Hood: Outlaws & Legends gives off the promise of an uncompromising PvP turned PvE experience as members of Robin Hoods forces face off for one of the greatest heists to date. While the game offers promise, it also has compromised its experience, but sometimes for the better.
+Intuitive control designs that are easy to learn
+Each setting feels extremely unique from one another
+Can be moderately challenging, which is nice
+AI’s offer a unique flow to combat as alarms are raised
-Progression at times feels hindered and lacking in ways that should evolve the game
-Can be a bit difficult to master the flow of gameplay at first
Once upon a time, I’d asked myself what would have happened if Assassin’s Creed were to get a proper multiplayer game, one where teams of four assassins would go up against a team of either four assassins or members of the Templar order. In many ways, I kind of got that experience with Hood: Outlaws & Legends, a title that somehow tries to answer that, but tossing a heist experience in the middle, having players work against their opposing team and the might of the Sherrif of Nottingham’s AI forces.
Teams themselves, are divided into two teams of four, as stated previously, which sees Loxey and Huntingdon go face to face, allowing them to work against one another as they try to find the treasure on the current map, and make off with it. Of course, your actions will not go unnoticed, guards will end up on high alert and their patrols will increase throughout each heist you undertake.
The legend is more than the myth
The entire identity of the game is unique, allowing players to take on an unprecedented time within human history, but sprinkling a bit of life to it with the legends of the period. Players will find that each character, while pulling an identity from the legend of Robin Hood and his merry men, is quite unique.
The idea comes that each character is their own class. Tooke is a cleric, if you will, and focuses on supporting his team while also having a heavy hitting melee, and allowing for room of control over the flow of combat. Little John is the tank, he can take just as much damage as he can dish out, allowing him to open up the flow of combat, and of course, pathways that were closed.
Robin is the archer, the very one you want picking off targets from afar, using the shadows to keep him elusive, and allowing him to give devastating cover fire that will knock an enemy down rather quickly, opening them up for being finished by the others or the elusive Marianne.
As one can safely assume, Marianne is the assassin. She skulks in the shadows, using her ability to go into stealth, moving freely in the open in order to get the assination she needs before moving on. Thankfully, each character is balanced, allowing for each one to have their own place in combat, and each one benefits more from some situations more than others.
Robin is weak at close range, but dominates from distances further than other charaters can achieve. Marianne finds the shadows to be her friends, using them to set up assassinations or even use her three round burst crossbow to slow them down. John is the brute, the heaviest melee of the four and he takes advantage of being able to run head first into combat, using his warhammer to wreak havoc while Tooke brings balance to the chaos.
While each character sounds easy and unique to enjoy, remember, each one takes a bit of patience to master, and once you do, they’re rather fun to enjoy and explore each encounter with. The only downside? Sometimes you won’t feel your teams balance is in the right direction. Just remember, each character has benefits even if you don’t have one of each for a game to work.
That sheriff is a beast and he will absolutely wreck anyone that trys him
Now, what does make Hood: Outlaws & Legends unique is how it functions. While the game itself does focus on many of hits PvP elements, it’s hard to deny that the PvE elements aren’t equally as fun, and it’s because they truly are.
You will often see teammates marking out enemies, pinging them around the map as you work together from the shadows, hunting down the enemy team to take the key to the vault if they have it, or simply to get a starting advantage over them.
But the real fun begins when the Sheriff of Nottingham is slamming players onto the ground, showing them the true might he has, and ultimately, becoming their grim demise. There are perks to this too, you’ll find that stealth is the best option altogether. It’s highly advised as the game doesn’t hold back and it does come out swinging as fierce as it can.
That’s actually when the excitement begins to amount, as voice communication will begin to become key as players will work together, trying to devise a plan as the enemy team takes off with the key or treasure. Even though the ping system works, tactical communication is more important.Opposing teams can do what they want, when they want, and however easily they want to do it. It’s kind of impressive really.
They can be as sneaky as one might think and easily as destructive, which honestly, really makes this game stand out against titles like Predator: Hunting Grounds or Dead by Daylight, all of which angle themselves differently, but seek to offer the same unique elements.
Let the game of cat and mouse begin in order to steal the chest
Now, where things get sticky, isn’t actually just in gameplay itself. Hood: Outlaws & Legends does come around with one small issue: It suffers from a lack of change or variation. Sure, there are quite a few maps. Each of them is equally as nice as the other, however, it’s hard not to guess where the treasures will be.
Alerted enemies stick out like a sore thumb, and unfortunately, it takes away some of the challenge. Sure, this is meant to give your team some idea of where the opposing team is at so you can take advantage of it, but it also takes away from the element of surprise. You won’t find it happening all the time, but it is enough that it will seem fairly common. A real shame if you ask me.
As the key is to be as sneaky as possible, you will find that once the treasure is out in play, the game itself gets rather intense. It often comes down to one of three determining factors in where the opposing team takes it: What’s closest to their spawn? Do they hold encampments near it? Can they get to it easily if they lose those encampments?
That’s when the game truly begins to shine. It’s a game of cat and mouse and it comes down to the burning question of whether or not one of the teams can hold the objective or not and manage to get the loot back to their camps (i.e. completing the heist objective by wheeling it in through a dolly system).
Now, this is where the fun begins. As the treasure is the objective, it becomes a game of tug-o-war. Both teams will fight for absolute control over the lift, allowing them to get the gold from where they are, back to camp. The amount of gold earned varies based on a few factors, including how well players performed, how much of the objective the opposite team completed, and so forth.
This is also a downside. If you were in a match for almost 25 minutes? You’ll earn next-to-nothing. It’s a real shame too as it can be easily felt when it comes down to the loot distribution at the end of each and every match. It’s quite frustrating too, as one would easily want to get their unlocks, buy their perks, and even some alternative outfits and weapons so they can go out on a heist in style.
The amount of gold also determines what is available at your camp, which in ways, can be a major bummer as you’ll find yourself grinding out daily challenges in order to earn the gold you need if you’re on a massive losing streak. It’s just a very fierce game of cat and mouse unfortunately.
There’s a few things that will go underappreciated about this title due to its approach to gameplay, some of which includes how easy the game is to learn, how much practice it will take in order to truly master the gameplay elements of the title, but also, just how creative Sumo Digital was when designing their game.
Hood: Outlaws & Legends
Platforms: PC, PlayStation, and Xbox
Versions Reviewed: PlayStation 5
Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Release Date: Available Now
It’s a title that is rich within the lore of Robin Hood and his Merry men, but also, it’s amazing well scripted, offering a story that is often told through the scenery itself and the overall design of the game. It’s a damn shame, however, that many may not experience Hood: Outlaws & Legends for quite some time, if at all, as it’s one that truly tries to bend the mold, do something new, and offer an experience unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Our review is based upon a retail version of the game that was provided to us by the publisher for the review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook today.