While F1 2018 is a few months away you will forget about the wait time with Codemasters latest racer hybrid Onrush. They have completely tore up and burned the racing rule book to bring you a title that laughs in the face of the more racing simulator F1. Onrush delivers something unique and unparalleled in the the racing universe that gives you a true rush as you play. I mean seriously this game is ultra addictive and with six mates this gives you countless hours of fun.
As with most racing titles you don’t really have a story as such and that’s OK because a title like Onrush doesn’t need a story. However Codemasters wanted to give players a background to this new IP of theirs and the career mode of the game does that and does it well. You are one of six friends and one of many teams who have created this new sport that has racing mechanics but mixed with some ultra bumping and smacking your opponents in to walls. Wreck them from the side, behind and from above, or even just wrap yourself around a tree, its all just as much fun. You have all that with an arcade experience that has been missing from racers from so long. I thought SEGA were the kings of arcade racing and that is true for in the past, but I think Codemasters has taken the crown for arcade racers of today. You are aiming to be the first team to not only set your name in stone but also to lift the founder trophy for what I hope is a racing IP that will see a brightly coloured future. That’s pretty much the story for Onrush, it serves it purpose well. I really liked the video clips as you cleared each of the episodes.
So what exactly is Onrush and why is this a title all arcade racing fans should have in their library? If you were to take the mechanics of say Call of Duty or Overwatch and used cars instead of people, then you still wouldn’t match that of the experience of Onrush. You see you have eight cars each representing their own class as well as their own strengths and weaknesses. The video below will better explain on what the cars do.
Picking the right car for the job and track can be crucial for getting the strategy right. The bikes are the most vulnerable but if you can master them they can be deadly, especially the outlaw. Landing from a big jump with this bike creates a shock wave which can take out other bikes or damage one of the cars enough that your team mate can take them down if they are quick to react. The Titan and the Enforcer are both seen as the tank classes in the game with both being effective in their own way. You can shield your team mates if you are close enough to them and the rush ability sets up mini blockades that the opposing team driver need to try and avoid. Each of the vehicles are pretty well balanced and as you play you will learn what works and what doesn’t.
The controls are kept simple and easy for anybody to pick up and drive. You steer with the left stick and look around you with the right stick. The d-pad is used for in-game talking from which there are eight phrases to select from. Acceleration is your right trigger and your brake is the left trigger however I never really use that. You will find that you will use the handbrake more which is the B button. You boost with your A button which not only makes you go at break neck speeds but also fills your rush gauge. This is then activated using the Y button and finally we have the X button which is used to perform tricks when on a bike.
You have three game modes on offer the first of which is Superstar mode. This can be played co-op with up to six players. There are chapters to unlock, with each one contains numerous events and race types like tournaments, race weekends and single races. The difference between race weekends and tournaments is that you can get away with losing a race in race weekends but in tournaments you can’t. You will also notice that you accumulate purple stars by completing challenges like getting so many takedowns with particular vehicles or wining races. Accumulating these will unlock more of the career mode, don’t worry you will have the grand final opened and accessible in no time. The A.I in the game is pretty good even in your own team if you are playing solo. There are some instances where I felt a little cheated but these are few and far between.
The other two main modes on offer is Quick Play and Custom Game. Both are pretty much self explanatory where Quick Play will through you straight in to a random room. Custom Game will allow you to customize everything from game type to event type. This is also a good mode to use to help you get accustomed to each track. With all this centring around multiplayer I am glad to tell you that the servers hold up well and I couldn’t tell the difference in quality when playing with the A.I or other human players. There is going to be a ranked mode coming soon but at the time of writing this review it was still unavailable.
If you are someone who likes to stand out from the crowed then fear not as there is quite a bit of customization on offer. It is all cosmetics but I have to say there is some awesome paint work designs to sink your teeth into. I’m already liking a lot of the dragon and skull artwork in this department. You can select from twelve drivers to represent you and all are cosmetically customizable as well. They also have bike tricks to unlock buy buying them with the in-game cash earned from races or gear boxes you get when you level up. There is also a special vendor that will put three items on sale to you every few days. You can also chose from a plethora of tomb stones to leave your mark when you get wreaked.
