The legend of Robin Hood has been re-invented in many forms over the years, but never as a multiplayer PvPvE experience. That’s exactly what you get in Hood: Outlaws & Legends, where two groups of four will compete in stealthy-action as they look to steal loot, all whilst evading the wrath of the Sheriff and his minions (as well as opposing players).
Hood: Outlaws & Legends’ setup is pretty straightforward, with players taking on the role of one of four different characters, teaming up with three other players, and then attempting to complete a competitive heist. The goal of the heist is simple: steal the vault key from the Sheriff, attempt to open it undetected, and then carry your glorious loot to one of the map’s exit points.
Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it would be if there wasn’t another team of four seeking said loot at the same time, with no mercy shown as they try to take you out and steal all the goodies for themselves. It makes for an experience where you can never get too comfortable, but instead have to work closely with your teammates in order to get the upper hand over BOTH sets of foes.
Each of the four different characters bring something unique to the fray. The Ranger is the ideal character to use from range when you need precise shots to take down enemies. His special ability allows him to unleash an explosive arrow upon foes too, which is perfect when you need to take out a group of enemies huddled together.
“The goal of the heist is simple: steal the vault key from the Sheriff, attempt to open it undetected, and then carry your glorious loot to one of the map’s exit points.”
The Hunter is sneaky and can typically get around undetected thanks to her unique skills. Her special ability allows her to turn invisible for a brief period, and believe me, it’s VERY useful when trying to grab the vault key from the Sheriff’s pockets.
The Mystic acts as more of a support role. His special ability will highlight enemies in the environment (which is great given how dark maps are) and even heal nearby allies, though he’s a lot less versatile when it comes to attacking. He was the character I had the least fun playing as, but he can be the pivotal member of a team.
Finally, we have The Brawler, who isn’t afraid to get up-close and personal with his attacks. His special ability strengthens his offensive and defensive capabilities, making him an ideal powerhouse when you want to defend your allies when they’re trying to escape with the loot.
The versatility of Hood: Outlaws & Legends’ characters is appreciated, because there is a fair bit of strategy required in the game. There’s a big emphasis on sneaking around and taking out enemies undetected, so having The Mystic use his ability to pinpoint their locations and then help direct The Ranger or The Assassin to their locations can prove mighty effective, for example. Of course, it’s possible to sneak around without The Mystic’s guiding hand (and your allies can mark targets which helps), with players able to notice enemies in the environment and see if they’re aware of their presence. Just make sure you keep your eyes peeled – Hood: Outlaws & Legends is a dark game, so it can be difficult to notice everything.
“The versatility of Hood: Outlaws & Legends’ characters is appreciated, because there is a fair bit of strategy required in the game.”
Whilst sneaking around and taking down foes stealthily is satisfying, Hood: Outlaws & Legends falls apart when it comes to close-ranged combat. It just feels a little stiff and lacks the fluidity seen in similar titles, with combos of hits and well-timed dodges a bit tricky to nail. It just never felt satisfying in-game, even when playing as The Brawler who’s meant to be well-versed in fighting.
Whilst evading (or killing) guards and stealing loot is the aim of Hood: Outlaws & Legends, a lot of its fun comes from the unpredictability of your rival team. The AI of guards and the Sheriff isn’t really all that clever in the game, but your rivals can do a LOT of harm if they catch you unaware. I lost track of the amount of times where I got picked off by a well-placed headshot when trying to sneak my way past guards, whilst getting manhandled by a rival Brawler when trying to escape with the loot was a regular occurrence too. Whilst the initial minutes of a game are a fairly sneaky affair as you try to access the loot, all bets are off and chaos ensues when a team is trying to escape.
It can make for an entertaining experience, with the thrill of trying to defend your loot or take out your rivals making for some unpredictable yet thrilling moments in-game. There’s a lot of button-mashing and staying in one spot when trying to make your escape, which leaves players vulnerable to enemy attacks (or your opponents an easy target).
“Whilst evading (or killing) guards and stealing loot is the aim of Hood: Outlaws & Legends, a lot of its fun comes from the unpredictability of your rival team.”
This is where teamwork becomes most important, with players having to defend one another or come up with plans to take down foes. The problem is, unless you’re playing with those who are willing to use voice chat, plans can go out of the window quite quickly. I managed to play a lot of games with three friends and we had a blast, with successes occurring on a more regular basis as we played to each character’s strengths and planned out our actions. On the flip-side, I also played with three strangers who weren’t willing to communicate and it was just… bad. Not only were we man-handled by a more experience and organised team, but it just wasn’t as fun to play.
It really is a game that demands strategy and co-ordination, because without it, things can get a little tedious and dull. It doesn’t help that there’s only one game mode either, so it’s not as if you can try out a new way of playing when you don’t have a communicative team working with you. You’ll often find a lot of characters playing as the same class too, which can be a recipe for disaster; versatility is key in Hood: Outlaws and Legends, so having four players play as a Ranger won’t end well…
“It really is a game that demands strategy and co-ordination, because without it, things can get a little tedious and dull.”
Speaking of the one game mode, there’s not a whole lot of depth to Hood: Outlaws & Legends’ overall package right now. There are only five maps to play across, so you can learn the intricacies of each one quite quickly. With just four playable characters, there’s not a whole lot to learn on that front either right now. Sure, you can spend your loot to unlock new cosmetics and so forth, but the whole experience can get repetitive quite quickly.
At a lower price point and with the promise of more content to come in the future though, there is plenty of potential for Hood: Outlaws & Legends’ experience to expand. And hey, if you get a few friends to play with, there’s a whole lot of fun to be had. There’s nothing QUITE as satisfying as pulling off a perfect heist with three pals and then destroying the rival team trying to take you out… Hood: Outlaws & Legends certainly nails that aspect of the game.
When played with friends, Hood: Outlaws & Legends is a whole lot of fun. When played with strangers, it’s just a bit tedious and dull. It really is a multiplayer game that demands strategy and player coordination and, when played right, it can really make for a thrilling experience. If you end up with players who don’t want to chat and just do their own thing, though? Expect to be left frustrated. The lack of content doesn’t help either, with the one game mode and five maps growing repetitive the more you play.
It’s clear that there’s Hood: Outlaws & Legends is doing something right (I can vouch for that with the fun I’ve had with friends), but it does lack that special *something* right now. With the right amount of support and content though, I can see it being a game I’ll come back to again… well… as long as my teammates are willing to communicate with me, that is.
Developer: Sumo Newcastle
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC
Click here to visit the official website.