I’ll be honest here, after playing the Beta for OnRush I had no intentions of picking the game up as it seemed like an ‘always online’ game with an emphasis on team play rather than single player. However, I’m so happy to say that I was partly wrong in my assumption. Sure, there is a multiplayer side to the game and the overall concept is based on two teams battling it out with each other on the track, but there is so much more than that going on – plus it has a single player mode!
To say ‘I was surprised’ is an understatement, I’ve put in about 10-15 hours so far and I’m still nowhere near the end. Each playthrough keeps me entertained even though I’m facing the same opponents and on the same tracks. Even the loot boxes have sparked a bit of interest in me in terms of what their contents could be – something I usually detest and hate to see within a game. So, whats so addictive and good about this game? Let’s find out…
There may be a story in OnRush but I’ve not really looked into it and to be honest, I don’t care. My main focus is on the gameplay and the performance the game throws at you. I don’t need to know if driver X is aiming to become number one by facing off against 11 other contestants, I just want to drive around and smash people up. Boy did I smash people up! With Codemasters and several members from the ex-Driveclub studio, Evolution, in charge, we were bound to get a game that combines speed with pure adrenaline action.
However, OnRush isn’t your usual driving game. The aim of the game isn’t who can finish first or how fast you can go – this game is all about teamwork and combining your collective victories in order to thrash your opponents. I’ll talk more in-depth about the modes below, but you basically have various modes where you have to perform certain things along with your teammates in order to finish on top. Saying that; each level has ‘completion coins’ which are like the stars objectives in Driveclub, but you don’t even have to be victorious in a lot of the races in order to obtain 100% of them.
If the game sounds a little confusing – It’s a driving game yet you don’t race, you don’t need to ‘win’ in order to get all the points, and it’s a multiplayer game in single-player – then stick with me, as the game is actually really interesting…
What is OnRush?
Before I talk about the actual game modes I need to first explain how the game works in general – this information is true among all the different game modes. Each race (I’m going to call them races even though they aren’t actually a ‘race’ as such) consists of two teams of 6 drivers, if you’re in single-player then the other 11 will be CPU controlled, if you’re in multiplayer then they will be human controlled. Also on the track are numerous ‘cannon fodder’ vehicles – just like the smaller minions in League of Legends – which are there purely to get destroyed. As you play, you’ll want to obtain a boost so you can take people out, perform bigger jumps and even win in some game modes – boost is obtained by jumping, doing tricks, killing the cannon fodder and taking people down.
Also, the more you boost, the more your ‘Rush’ meter builds up. Once the Rush meter is at its max, you can hit the button and you basically became the Gold Star Mario Kart character as you bash everyone you come into contact with. The only downside – you can’t stop and you’re not invincible, so if you go face-first into a wall then you’re dead! Another thing to note, you’re never out of the action. If you fall behind then the game will teleport you back to where the action is – the game wants all twelve of you to always be within the same vicinity of each other – which makes a big map instantly become a very small, and intense, combat ground.
Okay, so where do we begin when explaining how the game works? Let’s start with the actual game modes: Overdrive, Switch, Countdown, and Lockdown mode.
This is the simplest mode, in my opinion. Think Burnout but in a multiplayer aspect. In this mode you have one goal, as a team, you must cumulatively obtain the most points – points which are earnt by boosting and Rushing. That’s right, just like the ‘Takedown’ missions in Burnout Paradise, you are tasked with smashing into your opponents and slamming them into walls, off cliffs, into each other, and landing on top of them in order to gain a boost. You can also do any of the aforementioned things such as killing the cannon fodder vehicles, performing tricks/jumps and even picking up powerups dropped by your colleagues (which I’ll come to later). The victor is the team who amasses a certain amount of points first.
This mode didn’t click with me at first, but after playing it a few times I really started to enjoy it. Basically, it’s a game of cat and mouse. You all begin on bikes, the fast and nimble vehicles which can duck and dodge between all the opponents and hazards on the road. The objective here is it both try and stay alive as well as take out your opponents who are also still on bikes. Once someone has fallen, they will respawn in the next class, the light car. The same principle applies here – try to stay alive whilst taking out those smaller than you. You have three ‘switches’ until you are only allowed to have a heavy class of the car. Once in this car, your objective is to take out the opponents who are still in previous vehicles and with ‘lives’ left to be taken. The first team to lose all their switches loses the round. It’s a bit more complicated than Overdrive, but it’s a really fun mode.
