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Hood: Outlaws & Legends Review. Steal, kill, don't touch the geese

The first and foremost thing to know about Hood: Outlaws & Legends is that it can hardly be called a full-fledged game. This is a demo. Quite efficient, sometimes beautiful, often exciting. But the project seems to be designed not for gamers, but for investors: look, they say, how great we have adapted the PvPvE mechanics to the historical setting! Now, please, give me money to finish this.
There would be much fewer questions if Hood came out as an early access alpha version. Or as an additional mode in addition to the co-op PvE game - that was the original conceptBut the interesting idea was not lucky enough to get to Sumo Digital, a pragmatic British company specializing in ports and low-cost licensed games. And here is the story of the impudent villain who kept the whole of Nottinghamshire in fear, shrank to a medieval deathmatch in three pines.

Censer on the visor

Was he really the good robber Robin Hood? Some legends consider him a simple yeoman from the village of Locksley, others - an unjustly convicted nobleman, Earl of Huntingdon. The developers decided to combine both versions: in the Hood universe, two gangs of "robins", Locksley and Huntingdon, simultaneously operate at once. They are also two opposing factions fighting for a chest of gold.
Robberies take place in three stages. Teams (each of four) start at different ends of the map and gradually move towards the center, where the Sheriff of Nottingham wanders with the keys to the treasury. You can't take him impudently - the armored boss is, in fact, invulnerable and, in addition, breaks through the robber's heads with his steel boot. We have to act secretly: wait for the Sheriff to step aside, and, sneaking up from the back, steal the cherished keys.
By this time, one of the players, as a rule, has already managed to discover the treasury itself - for added intrigue, its location changes in every match. Having interrupted the guards and turned the key in the door, the bandits proceed to the final stage. It is necessary to bring the chest with gold to the point of evacuation, and then defend it until the retreat ends. Additional condition: players lift gold with a winch, gradually recording progress, but only the team that completes the loading wins. The vilest villains wait for their rivals to do all the dirty work for them, and in the last thirty seconds, they simply take control of the winch from them.
The sheriff is dumb, and you can only get into his clutches through ignorance or carelessness. All the more pleasant, when fighting with another player, accidentally bring him to the boss passing by. The Sheriff will gladly finish off the enemy for you!
In theory, the match is structured dynamically: stealth - research - escort, and defense. However, alas, all the maps are mixed by the notorious PvP. Often, already at the beginning of the round, you have to go head-on: having noticed each other, the robbers-people forget about the NPC-guards and focus only on stabbing the enemy. The winners continue on their way to the goal, and the losers respawn at the nearest checkpoint. The number of respawns is infinite, which means that speed is more important than stealth. The silent robbery now and then develops into a protracted street fight.
Artificial intelligence reciprocates the players: the patrolmen do not climb on the rampage and ignore everything that does not happen directly under their noses. It would seem, why are they needed then? For an alternative! Those who are unlucky in PvP skirmishes can always score a hundred or two points, plucking evil on the computer guards. Or by capturing control points. Or by breaking open locked doors and lowering ropes from the fortress walls, thereby increasing the mobility of the team. Everyone, regardless of their level and style of play, has a way to feel like they are in business.
Moreover, the main arsenal of abilities does not depend on the selected class. Yes, each character has its own specialization: Robin is a sniper, Little John is a melee tank, Brother Took is a support with a battle censer, and Lady Marion (for some reason here she is called "Marianne") is a damage assassin. Sometimes the game even provides an excuse to take advantage of their unique skills. For example, John can raise a closed gate, and Tuk, having saved up energy, gets the opportunity to heal allies.
Strongman John moves faster than others with a chest, but while he is bound by a burden, the team loses a powerful melee unit
At the same time, any character can hide in the bushes, dive through holes in the walls and pick locks - only the animation changes. Each has its own analog of a smoke bomb to escape the pursuit. And, most importantly, instant kill is available to all classes: all you need to do is sneak up on the enemy from behind. Most likely, this is done in the interests of balance, so that even a team of four Tooks has a chance to win. But with such “versatility” of characters, the dynamics of battles suffer - the players have no motivation to try themselves in new roles.

