Created by the developers who made MotorStorm and Driveclub, ONRUSH is an arcade racer with a slightly different agenda compared to most other racing games. Rather than aiming to finish in first place, Codemasters have constructed a number of modes that keep players in the middle of a fast-paced race at all times, encouraging them to work as part of a team to complete an objective. This also means that respawning after deaths is relatively quick, placing you in the middle of the pack rather than the back.
Spanning four different modes, twelve maps and eight vehicle classes, ONRUSH’s central mechanic revolves around the idea of each class having a unique RUSH ability. Taking inspiration from games like Street Fighter and Overwatch, these abilities effectively act as the racing equivalent of a Super or Ultimate move. You build your meter by taking out other vehicles on the road, and seeing as there a lot to choose from (half AI fodder, half real players) there are plenty of opportunities to build bar. Each vehicle also has its own abilities that determine how it builds more RUSH bar and how it can be used to attack your opponents. For example, the Charger vehicle has improved magnetism on in-air attacks and earns RUSH by driving close to enemies. While you can play ONRUSH casually and have a lot of fun, there are clear synergies between the vehicles. These will be incredibly important for those interested in mastering a particular class and playing competitively in the Ranked Seasons (coming later this month).
The gameplay reminds me so much of the classic Burnout games, and I mean that in the best way possible. You have to coordinate with your teammates in order to crush your enemies as you constantly wipe out fodder cars along the way. This is a modern arcade racer done right. As I mentioned earlier, there are four modes: Overdrive (gain points, keep a combo, first team to 10,000 wins), Countdown (drive through gates), Switch (sort of like arms race except you really don’t want to die) and Lockdown (drive into the blue zones). All of these modes want you to focus on something other than coming in first place, which I find perfect as I prefer smashing into cars rather than avoiding them. The only mode I’m not a fan of is Overdrive which feels more like traditional racing than the other modes.
ONRUSH’s campaign is just like any racing game campaign… by that I mean it’s not very good. To be honest, I didn’t expect much because there’s only so much you can do when it comes to telling a story in a racing game. The story itself probably isn’t going to win any awards either, though again, that’s not exactly a shocking revelation. There are a number of challenges during each of the races that you can do to earn more points, I’m sure the completionists out there are going to be well chuffed having to do certain missions over and over again for that platinum trophy. It’s a lose-lose scenario for the developers, they put in a campaign and people complain that it sucks like every racing game campaign, or they don’t include it at all and people argue about the lack of content. Fortunately, if you are someone who really loves campaigns like this one, you’ll be spending at least seven to nine hours finishing each of the missions. It’ll take you longer if you want to complete all the challenges, but that goes without saying.
If you happen to have friends, you’ll be happy to know you can play through the entire campaign with up to five people (for a total of six players). Sadly, there is no local multiplayer support, so you and your rich man friends all better have their own consoles and copies of the game to go with it. It sucks that the developers couldn’t try to fit in local multiplayer at the expense of the resolution or visuals, this type of game would’ve been perfect for that.
You’ve also got loot boxes that unlock as you level-up. The loot boxes only contain cosmetic items and cannot be purchased with real money. I don’t care for the cosmetic items but I am happy to see the developers take a stand on all this loot box rubbish.
As someone who isn’t much of a racing game person, ONRUSH is the perfect type of game for me as I can jump in for a few rounds, have a lot of fun whether I’m winning or not, and be done within thirty minutes. My only concern is that now that arcade racers have basically died out this generation, I wonder if the price point is too high to entice people who may be on the fence to give the game a go. Those of you who might be tight on money may want to hold off for a price drop before jumping in, that way you can see how the developers continue to support the game after launch. While I’m happy with the amount of content as of now, I can’t imagine I’ll be as happy if ONRUSH still has the same amount of modes in October. Fans of arcade racers shouldn’t hesitate at all to pick up this game; Codemasters has delivered the game we’ve waited for this whole generation.
Reviewed on the Xbox One, code provided by the publisher.