REVIEW – Onrush is catching the attention of more than one driving game enthusiast. Mainly because it is difficult to call the new work of Paul Rustchynsky a simple “racing game.” There is no competition to reach the goal, or anything like positions or be in first place. Here the circuits are created and oriented to pure chaos. A reformulation focused on the multiplayer (mainly) that aims to demonstrate your skills at the wheel to hit you properly, rather than clean driving.
If I had to catalog it in any way, I think ONRUSH would be something more like a Hero Racer than any other denominator of the driving genre. Their games are divided into teams and game modes, and all the actions of the players add points to the cause. The choice of our car represents a style of play that brings some strengths to the team, but also some weaknesses. The bikes are perfect for speed and maneuverability, but very prone to a slight push to end with us. Larger cars with bigger bodies ensure an advantage when knocking down rivals, but they are also slower in the races.
The first time you see the skills of each vehicle seemed somewhat simplified, but little by little, as I was completing races, I realized the excellent variety that was in all vehicles. The eight types of vehicles available on Onrush are grouped into four categories according to their weight, but all have skills that well-used in the right game mode can achieve amazing results. It is true that sometimes the skills seem to be more focused on creating adverse effects behind us so that they can be less spectacular, but the good balance between them makes them very useful if we learn to handle them all.
I think that finding that balance (together with the possibility of being able to change vehicles according to the needs) makes Onrush a very different bet in which, on many occasions, however, we will not finish to feel that the victory has been entirely ours, but of teamwork. Even in offline competitions, I have reached a point where artificial intelligence has conditioned many of my games. Of course, there are specific individual prizes and some sense of progression in our domain as we make spectacular demolitions, but the final result is subordinated to the group effort.
Four roads to chaos
The four available modes, unfortunately, do not finish helping the experience to be very varied. Overdrive is the most representative, which calls for points for our team burning nitro, activating Rush to access the special abilities of each vehicle or making demolitions to other players, who in turn will lose points until they do respawn. The countdown is the closest thing to a real race, having to go through checkpoints, rewarding the players at the head and avoiding the base of shoves and knockdowns that other players pass through the doors.
The switch mode is very varied and fun. It urges us to start with motorcycles, to accumulate eliminations and change category to a larger vehicle. Once we change three times, we are eliminated, and we will have to help the rest with one of the large cars. To finish, in Lockdown you have to control an area until you capture it so that the more vehicles are in it, the easier it will be to counteract, forming in the circle good chaos and situations of real debauchery.
The modes are original, but the intensity that I have produced in my first games ends up blurring with the passage of time. In the offline mode, Superstar, there comes the point where returning to compete in very similar conditions becomes somewhat monotonous, and from that point, the multiplayer was my only escape route. It is, in the end, the true essence of Onrush, although one in which I have sometimes had the feeling of not always having total control of the game. Reaching the hot spot of the race in some moments can become complicated with the respawns, that leaves you with your hands tied and unable to contribute enough to your team. Sometimes, even, it has been easier for me to slow down so that the game teleports me to the head of the race. A more useful tactic than trying to “play fair.”
There are unforgettable moments because the chaos that is caused in the race, with all kinds of pieces and cars destroyed flying, is certainly notorious. Combining damage to the AI as you do tricks with the bike or turns with the car to accumulate nitro and Rush is something hypnotic, and the game has given me the best of itself when I have been able to nail an aerial shot, tempering the nitro and crushing a rival, or making a frontal crash when cutting a curve.
The circuits help. A total of 12 tracks that have some deviations and in which the hours of the day are passing, while they have variations according to the season of the year. The truth is that the Codemasters team has managed to get a graphic engine that not only shows clear and detailed scenarios and vehicles but allows this variation of light conditions at vertigo speeds and with a solid frame rate in the 60’s. Frames per second. A real feat for a game of these characteristics. I can not say the same about the sound section, that although it has some effects that show the damage to the track correctly, it is accompanied by a soundtrack that is quite generic and uninspired.
Onrush is a very original game, coming from a creator like Paul Rustchynsky whom I respect for works that I consider are worthy of more returns than they had as the saga Motorstorm and DriveClub. His vision of Onrush is again as original or more, and that is something that I value very much, but I cannot help but feel that the fun ends too soon when I get on the controls. That the game brings out its best clothes on the first date and then repeats them continually the following ones.
Refine in style
You can refine the style, and I am sure that there will be players who achieve surprising results, but the lack of progression in the vehicles, which relegates to purely aesthetic accessories, makes the experience always very homogeneous. Each vehicle has some peculiarities that make them unique. Some are perfect for takedowns, others for aerial approaches, others steal nitro and are capable of destabilizing rivals, while others are directly moles to which one must be careful when approaching. The balance is very achieved, but you miss that running, competing and gaining points for your team can change this style of play opening up new possibilities that make it more complicated, specialized and challenging.
My experience with Onrush has been mostly rewarding, except for some games in which some frustration is generated by not reaching the core of the race. Their modes are very original, and it is greatly appreciated that in the complicated years that we live for the genre of arcade driving, games continue to try to get new things. In the case of the analysis of Onrush, we value its audacity, and I do not doubt that if I had another opportunity, I would be able to take off many of the possibilities that already arise. In the present game, the result is rabidly fun, but also an experience that shines brightly and shuts off just as quickly.
Onrush is an arcade of driving like few you will find in the genre, and that is something to value. However, although it is fun to rage, its formula may end up being repeated too much like its modes. A progression system for the vehicles that would bring more variety to the set would have suited him well, although he supplies it with twelve circuits with different climates that shows a visual section that is more than correct and above all, surprisingly fluid for everything that happens on the screen. Focused mainly on the multiplayer, although with offline tests, Onrush is a bold and carefree game, which in a second part could combine all its intensity with more variety and content.
+ A fun and, above all, original game
+ The chaos that occurs at some moments of the race is hypnotic
+ The variety of circuits and climatic conditions in a solid engine at 60 fps
– The formula tends to be somewhat repetitive
– The game modes, although very original, are somewhat scarce
– We miss a progression system to achieve more depth in its mechanics
Publisher: Deep Silver, Codemasters
Genre: Arcade, Driving/Racing
Release date: Jun 5, 2018