Reconnaissance in force

Interestingly, skills alone don't solve anything. And even pumping has little effect on their effectiveness: plus one bomb in your inventory, plus a couple of seconds to the duration of the ability. For the victory, tactical thinking, knowledge of the map, and understanding of the dynamics of the match are much more important, and this comes with experience. Points for especially strong buffs are accumulated so reluctantly that, for example, for Robin's only explosive arrow (the local analog of the bazooka) it is better to gain the moment in advance.
And simple arrows with grenades run out extremely quickly - therefore, it is useful to memorize the location of the supply boxes and the shortest path to them. Each map is a multi-level maze, the progress along which is often not obvious. In addition, when the guards do notice the robbers, all the main routes are immediately blocked by a heavy grid, and players have to look for workarounds. Which, by the way, you can turn to your advantage by deliberately raising the alarm on the way of your opponents and slowing down their progress.
A timely intercepted control point can seriously knock the enemy back and turn the tide of the battle
Maps, however, differ in architecture, but not in design. Almost the entire starter set of locations plays on the same theme: a castle in the forest, a castle in a swamp, a castle in the rain ... and in the first DLC, a castle in the mountains is also expected! The monotony quickly becomes boring, even if all these gigantic fortresses are rendered very impressively, and their scale is well debugged. The maps are cramped enough for regular encounters with the enemy, but at the same time confusing enough to spend an hour or two looking for the optimal route.
All the more complaints about the local matchmaking system. Beginners will have a hard time right now: the game now and then throws level 10-20 fighters on, say, level 80-100 archers, who quickly take advantageous positions and give the noob headshot after headshot, like Olympic biathletes. Given that many of the evacuation points are located in the lowlands (that is, they are perfectly shot), such a team of Robins can easily control the battle. Anticipating an imminent defeat, many simply flee the lobby, noticing overly pumped veterans in the enemy squad.
The lack of content only exacerbates the skew in skill levels. Hood currently has only one competitive mode and five maps that won't take long to master. But if the first players could afford to explore the locations in a more or less calm atmosphere, the newcomers will have to do this under the incessant attacks of the enemy.
Each character and location has its own tragic backstory. However, the plot load is placed in a separate menu and opens only for victories in matches.
Even in its current form, Hood: Outlaws & Legends is capable of captivating those who lack the Middle Ages in Payday 2, and hide and seek in the bush, and instantly kills in For HonorBut, alas, the fuse of the game is barely enough for a couple of hours - until you try all the cards or for the tenth time you get a sledgehammer from a high-level opponent.
Of course, plans for the further development of the project have already been announced, with promises of new classes, modes, and "important gameplay additions" (whatever that means) within the first year. Perhaps then the price tag will become more adequate, and the matchmaking will be debugged, and the game skeleton will at least acquire the appearance of meat. But while it is difficult to get rid of the feeling that the developers did not listen to the commandment of their hero. Something about "robbing the rich."
  Pleased
Hood: Outlaws & Legends Review.  Steal, kill, don't touch the geese
  • addictive gameplay;
  • multilevel locations;
  • success requires skill;
  • a variety of pumping methods;
  • high potential for development.
  Upset
Hood: Outlaws & Legends Review.  Steal, kill, don't touch the geese
  • the absolute minimum of content;
  • monotonous setting;
  • unsightly combat system;
  • unbalanced matchmaking;
  • the classes differ slightly from each other.
  How we played
In what: The key is provided by the publisher.
What: PС.
How much: about 8 hours.
  Achievement of the edition
Hood: Outlaws & Legends Review.  Steal, kill, don't touch the geese
"Attention, the doors are closing"
Kill John so that he drops the gate on a comrade.
  About localization
Russian subtitles. There is not much text, but it is translated clearly and competently.
Hood: Outlaws & Legends Review.  Steal, kill, don't touch the geese

Verdict
At the heart of Hood: Outlaws & Legends is a solid concept. But it is only implemented in the most general terms, the most similar mechanics. The developers still have a chance to tweak the balance and add variety to the game in future updates, but it is unlikely that many players will want to wait for them.

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