It’s a video game.
But it’s not any video game. ONRUSH is a new game from Codemasters with the core development being handled by ex-Evolution staff. “Evolution?” I hear you say. Evolution Studios was the powerhouse behind the early WRC games for PS2 and the Motorstorm series for PS3. The team also worked on Driveclub before they were unfortunately closed in April 2016. Codemasters took a majority of the remaining talent under its wing and it is they, alongside other Codemasters, that are bringing ONRUSH to life.
With a roster of games as such under their belt, one would excuse you for thinking that ONRUSH is another off-road racing. One would excuse because you’re correct. ONRUSH is a new off-road racing game but it’s completely detached from what we come to assume from racing games. You see, ONRUSH looks to shake things up.
ONRUSH is all about high-action gameplay with takedowns, incredible jumps and ridiculous speeds. To ensure that each race meets this call to action, Codemasters has stripped out the fundamentals of racing games. AI vehicles make up a majority of ONRUSH’s racing participants and these aptly titled ‘Fodder’ serve only one purpose – to be destroyed. Destroying Fodder will help build up your RUSH meter. Once at its max you can unleash a torrent of velocity which hurls you along the track, destroying anything in your path.
Crashing in ONRUSH will also leave you with a less bitter taste in your mouth. If you do crash, sorry, when you crash, the game will drop you right back into the action. Fodder will spawn around you irrespective of where you’re positioned in the race too. But where you’re positioned in a race is a completely separate thing. You see, in ONRUSH there is no start and finish line. You drop straight into the action and you’re crowned a winner after earning enough points (dependent on game mode). No start lines, finish lines, unlimited respawns and destructible AI. Sign me up!
Top class racing
ONRUSH doesn’t only tear up the racing game rule book, it shreds the ever-living fuck out of it. Least not when it comes to vehicle selection. In ONRUSH there are 8 vehicle classes ranging from motorbikes through to buggies and up towards the meatier cars. But these vehicles are more than modes of transport. They’re more akin to characters classes in games like Overwatch or Battlefield. Each of the vehicles has their own special abilities which come into play once you activate RUSH mode. The key to a successful race is utilising the right class for the right situation. And that’s the beauty of ONRUSH’s ever-persistent action. Once you’ve wrecked yourself you can change your class (vehicle) and immediately jump back into the action.
Even when it comes to ONRUSH’s game modes the act of not wanting to stray from the path of ‘doing something different’ is still very much prevalent. Both ONRUSH’s campaign and online multiplayer consist of 4 game modes.
You can play the campaign, roughly 100-events, either solo or with a friend whereas online multiplayer pits teams of 6 against one another.
The aim of overdrive is to gain and release, as much boost as possible. You’ll build up boost by smashing up Fodder and performing aerobatic manoeuvres such as barrel rolls. Once you’ve wracked up enough speed juice you need to use it to build up your point pool and bring your team to victory.
Switch is a “3-lives and you’re out” game mode. When a team loses their lives it’s game over, naturally. What shakes this up somewhat is that when you lose a life you’re thrown into a different vehicle. A race will start with everybody racing motorbikes but lose a life and you’ll spawn in a car. Lose another life and you’ll be dropped into a car. This means that maintaining a lead in Switch will become ever more difficult as racers lose their lives. Let’s face it, in a game of bike, buggy, car the bike isn’t going to come out well in a game of chicken.
Lockdown bares similarities to King of the Hill game modes you’d expect from first-person shooters. The aim of Lockdown is to chase down an ever-moving zone and to make sure your team holds it for as long as possible. This is where class selection comes into its own. Teams comprising of both nimble racers and heavy-hitters will reign supreme in Lockdown. Smaller vehicles will be able to claim the zone with the bigger ones keeping opponents at bay.
Countdown requires you to solve anagrams on the fly. I kid, it’s not that surreal, but the potential for future DLC? I’ll have a word. Countdown is ONRUSH’s take on a classic Time Trial. Racers race against a ticking clock and the team who’s clock runs out first loses. You add time to your team’s clock by navigating through the small gates dotted around the track so Jedi-like reflexes are key.
Lick o’ paint
Of course with any racing game, you’d expect some form of customisation. ONRUSH doesn’t steer away from this. There are 12 characters in the game each with 18 different skins. The vehicles themselves also have unlockable paint jobs and customisation. You’ll also be able to snag custom finishing emotes, taunts, tricks and Tombstones.
When a player crashes in a race they will drop a Tombstone – an 8-bit style icon. Other racers can then smash through these to earn extra boost.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a modern game without loot crates so naturally, you gain these items from them. But. It does look like you can only earn these boxes by completing challenges in the game or levelling up your class/character. These boxes contain purely cosmetic items, though, so if the method of buying these changes you’ll not be seeing an advantage during races.
What is ONRUSH?
It’s both a racing game and it’s not. It’s a game created by a team that knows their shit. It focuses heavily on action-gameplay and as a result changes what we expect from a racing game. Putting it like that sounds dramatic but ONRUSH is a dramatic game, one that I cannot wait to get my hands on.
ONRUSH releases on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on June 5th with a PC release to follow. ONRUSH will also support the PlayStation Pro and Xbox One X with options for either 4K or 60fps.
You can find out more about ONRUSH via their Twitter, website and Codemaster blog