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Games / Geek Corner

Hood: Outlaws & Legends – Review

Hood: Outlaws & Legends – Review

Okay, with almost 50 hours in, it’s review time.

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way – the PC version is a port and isn’t designed with the core PC experience in mind. A lot of the problems I see with this game derive from the PC port – most core points are good (detailed below), but the QoL is severely lacking. Hopefully most of the majors problems should be fixed with the incoming patches.

Before throwing a bulletpoint and call it a day, I’ll need to address some things first.

This game is hard and unforgiving.

I’ve heard people compare Hood to Hunt:Showdown. And… to a point, yes. The core gameplay is somewhat close – you’re a team of 3/4 competing against other players and zombies/guards to extract something valuable. But that’s all – in Hunt, death means that the game is over. In Hood, death means that you lost 20-50 seconds to the other team.
That means that Hood isn’t about making a run for it and calling it a day – it’s about awareness & control of the battlefield, about the ability to herd / annoy the opposite players while your teammates are winching like their lives depends on it (oh wait, it does). The only times I saw games devolve into mindless brawls were on one specific extraction point on the Graveyard map (due to the close proximity of both “home” respawn)

What about the “hard and unforgiving” part ? Well, you’ll need to understand most of the small mechanics to be efficient – for example, you can assassinate someone and get a kill… but that leaves you vulnerable during the animation (oh, and that animation length depends on the character you’re playing – Marianne’s are the quickest whereas Tooke’s are painfully slow).
Making mistakes means that you will die. Again. And again. That Marianne you lost during the fight with another character ? Yup, she’s back and you’re dead. That Robin that no one saw for a couple minutes ? Yup, he’s now on a sniper position and you just got an arrow through your skull.

That means that you cannot get a proper idea about this game below five to ten hours in (and yes, that could be a major drawback for some – you’ll need to be willing to learn before you can fully enjoy the game… pretty much the same as most of the competitive games out there). You’ll need to learn, die, and learn again – on the macro level (when and how to engage, when to run, which situations can be salvaged, etc.) but also on the micro : mastering the assassinations, for example (to assassinate someone, the head of your character needs to be facing the back of another player. No more, no less… but can you do that in a teamfight ? While the other is running ? Now both, and a Robin is trying to headshot you ?). Dodging/parrying will also be learned in blood – all attacks can be dodged/blocked, but learning how and when is tricky (Example ? Dodging a heavy attack from Tooke is easy but needs to be done sideways, because that dude has RANGE. And dodging his attack allows you to punish with an arrow/crossbolt through the head).

Another thing and a recurrent critic of the game – the balance. Are the four current classes balanced ? Yes.
There is no perfection here and some matchups can be frustrating, but the key point to remember here is that every character/build has a role to play and a specific way to do so – you’re not only choosing a character, you’re choosing what you will play, when and how.
A sniper-build on Robin will get obliterated by pretty much anyone at close range, but if you can manage to get him up there and alone ? That’s open season. That puny Marianne is mowing through your ranks and getting assassination after assassination ? Then communicate, move as a group and do not charge in blindly – spot her, let her dodge and one-shot her. Marianne is powerful, but ONE missed dodge means death.

Last thing before the bulletpoint – the angry “Even if your do everything correctly and your game is perfect, the opposite team can swoop in and win by winching only the last notch”.
Guess what ? If that happens, no, your game wasn’t perfect – the first two phases (stealing the key and getting the chest) are meant to prepare the third (because as soon as you start the extraction, the enemy knows exactly where you are). Getting the chest to the extract without being seen (yes, that’s possible – with communication and coordination) means that you have a decent headstart in the winching, that you chose the extraction point (which means you’re either really close to your ‘home’ respawn or you chose the location best for your particuliar team composition) and your Robin(s)/Marianne(s) are in position to call down the nine hells on the opposing team (I’ve had games where I carried the chest and didn’t even SEE any enemy players because they arrived mid-extract and were properly wiped, then respawned too far to come back).

The Good
  • Highly specialised classes, each interesting to play and to master.
  • Great cooperation opportunities for pre-made teams (and some lucky matches with pick-up using the audio chat)
  • The level design is great, with slight imbalances that feeds into the strategic aspect.
  • Game optimisation is near perfect (the game runs smoothly on Ultra on a 6 years old computer that runs Hunt on Medium).
  • Dedicated servers (yup, there’s dedicated servers – quote from the game FAQ : “Does Hood use dedicated servers? Yes! Even if you’ll see the word “Host” in the top left, this only indicates they are the squad leader.”)
  • You can opt-out of the cross-platform matchmaking (expect longer queue times, though).
  • The ping system is enough for most quick-communication, with adaptive pings on context (enemy/ropes/etc.) and four general pings.
The Bad
  • You pretty much need at least one partner, to ensure at least a modicum of coordination.
  • No Oceanic server (server locations, per the game FAQ : North America West, North America East, Europe, Asia (Singapore)).
  • Activating phase 3 (the extraction) reveals your position – as stealth was a selling point for the game, having the possibility to do a full stealth approach would have been interesting.
  • The statistics screen (at the end of the match) has a short fixed length and there is no match history – better take a screenshot if you want to brag or study the stats.
  • Although the game is cross-platform, there is no way to send a group invite across platforms (Steam/Epic is doable, though).
The Ugly
  • The matchmaking was mugged and left for dead in a dark alley. Yes, even after the update (well, it did somewhat improve things).
  • No text chat. The audio chat is not enough for a game with a PC version.
  • “Interact” (“Pickup the chest” or “Winch”) is on the same hotkey as “Assassinate” and takes priority. You can work around that, but that’s still really frustrating.
  • Quirky hitboxes for the environment – you can’t shoot through tree leaves, and some metal spikes have weird hitboxes (you can’t shoot between them and you need to be standing to shoot above them). Hitboxes that stop arrows will also stop pings.

The End

Hood is definitely a niche game, only worth taking if you’re into competitive PvP and games that require coordination and teamplay.
If you’re into that sort of games and ready to invest some time to learn the ropes, then Hood will probably be a great experience – but if you’re demanding on the QoL and consider buying the PC version, I’d recommend waiting for one or two patches as there’s still some major (see “The Ugly”) drawbacks regarding that subject.

Score – 7/10

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