ONRUSH Review

By Dave Horobin, 1 year ago
After a long history of developing racing titles such as WRC, MotorStorm and Driveclub for the PlayStation, the studio formerly known as Evolution Studios was closed by Sony in March 2016. Fortunately, the racing veterans at Codemasters brought the team into their garage the following month, and just over two years later, ONRUSH is the first title to release from the newly formed partnership.

Mixing the high-speed action of arcade racers like MotorStorm with cooperative, class-based combat found in titles such as Overwatch, ONRUSH somehow manages to marry to the differing genres together to create an experience that is as chaotic as it is fun.

04/06/2018 - Carousel

Upon face value, ONRUSH looks like it should play in a similar way to most other arcade racers on the market, but there's a lot more going on under the hood for players to discover if they are willing to take the time to learn what the game has to offer. Sure, it's got all the high-octane racing moments, crazy flips, slow-motion takedowns and bright welcoming colours of many of its counterparts and a reasonably lengthy campaign that can be played solo, but there's a lot that goes against the normal rules of racing that might even put some people looking for a more traditional experience off, especially if you'd rather race alone instead of with a group of friends.

The first thing you'll need to get your head around during your early time with the game is the fact that being at the front means absolutely nothing in ONRUSH. After racing to cross the chequered flag in first place or set the quickest pace in time trials for so long, playing a game where you are constantly competing to outscore your opponents across different objectives whilst everyone is attempting to smash other vehicles off the track in every "race" feels slightly alien. It can even feel a bit frustrating as you try to figure out what you're supposed to be doing, but once you get to grips with what's going on and how the game works, the depth and tactical gameplay ONRUSH offers will begin to reveal itself.

ONRUSH

Winning in ONRUSH is a team effort, where you and up to five others compete cooperatively with the aim of scoring more points than the opposing team by completing objectives. In addition to trying to score for your own team, it's equally as important to sabotage the opposition's scoring opportunities by removing them from the action with takedowns and other strategic moves. Playing with friends is going to be where players will get the most enjoyment out of the game, although AI will fill your team competently, at least until the later stages of the campaign when the difficulty sharply increases. You do this across four different game modes that task you with earning and using boost to fill the team's meter, passing through gates to add time to an ever-decreasing clock, fighting to take control of a moving King of the Hill-style zone or attempting to survive for as long as possible, depending on which one of the game modes you are taking part in.

Early in the game's Superstar career mode, you can focus solely on yourself and still more than likely cruise to victory, but as you progress further and the matches get tougher, it becomes obvious that you'll need to become much more of a team player if you hope to reach the ultimate goal of lifting the Founders' Trophy, to the extent where even being the MVP of a match won't guarantee you finish in top spot. This is even more apparent in the game's online multiplayer modes, where a well-drilled team will quickly dispatch of any competition.

During each match, the two teams of six players race around a variety of brilliantly designed tracks, each one offering multiple routes to explore and varying degrees of verticality, as they attempt to complete the objective on offer. In addition to the 12 main vehicles racing around the track, a further 12 AI-controlled vehicles, which are there purely for you to destroy and keep the action everpresent make up the rest of the field, or Stampede as it's known in the game. Players can earn boost by smashing AI vehicles, taking down opponents, hitting jumps and performing other feats like near misses. As you use your available boost throughout the match, a secondary "Rush" meter will fill gradually, and once full will give you an extra level of boost that can be used to help swing the match in your favour if you learn to trigger it at the right time.

ONRUSH

Similar to many multiplayer shooters where developers will design choke points into maps to keep the action intense and immediate, ONRUSH's Stampede system keeps the pack close together by spawning you straight into the action at high speed should you get taken down by an enemy or crash and will even teleport you into the thick of the fight if you begin to languish behind the pack or start to pull too far in front. The result is constant chaotic fun, where there's little to no downtime and you always have the reassurance that even when you're performing badly in a match, you have the chance to make amends for it within a few seconds.

