What happens when you combine the minds behind World Rally Championship, MotorStorm and Drive Club games with the company that brought us Dirt, Grid and the Micro Machines series? ONRUSH! A racer that has the all the fun of arcade classics like Daytona and Sega Rally but with its own identity and twist on the genre to become something all of its own.
Release Date: June 5th, 2018
Size: 14.08 GB
Genre: Arcade Racing
Developed by Codemasters
Published by Codemasters
Reviewed on PS4; Also available on Xbox One.
“Onrush started nothing more than as a bunch of friends, mutual thrill seekers, kicking back against a few rules that started grinding motorsport down. This isn’t racing, this is a high speed stampede. Now, they never planned to take over the world but it seems you can’t stop a good thing from becoming a big thing.”
The general gameplay here is simple. Select one of the eight available vehicles (each with its own pros, cons, rush moves and perks), then drive around as part of the “stampede”. This is the body of the competition, all the vehicles on both sides (along with some boost giving fodder ones) charging around as one almighty and insane convoy. The game wants you to stay in the middle of the action so if you fall too far behind it will automatically teleport your back up there. Remember there is no finishing line here so it’s not about where you are it’s about what you do. Almost everything gains boost and once that bar is filled you can truly let loose.
Onrush is not a racing game, it’s a menagerie of vehicular competitions. There are four game modes;
Overdrive – it’s about earning and burning through boost. You get it but making huge jumps, driving well and taking out your rivals. You burn it by firing off your nitros and speeding ahead like a Delorean towards a clock tower.
Switch – you all start on bikes, each time you wreck, you “switch” vehicle class. You have 3 switches each, the game is over when a whole team runs out of Switches. So get them before they get you.
Countdown – you have a timer counting down to zero. You and your team earn time by running through checkpoints. The skill here is to get your guys through but knocking the enemy out the way. First team to run out of time loses.
Lockdown – think of it as a mobile king of the hill. A zone will appear going around the track, you need to get more of your team in there than your opponent to lock it down and take the point.
Each of the 6 cars handles well enough, giving you control to thread through the toughest of spots or just smash on through if you so wish. My only real issue is with the two bikes. They are so easy to get knocked off and I found during the “rush” speed boost I was almost guaranteed to go careening into a wall or obstacle. Because of this, I found I’d never actively choose to use one unless the game dictated I do so.
Onrush has plenty to offer for solo players with its rather sizeable “Superstar” campaign mode. There are six leagues each containing an ever increasing number of events. Each event is based on a particular game mode (or in the case of Weekender Events, several modes). These events include additional challenges for you to complete, like getting a certain number of takedowns or near misses, and these further increase your Star rating which you need to unlock later leagues.
You can also do custom games either alone or with friends, where everything is up to you. What game mode, what track, what season (yep, Forza Horizon 4’s may be dynamic but they are still pretty sweet here and aren’t just aesthetic either, you’ll feel the difference) and what time of day you want to race.
One more thing for the solo gamers among you to play with is the rather nice Photo mode. Capturing those awesome moments, then making them look even better before sharing them with your mates.
You can take on the aforementioned Superstar mode with the help of your friends (it is a team game after all), a custom game or take on the world with Quick Play. The AI is good in Onrush but there is just something so satisfying about taking on human opponents, and with the “takedown counter” screen showing you how many times you and an individual have wiped each other out, you may find yourself actively stalking them around the course to get your revenge. Its great to play with friends too as you’ll be bragging and taunting each other with each victory, takedown and point… the way mates should.
Onrush is a visual feast. Funneling lights, colours, cars, bikes, trees, water, rocks, snow & mud into your eyeballs faster than your brain can process them. It’s like Codemasters has found a legal way to inject Red Bull into your retinas.
Its vast landscapes are beautifully detailed and varied but it will only be after you’ve played a while that you’ll actually be able to take it all in and appreciate what a stunning looking playground the developers have made for you. To truly enjoy the effort that has been put in, I’d recommend trying the photo mode, with everything paused you can see all the minute textures and details on the vehicles themselves. These wonderfully crafted automobiles can be absolutely decimated in a collision or when getting slammed from above, demonstrating the awesome damage system the developers have implemented. There’s really no downside on the visuals anywhere, even the menus are pleasant to look at while the “colour punk” theme running throughout. Just opening a Lootcrate (don’t worry they are earned in game, no money required) leads to a fun little animation of the crate being smashed open by a speeding car. The whole game is like a present for your eyes.
The music is a key part of the experience in Onrush, more so than on any racing gaming I can remember. It’s all about keeping you in the middle of the action. If you drift too far behind or speed off too far ahead of the stampede, the music softens & slows. But, once you get back into the thick of it, it ramps everything up again to its eardrum bursting best. Want to turn it “up to 11”? Then activate the Rush mode and the music gets drowned out by an adrenaline fuelled, choral scream as you burn your way around the course.
That’s just the music. The sound fx also have sufficient grunt to them, with the bikes and buggies having the expected high pitched engine whines as you go full throttle uphill, while the larger cars like the Titan & Enforcer give out a guttural roar like an armoured tank that’s full of caffeine and smokes 50 a day. As for the crashes, let’s just say you’ll know you’ve been wiped out without even looking at your car.
Onrush is everything you want from an arcade game. It’s fast, accessible, gorgeous to look at and, most importantly, great fun to play. I legitimately would love to play it in one of those deluxe arcade cabinets, where you sit in a bank of seats with your mates, insert your quid, and tear around the track. However, as I’m not a millionaire, an arcade owner or an I.T. wizard that ain’t happening but that’s okay, playing the game on the console is still an awesome experience that I highly recommend to anyone.