There are various events on offer which is where the FPS mechanics come in to play and its done spectacular well. Firstly you have Overdrive where you score points as you boost and use your overdrive ability, this is the easiest mode to master and will suit players of all levels. Next up we have countdown which is a variation on checkpoints. In this both teams have a countdown timer that each member can top up the time by passing through the gates. The Lockdown event is smiler to any zone capture in most FPS titles of today. The difference here is that the zone is constantly moving and can be testing due to the multiple routes it can take. This is what keeps these games on a knife edge and a hard event to master. This mode showcases the strategy and team work needed to outsmart your enemy. My favourite event type though has to be Switch which splits the cars into four classes, two in each class. You start off with the bike and then make your way through the four classes. The key to this mode is not to make your way through the car classes but to stay on the bike. Each member of the team has three switches and the losing team is the ones that lose all their switches. This mode becomes exciting when some team member lose all their switches but can use the titan to help shield team members that still have switches. You could also use the enforcer to hunt down the enemy team members.
When it comes to the tracks on offer they have been designed in a way that wouldn’t look out of place in a FPS title and this is a major advantage. It shouldn’t work but it does, everything from obstacles to ramps and multiple routes have been perfectly placed to always have drivers on alert. You have twelve tracks in total all offering verity and technical driving skill. Learning the tracks is helpful in some modes but in the context of Countdown that will only get you so far as the checkpoints change each time. There is nothing more exhilarating than threading the needle through the forest in the dark, or jumping over canyons hoping you have taking the right jump line. Quite a few times I have went out off bounds off of a jump. Pulling of tricks on the bike from big air off a snow covered cliff tops never gets old and bossing your way through the pack on the golf course is just the rush I needed.
When is comes down to gameplay overall, Codemasters really have hit the nail on the head with Onrush. I mean it is all out wall to tree action and you do actually get a rush from playing it. During races by performing jumps and tricks in the case of the bikes you fill up your boost gauge. There is also fodder on the track when taking out also fills your boost gauge. When using the boost you will fill up your rush ability. Some vehicles will allow you to fill you rush gauge by taking out fodder etc. which can play a big role in some events. If you are buying this game for solo play I can confirm its a blast but team play is the heart and soul of this title. The countdown mode can come down to 0.1 seconds and intense just isn’t a good enough word to describe the feeling. There is nothing better that being the lone survivor in a game of switch as you do everything in your power to avoid being taken down with your team shielding you and watching your back. A split second mistake can be what wins you or loses you the game. Its moments like this that drive home what Codemasters has achieved with this new experiment.
Graphically the games visuals are colourful and issue free. There is some amazing amount of detail in cars body works as well as the clothes and tattoos of the drivers. The tracks and locations look absolutely stunning and it feels as if you are really there. The draw distance is also up there meaning you don’t have to second guess anything. The graphics during the night really come in to there own as it does make threading the needle in forests deadly as well as cost you the round, its fantastic. The games music track is catchy and has a strong dance feel to it and one I have yet to turn off. It just goes hand in hand with what this game is all about.
The Good Things
- All out intensifying arcade racer.
- Different car classes work well and offer great team strategies.
- Addictive and gives you a rush each time you play.
- Graphics are spot on and the blinding effect really does pretty much blind you.
And The Bad
- Can be difficult to see the checkpoints in some snow covered tracks.
- Could do with some more event types, the game is that good it leaves me wanting more.
- Felt the A.I did cheat a bit, but they are few and far between.
- Codemasters had taken a big gamble with Onrush but this gamble has paid off as they have produced one of the freshest and unique arcade racers in a long while. This game is thrilling and intense offering gamers with plenty of on the edge of your seat moments. Track design is absolutely spot on keeping races on a knife edge. The cars are extremely well balanced and modes like Lockdown showcase the strategy needed to gain that extra advantage. If an arcade racer, Overwatch and Call of Duty were put in a pot and mixed together, this would be the end result. It’s got thrills and spills like never before and a unique concept that brings a new style of racing genre. I hope this develops in to something even bigger and would love to see more titles in this new genre.
Onrush doesn’t just offer intense and exciting racing, it also gives you a genuine rush with each race.