- Game: Onrush
- Consoles: PS4, Xbox One (reviewed), PC
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Developer: Codemasters
An Onrush review code was provided by the publisher.
The racing genre has thrived since its inception due to one simple concept – be the first out of the pack to reach the finish line. Over the course (no pun intended) of its long-standing history, there’s been a few releases that have tinkered with that formula. Split/Second introduced impactful events that dramatically altered the track layout and eliminated the competition. The Burnout franchise mainly focused on the explosive anarchy brought on by devastating crashes. Forza Horizon threw gamers into an open-world and let them chart out their racing championship journey. Another fresh racing game concept has sprung up from the former developers behind the MotorStorm series and Driveclub. Welcome to the rough and tumble world of Onrush.
As a member of a group of extreme thrill-seekers, you set out on a high-octane campaign powered by automobiles. None of the challenges thrown your way entail completing a track with the fastest completion time or getting in first place – Onrush deviates from those mission types and focuses on team-based objectives instead. The four main modes of play are Countdown, Overdrive, Lockdown, and Switch. Since Onrush is a racer powered by team-based mechanics, the way you approach each objective depends on your chosen vehicle’s toolset.
This is where the game’s deep layer of strategy comes into play. Each vehicle comes with a suite of abilities that benefits your skills on the track and your teammates. For instance, the massive Enforcer can bump right into the opposition to disable their boost. This goes a long way towards slowing down the other team and forcing them off the road, which plays particularly well into the overall goal behind Countdown. Onrush keeps things interesting all the way through the main campaign thanks to its fresh modes of play and unique implementation of team play.
As you navigate through the campaign on your own or with an online friend, you level up and unlock a bevy of collectibles. Sadly, there’s no deep vehicle customization options present – after unlocking all eight automobile classes, all you can do is alter their outward appearance. Having the option to improve the stats of your favorite vehicles could have added another deep strategic layer to the game. Imagine having the ability to increase the duration of the Titan’s Shield ability or increasing the viability of the Interceptor’s Rampage skill. It feels like a missed opportunity to not have the opportunity to tinker with your vehicles beyond their appearance. It still feels gratifying to unlock new avatar skins, Tombstone tags, and more. You’ll just wish there were more customization options to play around with the further you go.
When you hop onto any of Onrush’s massive tracks, the game’s true genius becomes noticeable. 12 player-controlled and 12 AI-controlled vehicles simultaneously litter the track and cause all types of vehicular chaos. Driving all the cars and motorcycles themselves feels great – boosting, crashing, drifting, and performing other assorted tasks never grows tiresome. Onrush feels like a mixture of Titanfall and Overwatch due to its usage of computer controlled fodder for you to smash into and a focus on teamwork with your human teammates. The nice variety of tracks, pulse pounding music, and huge jumps all manage to make each stage playthrough a chaotic joy. What makes Onrush stand out from the pack of current-gen racers even more is the fact that you can change your vehicle after wiping out. This feature plays a huge part in making each challenge feel fresh as you switch up your approach and eke out a hard-fought victory that was previously out of reach.
Thankfully, the mayhem of Onrush isn’t just relegated to single-player. The online competitive options of this racer offers every game mode and lets you join a team of like-minded off-road extremists. I feared that the inclusion of 12 human players in an online racing setting could cause some issues, but those doubts have now subsided. Each daring contest I entered into alongside my online allies went off without a hitch. Everything ran smoothly even as plenty of big crashes erupted around me and my team.
Onrush will truly thrive thanks to its constant sense of progression as you reach new levels due to your offline and online efforts. But even with all the fun team-based modes present, it still feels strange to not have “time attack” or “reach first place” themed challenges. It’s cool to see Onrush deviating from your usual racing game formula. But it would have been even better to feature those old racing game mode standbys alongside the more uncommon modes that are already included. Being a part of a team is cool and all, but thriving on your own is a thrill that Onrush sadly doesn’t deliver.
Onrush feels like a long lost EA Sports Big release that was (thankfully) unearthed for today’s crop of racing game fanatics. And as an experiment in team-based racing, it largely succeeds. It offers a nice variety of game modes that changes up your approach and makes every stage playthrough feel distinct. Smashing into human and AI victims feels immensely satisfying as you push your team to victory.
You’ll constantly feel the need to keep pushing on thanks to the game’s strong sense of progression and goal fulfillment. The main features missing from Onrush (traditional racing games modes and deep vehicle customization options) keep it from being truly amazing. What’s being offered here is still a solid and memorable experience that should be taken for a spin.
Our Onrush Review Score: 7.75 out of 10