This is yet another ‘simple in premise’ race which I really enjoyed. As the name suggests, you are fighting against a clock in this mode as both teams are driving with a ticking clock at the top of the screen. There are time gateways plastered all over the track and you have to try and pass through as many as possible in order to increase your teams time slightly. The more gates in a row you pass through, the bigger the bonus your team receives. However, the opponents will try and slam you, knocking you out of action for a few seconds, or even knock you away from the gates before you can get through. As such, you must do the same whilst also being mindful of getting through each gateway. Whichever team hits zero first, loses the round.
I personally don’t like this mode, if I’m being honest. It’s basically King of the hill, but with moving targets, whilst you’re in a car that tends to drive in neutral which doesn’t like to speed up to reach the zones in most instances. Basically, as you’re driving, zones will appear on the course and you must drive into them in order to claim them. The team with the most number of cars within the zone is the one that begins to ‘claim’ it. For example, if you have two vehicles there but the opposition has three, then their counter will begin as it becomes theirs. That is unless you smash them out of the zone or another one of your team gets into the zone. I didn’t like it as I found a lot of times that even using the boost, I couldn’t catch up with the zones. The winner is the team who claims the ‘goal’ number of zones.
So, that’s the four main ‘modes’ of the game, but that’s not all the game has to offer. As I mentioned before, you have both a single-player and multiplayer mode within the game, single-player is known as ‘Superstar’ and sees you working through six ‘themed’ events. Each ‘event’ has a number of races within them, some of which are tournaments and built up of up to six races one-after-another. True, the game is a little repetitive on paper as you are basically doing a mix of the four above modes on a lot of different tracks and it’s always six-on-six action. However, due to the fast pace of the game and the level of the CPUs, every race felt different to me even though I knew I was playing the same things.
Also, as stated above, you can win all the ‘points’ of an event by losing. “How does that work then” I hear you cry… Well, let’s take a look at Uprising (the second event) and race ‘Energy Sap’. That race has three criteria to obtain all 140 ‘points’: Outlaw – Boost Drained, Outlaw – Slam takedowns or assists, and Bike tricks. Outlaw is the name of a vehicle. So, you have to drain all the boost in one go with that vehicle, take down one opponent with a slam or an assist, and perform a few bike tricks within the level. If you obtain all of these (in one match or over multiple) then you obtain all 140 ‘points’. No need to even win the race.
What are the points for? It’s basically the ‘Three-Star’ annoying progression system, but done so much better. If you don’t know what the ‘Three-Star’ progression is, I talk about it in my Jydge review – you basically have to complete certain things to obtain stars, stars which let you unlock newer levels/events/races. However, with OnRush giving you points, it means you can unlock things a lot faster and you don’t have to perfect everything in order to play the rest of the game – which is a good thing!
Characters and Vehicles:
I mentioned Loot crates in my opening paragraph and I stick by what I said, I actually enjoy them within this game. You can’t buy them with real money and the items within are nothing but cosmetic items – so no pay-to-win here. You earn a loot crate every time you level up your profile, something which is very easy to do and nobody will have any issues obtaining numerous loot crates before they even realise it! The items you get will range from character skins, vehicle skins, victory emotes, and emblems.
Speaking of characters, There are twelve characters within the game, each with their own distinct look and personality. However, you will only be seeing these on the menus and if you rank high enough for a medal at the end of a race, otherwise you’ll just be looking at the car in-game. The only thing I didn’t like about these was that everything is unique and individual. I know, that sounds awesome! What I mean is, if you get an emote for one of the characters then they are the only one who has it – you have to randomly find one for your character in the loot crates. Now, I know it’s not a big issue, but when you become attached to a character and you want to play as them, that’s when the loot crates become a pain, as Forest Gump would say, you never know what you’re gonna get.
There is a shop which rotates it’s stock every 24 hours though, a shop which sells you things which you can buy with in-game earnt money. So, using that you can buy things for your character if they have anything specifically for them. They only list three things at a time before the refresh and you can’t guarantee whose items they will show. All-in-all, I think the loot crates have been done well, but I just wish I had more control over buying the things I want for my character rather than random things for people I probably won’t ever use. Although, I imagine that’s so you change your character and try out others. I’m just sad as I use Sam yet I’ve yet to find a victory emote, so I just stand there, lifeless when I earn a medal at the end!
