feature doesn’t seem to work and it is so difficult to land a successful one, your stamina just depletes too quickly, and if you get into a fight that is more than one on the one you die every time. If you are fighting someone and someone gets behind you, they instakill you which is frustrating, not only this but characters can just dodge and roll away from attack and it just doesn’t make for an enjoyable experience. If you are fighting one on one just hope the other play runs out of stamina first or your teammate gets behind them and takes them down with an instakill. I really wanted to enjoy this game but I can’t because one of its main mechanics at times makes the game unplayable and not enjoyable.
Not only this but if you get to the extraction at the end and all the AI are in that area, trying to extract the treasure without getting killed is so difficult, not to mention the sheriff can instakill you too, literally just pick you up and kills you. There is nothing more frustrating than looting the key, getting the vault and treasure but losing outright at the end due to poor mechanics and stupid things. That’s why playing with friends somewhat saves it because you can communicate and rely on each other that bit more. Like with call-outs and helping when it comes to fights. I thought the combat might have played out like Assassins Creed or Batman but instead got something that personally just feels wrong and unnatural.
The hideout is where the player gets to customise their characters, practice certain techniques as well as pick their characters perks. The more you level up your hideout and characters the more that becomes available to you. I do feel as though some of the perks do make certain characters broken even more so if the enemies team characters and levels are higher you feel like you’re at a disadvantage as they would be given an advantage but I guess it’s what the game wants so.
Graphically, Hood shines, every last detail is fantastic and Focus Home Interactive has done an amazing job at bringing their game to life. Each character has its unique look and feel and I love the fact that you can personalise the look of your characters to an extent to make you stand out in lobbies and when playing with others. These can be unlocked and purchased by level up the characters as well as your hideout. I love the audio cues in Hood as they help with the heists as you can do call outs for your team to mark enemy players as well as the AI so that you can map out your tactics better, not only that but you can mark the vault, and sheriff so you can get a clear understanding of where the key points are on the maps. There are currently six playable maps each with its own look and play styles, some are bigger than others which makes for some exciting and tense gameplay at times.
With Hood being a multiplayer-focused game, the replay value is very high because there are four current characters that you can pick from each offering different play styles and hours of content. The main fun comes from playing with friends or premade lobbies as you can communicate better and know each other’s playstyles and favourite characters. Playing with randomers isn’t fun, to be honest as you can get too many of the same character which doesn’t help the heist and there is usually little to no communication between the team which ultimately leads to disaster. The fact that there are six different maps keeps the games fresh as you’re not getting thrown into the same maps over and over and when you have a unique team which is where one of each of the characters is present so The Ranger, The Hunter, The Brawler, and The Mystic it makes the whole experience ten times better as you can utilise the skills of each of the character to get a better advantage over the map and maybe even the other team.
I want to love this game I do but when you pull down the Hood you get an unpolished mess when it comes to certain areas of the game even more so the combat. The idea is awesome and when you are playing with friends it makes the experience barrable but when playing on your own with randomers the lack of communication ruins the experience and just makes you want to rage quit. I find myself playing this game in short burst, so a heist here and there and that’s it. I wanted to say this game is the next game of the year contender but I can’t because it would be a lie. Love the PVPVE element and the maps are amazing but when it has poor core mechanics you can’t get an enjoyable experience out of it and that is what I take away from each of the heists I play and for those reasons, I’m sadly having to give Hood: Outlaws and Legends a score of 6 out of ten and sadly no Legends are coming away from this review today.
Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Window
Reviewed on Xbox and PlayStation
Xbox Version can be purchased here for £24.99
PlayStation version can be purchased here for £24.99
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