REVIEW : Hood: Outlaws & Legends (XBOX Series X)

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REVIEW : Hood: Outlaws & Legends (XBOX Series X)

REVIEW : Hood: Outlaws & Legends (XBOX Series X)

I was fascinated when the trailer for Hood: Outlaws and Legends was first released. It seemed to be something I could sink my teeth into, like old-school stealth ’em up. With no Dishonoured or Thief on the horizon, there’s a void in the sneaking market of games that needs to be filled.

My interest waned a little when the trailer descended into a team-based PvPvE (player versus environment) game. What appeared to be a solid third-person adventure turned into a multiplayer emphasis on teams. If you and yours must collaborate, the other side must as well. In team fights for riches, it’s outlaws versus the state.

The problem is that it’s possible that’s all it has to do. A good idea, but it lacks the meat to sustain it in the long run. Shall we see if it has the staying power to keep it together? We’ll find out whether you have a bow, sword, or hammer.

REVIEW : Hood: Outlaws & Legends (XBOX Series X)

There Is Nothing Merry About This Lot

Hood is about the legend of English folklore hero Robin Hood, as the title might or may not have hinted. Given that it’s in the title, it seems self-evident now, but I didn’t notice it right away. It wasn’t until I began playing my review copy that I realised what had happened.

Hood is a “gritty remake” of Robin and his merry men, similar to Universal’s failed Dark Universe attempt. Our hero is almost always depicted in a positive, beaming light in most depictions. He’s still the hero here, but he’s not afraid of a few arrows to the eye or slitting any throats.

REVIEW : Hood: Outlaws & Legends (XBOX Series X)

All For One (Or Up To Four)

For those that aren’t familiar, Robin Hood’s ethics have always been simple: rob the rich and give to the needy. Although his history has changed over the last 600 years, this aspect has remained the same.

Hood accomplishes this by stealing a vault key from the indestructible sheriff, locating the vault, and stealing the contents. Thankfully, these loots can be found in one convenient location: a chest. Unlike Payday, there is only one target, which eliminates the need to rob from different locations around the map. As it were, one chest to rule them all.

It Takes A Team…

Surprisingly, the character descriptions given earlier are also how you’d expect them to play. Robin is primarily an archer, so ranged support is ideal for him. Marianne, armed with a punch dagger and a handy, quick-shot bowgun, is the stealth choice. John, armed with a giant hammer, can raise a portcullis to clear a path for his companions, balances out the heavy. Tooke is your healer, as well as a professional flail wielder.

Since heroes cannot be altered in the middle of a war, finding the right balance is crucial. In theory, you’d like a Robin to provide ranged support while a Marianne gets close to the sheriff and pickpockets him. While that’s going on, John and Tooke, who are both very big, will clear the way and offer to heal. This should provide a smooth road to loot and the excruciating wait as it is winched to the protection of your coffers when it works.

REVIEW : Hood: Outlaws & Legends (XBOX Series X)

Perks of the Job

Hood, of course, isn’t entirely devoid of modern trappings. There’s a levelling, bonus, and uniform system to take advantage of, much as in most first-person shooters. It’s fairly self-explanatory how to level up: complete goals and destroy stuff to gain experience. Capturing spawn points is also recommended, as having to respawn at the beginning of the map would be more inconvenient.

Marianne’s main ability is a cloak that allows her to blend in with her surroundings, allowing her to sneak up on unsuspecting foes. Perks allow her to remain in Shroud form for longer as time passes if that is your preferred play style. Tooke improves his support abilities, while John ultimately becomes a more powerful tank.

 

It’s Not Just The State Being Greedy

To be honest, I’m still undecided about all of this “anticipated material” stuff. Call me old fashioned, but I miss the days when a game could be played right out of the box. The only changes that needed to be made over time were to enhance the quality of life.

Benevolent or Biased?

Nobody wanted to chat with someone in any of the dozen or so games I played. We barely made it through (by “we,” I mean different teammates through matches), so when it came time to divide the spoils, I returned them to the squad. That’ll teach those obnoxious jerks a lesson.

Is it obstructing my advancement in some way? Not in the least. But what if I’d played with some real friends, or at the very least people who were more communicative and well-prepared? Who knows, maybe I should have given them a better incentive.

The incremental progression scheme allows players to get by, so there’s no real penalty for hoarding or being the benevolent thief. Unless you’re looking for some cool new threads for your crew and can’t wait to flaunt them.

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It’s A Steal At That Price Though

Hood’s final verdict boils down to this: are you able to put money into something that promises to be fleshed out in a material roadmap? If that’s the case, this is the book for you. If you don’t, you won’t be too disappointed if you miss this one. The basic gameplay loop is enjoyable. It reminds me of For Honour, a mediaeval environment with team-based violence and early game content on par with Splatoon. It’s fun to get to know each character’s playstyle, discover their dynamics, and determine their strengths and weaknesses. Matches are fun, but it can be aggravating when you’ve completed four-fifths of the extraction work just to see the enemy bastards clinch it at the last hurdle.

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