Another strategic part of how to win the races is which vehicle you wish to use. Not only do you have your four classes: Bikes, Light Cars, Medium Cars, Heavy Cars; but each one has their own special ability and passive abilities. For example, the ‘Blade’ bike has a special ability which means when you die and your tombstone is dropped – if an opponent drives over it, then they are temporarily blinded. The bike also has passive abilities which means using Rush leaves a trail of fire behind it and you get more Rush if you do front or backflips. Compared with the Medium Car, the ‘Dynamo’, that has the ability to drop boost pick-ups as you boost. The Dynamo’s passive skills are: If you use Rush, then nearby teammates are energized with boost, and you earn Rush by driving near teammates.
So, each race isn’t just about jumping into the first car and sticking with it, it’s about thinking strategically and picking the right car for the job – a bit like Overwatch. Do you want to be the support vehicle that helps out your teammates, or do you want to be the tank and get in there and smash everyone up? The choice is up to you.
Finally, I need to talk about the multiplayer – it’s awesome and so much fun! You can jump into a ‘Quick Game’, as with any multiplayer game, and I found I was dropped right in within 10-20 seconds in most instances – which is really good for quick sessions. If you want to fully customise your race though, then you can. Everything from the track, season (Forza isn’t the only game with this), time of day (which is dynamic), mode, the names of the teams, and even the difficulty of the CPU (who are there until real people join). You can tweak everything to your liking and then jump straight in and start playing, even if there is nobody online yet – as they will hot-swap during gameplay.
One feature which is currently missing, with a ‘Coming soon’ tag, is Ranked online play. I’ll be sure to play this once it goes live in the future as I’m really enjoying the online community so far. Nobody’s vehicle is ‘better’ than anyone else’s, everyone has access to the same vehicles – which means the win is all down to skill and luck.
Graphically the game is awesome. On the PS4 Pro you have the option to run it at 1080p with a solid 60fps or at a higher resolution but 30fps. My recommendation would be to stick to the 60fps mode as this game fully embraces the 60fps to deliver a silky smooth experience without really sacrificing any graphical settings, other than the resolution. Everything looks so bold, colourful, sharp and graphically beautiful. The character models are great and the vehicles are all excellent. This is showcased by the incredible in-depth photo mode which is included. The above slideshow is of images I took within the photo mode – the mode which has more options and settings that I’ve seen in other photo modes out there so far. It’s a great tool for those who like to take pictures in-game.
The sound is equally as good, with fitting music for the tracks and menus as well as the sound effects which sound spot on. I can’t really say much about the sound in this game as there is nothing to fault and nothing I would change – it gets you in the mood and works perfectly.
Overall then, I really enjoyed playing the game, especially after I played the Beta and said to myself that I wasn’t going to pick it up due to the game feeling boring and baren. I was so wrong – I had a blast playing the game and I’ll continue to play the game going forward as well. The only issue is that there isn’t a standard ‘Racing Mode’ within the game – I can see why, as they have these four new modes, but it would have been nice to have just one standard racing mode. The random crates work really well too, although I would like to pick what character I would like things for or at least get a higher percentage drop for my currently selected characters gear. I’m fed up getting things for everyone but the guy I play as. Technically though, the game run perfectly on both the PS4 and the PS4 Pro at either 30fps or 60fps (on both) with nothing but a resolution sacrifice.
OnRush is a different type of racing game, you aren’t trying to come first or be number one, you’re trying to complete set objectives as part of a six-man team. The four modes offer a lot of variety when combined with the many different stages, vehicles, time of day, and seasons. The only downside I had was the randomness of whose cosmetics you receive it the in-game loot crates and the lack of a standard ‘race’ mode. Whether you’re playing it in single-player or multiplayer, you will find hours upon hours of entertainment as you smash, crash, boost, and rush your team to victory.
- Fast and furious gameplay
- Graphically the game looks stunning
- Interesting take on the whole 'racing' genre
- Addictive and has a 'just one more go' vibe
- The photo mode is great, with tonnes of options for the enthusiast
- The loot boxes work, but you aren't guaranteed items for your chosen character
- Would be nice for one 'normal' race mode