Hood: Outlaws & Legends is an experimental blend of fantasy and thievery, plucking on the bowstrings of medieval mythology for one of the more unique multiplayer games of 2021.
The setup is delightfully simple: Two ragtag teams, each composed of four dastardly thieves, go head to head in a high stakes heist, attempting to liberate a chestful of loot from the tyrannical Sheriff.
Hood: Outlaws & Legends is described as PvPvE, which basically means you’ll be battling both human and computer-controlled enemies. It’s a now well established twist, with games like Predator: Hunting Grounds and Hunt: Showdown mixing AI in alongside human players to spice up the action.
Each heist follows the same blueprint and is split into three phases. Firstly you’ll need to locate the Sheriff, stealthily approaching the armoured juggernaut in order to steal his Vault Key. As the name implies, this will open the door to a treasure chest, though its location isn’t made immediately clear. Once secured, you and your teammates will need to carry the chest to an extraction point, using a winch to fill the progress bar and escape successfully.
The cunning twist in Hood: Outlaws & Legends is that both teams will be fighting over the same objective at all times. Whether it’s pickpocketing the Sheriff, unlocking the vault, or extracting the chest, each band of thieves can attempt to thwart their opponents, rushing them into a mistake or waiting for the right moment to strike. In those nail-biting final moments of a game, it’s possible for one team to swoop in and steal victory with a little strategic nous.
Hood: Outlaws & Legends will feel instantly familiar to those who enjoy third-person shooters and action games. There’s nothing overly complicated about how the game plays or the systems at work. Though each of the four classes available at launch has its own unique powers, with special and passive perks, there’s a great deal of overlap in how they play.
To give a very brief overview, The Ranger is your bow-wielding marksman, The Hunter excelling in stealth kills. Meanwhile, The Brawler is a beast in melee combat with The Mystic able to support allies and disrupt enemies. At the outset, none seem overpowered or too weak, though each requires time to learn, especially when you factor in their unlockable perks which can trigger helpful bonuses in-game.
PvPvE games can tend to get messy, and Hood: Outlaws & Legends is no exception. AI-controlled archers, soldiers, and knights can be unpredictable as they choose the players to target from both teams. In some instances I found myself set upon by a handful of these foes even when members from the opposite team were clearly visible to them.
Another aspect that will take some getting used to is the melee combat. There is no elaborate duelling here as you unleash a barrage of light and heavy attacks, holding another button to block or dodge depending on your class. To stop battles from being drawn out, stamina bars will deplete fairly fast, the loser then able to respawn and dive back into the action.
With the servers only just firing up, we intend to play a lot more of Hood: Outlaws & Legends before landing on a final verdict. So far, its unique gameplay mix and the devious scheming is proving rather compelling, and we expect it will keep us coming back match after match. There are new perks and cosmetics to unlock as your thief hideout gradually develops over your career, hopefully giving a lasting sense of progression as we play more. Right now, the only concerns are whether the one game mode will start to get boring after a time. That, and the usual worry with multiplayer games that a dominant meta will soon come into play as the Hood community exchange and settle on particular tactics.