Announced last year by Focus Home Interactive and developer Sumo Newcastle, Hood: Outlaws and Legends offers an interesting spin on the traditional Robin Hood myth. This third person action game pits two teams of four players against one another as they attempt to become the first team to escape with the treasure. Drop in, steal the key from the heavily armored Sheriff, locate the vault, then liberate and extract the treasure. With four very different characters to pick from, players will have to contend not only with the roaming AI on each of the five base maps, but watch out for the other team also looking to escape with the treasure as well.
The Player versus Player versus Enemy aspect forms the linchpin of the entire experience and should be familiar for those with experience playing games like Crytek's Hunt: Showdown while also mixing in a little bit of the co-op elements from Assassin's Creed Unity. The core game mode in Hood: Outlaws and Legends is Heist, with the two teams representing Robin of Locksley and the Earl of Huntingdon. A training mode is also available for those who only want to go against the AI State guards either with a full team of online players or three AI opponents.
The game features four distinct characters all based around the classic tale of Robin Hood, each one bringing a certain specialty to benefit the group. Robin represents the Hunter class, armed with a bow, a smoke bomb, and his ultimate ability which gives him an explosive arrow. Marianne is the assassin archetype. John is the Brawler, specializing in melee attacks, opening iron gates, being able to block or parry attacks, and getting a big damage buff. Finally, Tooke is the mystic who can heal the group and use his flail to cause some big melee damage against enemies. Unlike a game like Marvel's Avengers, there are no restrictions on how many of the same characters players can select. This means that teams can consist of four Robins if so desired.
Upon starting the experience after running through the tutorial, players will be dropped into the Outlaw Camp. This area is the player's personal hub where they can change characters, practice their moves against dummy targets, and check out challenges to accomplish. Nearly everything in here has progression tied to it, upgraded through playing the game, earning XP, and spending gold. This in turn helps to unlock new features, gear, and abilities while characters can unlock new perks that provide passive abilities, new cosmetic outfits, and weapons as well.
Even with only five maps available at launch, they're all diverse and large enough that players won't be taking the same path twice. Levels offer many routes to the goal with plenty of optional routes like ropes that can be shot down, capture points to provide quick respawns upon death, and even zones being locked down if a player is spotted by an enemy. Similar to Apex Legends, the game also features a well thought out ping system which makes communication a breeze even if a player doesn't want to use voice chat.
Visually, Hood looks good but likely isn't going to be a visual showpiece for next-gen systems. However, Sumo has made sure to leverage the updated technology by reducing load times and keeping the game near 60 FPS with ray-tracing. For PlayStation 5 owners, they'll be getting a little more next-gen bang for their buck thanks to additional DualSense features. The enhanced haptics and audio speaker of the controller help the player feel and hear the bow string being pulled back, while depleting the stamina meter will cause the resistances on the triggers to increase.
Gameplay-wise, Hood: Outlaws and Legends places a priority on stealth, being able to take out enemies quickly and quietly will help get the team to the goal much faster. Enemies can be snuck up on from behind and assassinated instantly, even when engaged in combat which can make for a few cheap kills. Stealth kills have limited animations so players will likely be seeing the same thing over and over which is a little disappointing considering how big a part of the game they are.
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