Hood: Outlaws & Legends offers a more focused, thematic take on the PvPvE battle royale – gaming’s current most popular genre.
It’s also a title that proceeds to stab you in the back and steal your wallet before you’ve even managed to get the monster-infested vision of Hunt: Showdown out of your mind.
At its core, Hood’s an online medieval heist game that sees you and your band of merry men (and Marianne) break into a castle to steal a treasure-chest filled with the state’s ill-gotten gains. The formula is always the same: pickpocket the Sheriff, open the vault, extract the chest, and winch it to freedom.
But here’s the kicker: another band of player-controlled outlaws is hunting that chest, too. It gives off some real parallel dimension vibes as you face a team of bloodthirsty doppelgangers, trading blows across the map until one team manages to winch the loot to freedom.
It’s a decent loop, supported by diverse maps dotted with enemies, respawn points, and various modes of ingress, and also Hood’s roster of reprobates. Each of the four characters fulfils a particular niche, whether it’s Marianne’s ranged stealth and agility, or John’s speedier winching and ability to lift a closed portcullis.
It feels special to stealthily infiltrate a citadel, working together, and using character strengths to overcome obstacles. But the issue is it rarely happens that way. Hood’s enemies are too dumb and easy to assassinate from behind even when they’re alerted, which doesn’t exactly incentivise stealth. The Sheriff – an armoured juggernaut who can one-shot you – is the only enemy who feels like a threat, but he’s generally too slow to catch up.
PvP is also unbalanced. That you can immediately assassinate any player from behind when crouching is tantamount to the exploitable Dark Souls back-stab (which hindered PvP in that game too). There’s also no limit on the number of characters you can bring, meaning a team could just use four Johns to melee blitz the level.
Issues with matchmaking are also rife, and typically I’d spend around five minutes waiting for a game, which is bad when Hood only has one mode. Having written all this, Hood still has the potential to go right where Hunt: Showdown went wrong in terms of post-launch support.
It took Hunt three years to get a new boss, whereas Hood already has a new mode and map incoming. Whether they appear or not is another question, but with a couple more modes and PvP rebalancing, this is a game that could be great. Right now, though, it’s only decent.
I love Hood’s maps – sprawling castle complexes and citadels perched on the coast, surrounded by graveyards, or rising from marshland. These areas, with their climbable structures and secret tunnels, form a fantastic foundation for future modes.
Hood: Outlaws & Legends has potential, but right now, issues with matchmaking, PvP, and lack of game modes mean it’s hard to wholly endorse.