Two teams of 4 players compete to execute the perfect heist, in medieval environments patrolled by deadly AI guards. With the unique skills and mystical abilities of each character, moving in stealth to steal treasures unseen or dominating through loud and brutal combat.
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Reviewed on: PS5
Also available for: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Developer: Sumo Digital
Hood: Outlaws & Legends is a PvPvE, which is to say it’s similar to games like Hunt: Showdown and Predator: Hunting Grounds. It’s a genre that, when done correctly, feels like a breath of fresh air among the plethora of battle royales and mass-multiplayer arenas.
The premise of Hood: Outlaws & Legends is relatively straight forward. Two teams of four thieves are attempting to steal a chest from under the nose of AI enemies.
The gameplay has three phases. In the first, the teams search for ‘The Sheriff,’ a large Knight that holds the key to the chests locked location. Players must beware that the Sheriff as he can instakill players and sneak around him at all times. Next, players with the key will search for the gate the key unlocks and find the chest they’ll have to transport to one of two locations on the map. The final phase is, of course, the extraction of the chest, where a team must turn a winch to fully extract the chest, which takes several minutes of continually turning.
If you couldn’t read between the lines of all that, the other team can interrupt any of this at any point, and the AI can also interrupt well thought out heists. One team can find the door to the treasure by accident, and instead of chasing the Sheriff and the key, stake it out, waiting for the other team to bring them the key before springing an all-out assault. Similarly, you can win by wiping out a team and finishing their winch, turning to steal the win. That last part may seem cheap, and it sucked the first time it happened to me, but when you pull that off yourself, you’re cackling like an evil villain to the victory screen.
Hood: Outlaws & Legends can become very frustrating if you’re even a slightly competitive person like I can be. Playing the game with randoms, the basic ping system can only go so far, especially when your teammates would instead attempt to kill as many AI as they can, rather than help protect the person carrying the chest. You can, of course, turn your microphone on, but as with any multiplayer game, your experience communicating and talking to randoms will be very hit and miss.
At its heart, this is a stealth game. You’ll want to stay hidden as much as possible from the outset of a match; not only does alerting an AI enemy send more in your direction, it also lets the enemy team know where you are on the map. An alarm is especially troublesome when you’re carrying the chest or the key.
There are four classes in Hood: Outlaws & Legends with varying abilities and skills to help pull off the heist. The Ranger can use their longbow to take out foes from afar; The Hunter can go invisible to steal the key unnoticed and assassinate enemies; The Brawler hammers foes with brute strength and can hold open gates; The Mystic can heal the team and reveal nearby enemies. Each plays differently with varying degrees of skill required.
Close combat in Hood: Outlaws & Legends needs the most work, although it’s noticeably also the way the game wants you to play as the least. You can lock on to enemies and parry them, but the animations often leave a lot to be desired, and you’re not sure if you hit someone or not. Thanks to the games stamina system, this doesn’t become a spam contest, and instead, you’ll have to attack, run and use abilities wisely. On the opposite end, landing headshots with The Ranger feels fantastic, and thanks to the limited amount of arrows you can carry, you must make every shot count.
As you play, you’ll both level up your overall rank, as well as the rank of whichever class you’re playing as, which unlocks new abilities and weapons. You’ll earn gold at the end of each match as well for every kill you made, the objective you took, and a mass bonus for winning the game. You can choose to split this between your pocket and ‘the people’ evenly. The latter option is how to upgrade your base’s rank and unlock new items and skills to purchase.
Your base is more or less a lobby room with shops for buying character upgrades and cosmetic items. Disappointingly there’s no way to customize it, so who ever’s lobby you load into, they all look the same. I’ve purchased precisely zero of those cosmetics so far because the amount of gold you get is minimal, and it seems like a colossal waste.
Each of the characters has a unique ability that charges up over time or increases with kills on enemy players or AI. You can also teak these abilities by upgrading and change three skill-slots at your base. For example, you can add an upgrade to Marianne, The Hunter, so that her ultimate, which allows her to become invisible, re-triggers itself for each kill you get while using the ability.
In my review in progress, I mentioned a black screen bug that ruined my first night with the game. I haven’t seen that since, so I’m willing to forgive and forget—shoutouts to the WellPlayed team for putting up with that night’s events. There have been some small bugs here and there still, like characters getting stuck in weird animations until I attack or AI not noticing me at all. I’ve also been able to hear the voice chat of a multiplayer lobby I’m not in, which is always great. None of this is game-breaking but hopefully is ironed out soon.