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Posted by GG Goblin On June - 13 - 2018

Team-based arcade racing.

It wasn’t until the recent launch of Burnout Paradise remastered that I realised how much I missed the arcade racing genre. There is something mindlessly relaxing about unrealistic, stylised racing that I have really missed since the genre fell out of favour with the developers and players alike. With the arrival of Codemasters’ Onrush, from a development team related to the likes of Motorstorm and Driveclub, I thought my luck was in. I thought it was time for some high speed arcade racing in its most simple form. How wrong was I?

onrush1 (Copy)

That’s the thing, Onrush is an arcade racing game where the actual racing really doesn’t matter that much. With different vehicles having their own special abilities, and events all being team based and more about what you do with your vehicle than where you are at the finish line, of which there are not any finish lines anyway, Onrush is much more akin to a game like Overwatch than any arcade racing title. Let me explain…

Onrush has eight different classes of vehicle and, much like the classes that you would get in your favourite hero shooter, each class has different strengths, weaknesses and abilities. Also, each class of vehicle has a very cool looking symbol to represent it, which is a nice touch. Anyway, as you would imagine, the two motorbikes on offer are light and nimble, but can’t take a whole lot of punishment. At the other end of the scale, the big old Enforcer truck may not be particularly agile, but it will always come out on top in a collision.

onrush2 (Copy)

The abilities are where the game really opens up, giving players almost a strategic level of choice, picking a vehicle to complement the choices of team mates, or to cater to a particular play style. The Interceptor, for example, gives you a more powerful boost which costs more, while the Titan can help shield teammates.

A lot of emphasis is based on boost in the game. Boost is earned through crashing opponents or the AI cars that litter the game, or through doing tricks and driving dangerously. Using the boost will obviously make the vehicle drive a lot faster, but it also has the added effect of filling a Rush meter, which is another unique ability for each vehicle. Each vehicle also has their own way of filling Rush, such as doing back flips or taking down opponents. Once filled, the player can activate Rush, which gives a massive boost in speed, while also activating whatever that vehicles Rush skill is. The Dynamo’s Rush gives boost to nearby teammates, while the Vortex leaves a wave of air behind that can be somewhat off-putting. The Blade motorbike leaves a trail of fire, which is perhaps the coolest Rush ability.

As you can see, there is a lot of emphasis on team work, with many abilities supporting friendly players rather than just attacking opponents. There are four different modes that the player will compete in with their teams, each with a slightly different way of winning. At its most basic, the Overdrive mode will see each team scoring points for using boost, with the highest team score winning. Things get a bit more complicated with Countdown in which each team has a timer that is counting down, but driving through gates will add time to that team’s timer. Switch gives each player a limited number of respawns, with each respawn giving the player a more powerful vehicle and the first team to run out of respawns loses. Lockdown mode is perhaps the most complex, with a moving zone in which the layer has to stay while keeping the other team out. The modes are incredibly varied, offering slightly different gameplay while still maintaining the use of boost and rush.

onrush3 (Copy)

There is a single player mode which gradually gives access to each of the different vehicle types. Single player is an ideal mode for learning how to play properly, although it doesn’t serve as much more than a tutorial.

The player will get to choose a character from quite an excitable bunch to use as their driver, and the game has a decent progression system with levelling up being rewarded with loot crates. Don’t panic, these are purely cosmetic, containing things like new paint jobs for vehicles, and are quite a nice incentive to keep playing.

It may be absolutely mental most of the time, but Onrush is mental fun. That being said, I did find that sometimes the game felt a little random. Maybe I missed a nuance somewhere, but when a bike lands on my truck, I get totalled, yet when my truck landed on a car, I got totalled. There does seem to be a certain amount of randomness in the game, which suggests being successful in Onrush is as much down to luck as skill. Otherwise though, there is nothing really to complain about.

onrush4 (Copy)

Onrush at first looks to be filling the somewhat empty arcade racer market, but quickly reveals itself to be a whole other beast. A team based racing battle, Onrush is fast, furious and lots of fun. It may take a little while to get to grips with the different abilities, but Onrush has the potential to be a multiplayer racing gem. Worth checking out.




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