The small garage of eight vehicle classes to choose from in ONRUSH sounds tiny when compared to many other racing titles, but there are benefits to keeping the number down, as you'll need to familiarise yourself with all of them in the campaign and even more so if you wish to be competitive online. Each one has its own set of three skills, capabilities and traits, along with distinct strengths and weaknesses to help create a hero shooter-esque rock-paper-scissors balance among them. For example, Outlaw is a nimble motorbike that can earn additional Rush relatively easily by performing tricks over the many jumps on each track and can even cause some damage when you land. Its Rush ability drains boost from opposition racers, but you must be in range to do so, leaving you open to being easily taken out by the other heavier vehicles. The Enforcer, on the other hand, is a much larger truck type of vehicle which is naturally slower and more cumbersome to manoeuvre around the track. Its Rush ability blinds enemies who are trailing behind, but it's not so easy to get to the front of the pack to make any use of it.

ONRUSH

Unfortunately, being pre-release, there wasn't much opportunity to experiment with the different vehicle classes online. At the time of writing, the Ranked game mode is currently unavailable leaving only Quick Play where you drop into a match with random players and AI but judging from the difficulty spike in the single-player/co-op campaign, knowing your role in each match will be the key to helping your team to victory and will be what separates the best players from the rest.

In both the game's visual and sound departments, ONRUSH excels. The music is the standard fare of high BPM dance music, but it also alters dynamically depending on what you are doing in the race, pumping faster and louder as you Rush for example. The tracks look stunning and are all available in different weather conditions and times of day that will dynamically change throughout the course of each match, and will even alter in appearance as you progress through the seasons of the career. On both the standard Xbox One and Xbox One X, the game runs smoothly without any issues, although there are noticeable improvements on the X where the game makes use of 60 FPS, HDR and 4K.

ONRUSH

In terms of replayability, the Superstar campaign mode which can be played either in solo or preferably with up to five friends against AI opponents offers over 50 events, with some taking place over multiple matches. Being competitive in later events will take some practice — or the help of a few friends, and the addition of optional challenges during each match will give players something to strive towards until they fully complete the mode. The real longevity in ONRUSH is likely to come through its online modes. Similar to online shooters, players can join mid-match with a friend or in Quick Play with fast turnarounds between each match giving it an irresistible appeal.

The majority of the achievements in ONRUSH are relatively straightforward and will come with progression through the Superstar campaign either solo or with a group of friends cooperatively. As mentioned earlier in the review, however, the game has been made with co-op in mind, and so winning the Founders' Trophy and completing all of the challenges in each race is going to take some dedication and practice or the help or a few friends to make it easier.

Check out our Best Xbox Arcade Racing Games Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.

Summary

ONRUSH has a lot going for it. The high-octane action is constantly intense. It looks and sounds stunning, especially on the Xbox One X, and it's easy to pick up and play initially but has an added layer of depth thanks to its class-based gameplay that will make it hard to truly master. If you're looking for a standard arcade racer to play alone, it's probably not for you, but if you're looking for something different and have a few friends willing to team up, ONRUSH feels wholly new and chaotically fun.
4 / 5
ONRUSH
Positives
  • Fast-paced chaotic fun
  • The Stampede keeps the action constant
  • Visuals and sound are stunning
  • Well-balanced vehicular combat
Negatives
  • Will need some friends along for the ride to fulfil its potential
  • No matchmaking for Superstar mode
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent approximately 15 hours causing as much mayhem as possible across ONRUSH's Superstar, Quick Play and Custom game modes, unlocking 27 of the 32 achievements along the way. A copy of the game was supplied by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.
Dave Horobin
Written by Dave Horobin
Dave is the TrueAchievements Social Manager and has been a Newshound since 2010. When he's not chasing developers and publishers for early review copies, he can usually be found on the TrueAchievements social pages discussing all things TA related.