Hood: Outlaws and Legends Review – Heist in the Hood

    Title: Hood: Outlaws & Legends
    Developer: Sumo Digital
    Release Date: May 10, 2021
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
    Genre: Online Multiplayer

Heist games can become complex in design, especially for one who enjoys micromanaging a plan and then watching it play out without a hitch. I imagine Robin Hood and his gang could have experienced this feeling as they took from the rich. I believe that’s what I was looking forward to most with the Sumo-developed Hood: Outlaws and Legends, but as fantastical as that idea is, the limited content creates a wall that’s tough to clear.

Hood: Outlaws and Legends is a stealthy PvPvE multiplayer heist game. Set in a reimagined Robin Hood medieval fantasy environment where teams of four utilizing mystical abilities face off in bloody combat to steal treasure guarded by AI sentries. There are three main steps regarding a heist that allow you to get fairly creative with your approach. First, you have to locate the Sheriff, an undying, hulking mass of a knight who wanders the area mumbling to himself about protecting the treasure.

Then stealthily approach the Sheriff and steal his key. With the key in hand, you must next locate the vault. Once the treasure is withdrawn from the vault, you then have to waddle like a toddler carrying the treasure as the rest of your team protects you until you reach a winch to lift away the treasure to safety. All this must be done while controlling the playing field and spawn points against the opposing four-player team. If you were unlucky enough to alert the sheriff and the AI sentries, you will be facing them as well in your attempt to steal the treasure.

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To take on this list of challenges, you need a team capable of such a task. The supporting cast has the skills, gear, and perks necessary to make it happen. Robin Hood is a cloaked ranger who can shoot explosive arrows. Little John, the mullet sporting Brawler, is a tank with a hammer. Tooke is a mystic who can highlight hidden enemies and uses a spiked flail and don’t forget Maid Marianne, a rogue assassin with knives and a crossbow. Although slightly cheesy, I rather enjoyed this grim and dark re-envisioning of the Robin Hood tale.

Physically the graphics are very pleasing. The environments are lush, and the weather adds a moody touch that enhances the dark atmosphere Sumo was looking to achieve. Although the only interactable objects are ammo boxes and the occasional door leaving this almost open-world feel slightly closed off. Further, character models lack facially and with little to no history or lore that cause them to because 2-dimensional.

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The gameplay of Hood: Outlaws and Legends is exciting and fresh. My heart raced the first time I picked-pocketed the sheriff or found vantage points to snipe the opposing team winching my treasure. The only problem was the more I played, the more glaring issues became apparent. Some fighting felt clumsy, and you can stun-lock opponents for quick deaths making victories feel less earned. Also, some distances or approach angles would throw off assassination animations.

A couple of times while playing as Robin in a congested fight, I lost my bow but was able to magically continue shooting arrows with my fingers. Often in the midst of battle, the AI sentries would just stop attacking and stare off into the distance as the two teams duked it out.

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In the beginning, I was a big fan of the teams all being able to use the same character. This often led to unique challenges and exciting situations. That is until traveling gangs of trailer park Little John’s came strolling through smashing everything with their hammers. The characters felt purposely unbalanced with certain abilities, and for the most part, it worked. Except for Little John. Fuck that guy.

Another minor disappointment is the stealth aspect of the game only feels essential during the first sequence of stealing the key. After the treasure is secured, it’s an all-out bum rush and battle royale to dominate the other team. While it’s understandable, it would be interesting to see stealth become necessary in the other sequences. Other game modes would be welcomed as well; currently, there is the classic heist mode and a “practice” mode where you pull off the heist against the AI sentries without the other 4 player team trying to stop you. This creates a game loop that becomes repetitive far too quickly. After a few hours, I was begging for more to do or ways to differentiate my characters enough just to have a more unique experience.

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Hood: Outlaws and Legends can be a lot of fun. The heist gameplay is best when you have a party of friends who communicate and coordinate the attack, allowing the multiplayer heavy game modes to provide much of the enjoyment. Still, there’s a lack of polish in this adventure, but more importantly, a lack of content. Adding new weapons, levels, collectibles, and challenges could add value to the experience.

For what is, Hood: Outlaws and Legends delivers an innovative multiplayer experience, especially for all those heist aficionados out there.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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