Part of me thinks that Evolution Studios would've found continued success on the PlayStation front had Sony continued to allow them to make MotorStorm games. That's where the team was at its best with arcade-style racing that didn't hold back.
Alas, they made DriveClub instead; and it performed so badly on the PS4 front that Sony shuttered the studio. But a happy resolution came from it, as Codemasters rehired most of that team to work for them under the squad name of Codemasters Evo. And now their first project, OnRush, has arrived.
And I'm happy to report it recaptures the destructive spirit that MotorStorm introduced so long ago, while introducing new features that reinvigorate the arcade racing genre as a whole. It's not perfect, but it's a rush all the same.
Rather than being set up as a racing game with a start and finish line, OnRush is built more with a competitive edge. Your job is to attain as many points as possible with your squad through a number of modes. For instance, in Countdown, your primary goal is to get through as many lit-up gates as possible before time runs out.
Crash Or Burn
However, strategy runs deeper than that. You can actually miss a gate or two to knock an opponent off course. By doing so, they'll miss three or four gates and make up time for your team in the long run.
It's this team dynamic that makes OnRush stand out from other racers of its kind, as you have to work with your allies and against enemies in the best way that you can. But you're not always guaranteed success, as your rivals can easily knock you off course or turn your car into a smoldering wreck if you're not careful.
Codemasters Evo thrives on destruction, and OnRush lets us know this from the start. You can use turbo boosts within the game to smash your way into an opponent or, more favorably, crash on them from above after coming off a jump. (Crushing a dude on a motorcycle with your flying Hummer provides a satisfaction that can't be beat.)prevnext
Thrills With Friends Or Alone
What's more, you can charge an OnRush meter. Once it fills, you'll be given a flaming turbo boost for several seconds, which not only destroys any enemy cars you touch, but also creates a light trail behind you that can slow down the opposition. You can only use it a couple of times during a round though, so make sure you time it just right and not, say, on a track filled with winding turns that guarantee your crashing at high speed.
The game is built for multiplayer races, as the online works wonderfully in OnRush. Pairing up with other racers didn't take much time at all; and the racing itself is insanely good, especially as you communicate with others and set up take-out orders on particular racers that are a pain in your neck.
It also offers up a single player mode where you can work your way through a campaign. However, driving against AI racers isn't quite the same as sometimes they get a little too lucky for their own good when it comes to some hits. We're not sure if this was a programming choice by the team or just something put into the game as part of its design but it can lead to some slightly frustrating moments with rookies.prevnext
Perfect For All Types of Players, Though It Takes Getting Used To
There are a variety of modes available, but they're mild variations on the game's overall structure. The general goal here, really, is to go fast, bash things and take risks with jumps and other stunts. There's nothing wrong with that, though, as you'll keep coming back for more as you earn progress and unlock goods. Yes, OnRush has loot boxes; but it doesn't have an overreliance on them, and you don't need to worry about spending real money here. Everything is earned through progress. And rightfully so.
Overall, OnRush has a decent amount of stuff to unlock. This includes cosmetics, skins, new #CrashTags to put on your profile (ingenious idea, really) and victory dances for your drivers. Some of them are a little uninspired but they add replay value to the game, along with the ability to just hop in a race and enjoy it with others. That can't be beat.
Some slight collision issues aside, OnRush is a hell of a lot of fun to play. Codemasters Evo gets the feel of the game just about right, whether you're lugging around in a larger vehicle or scooting on a motorcycle that's a lot more powerful than you may realize. Sure, you could question the logic of a two-wheeled motorcycle crushing a larger one...but why would you want to? The game feels just about right. And better still, it's not too difficult that you'll throw your controller down in frustration.prevnext
Worth Hitting the Road With
A lot of work went into the game's design as well, and it shows. Codemasters Evo built these tracks with a competitive edge, whether you're trying to get the jump on someone from above off a high jump, or finding a nice stretch of road to even up with one of your rivals. They look great and offer a surprising amount of mixture, whether you're cruising around a desert track or making short work of an abandoned water refinery.
As for the sound, it's okay, but it could use some work. The engine noises are superb, and the announcer has the right amount of gusto. But the soundtrack could use some repair. It's got a decent selection of music, but it jumps around all over the place in jittery fashion. If a favorite song of yours comes on the air, it changes about a minute later without warning. Here's one instance where the selected tunes within the game could've used more consistency.
In the end, OnRush is something special. Sure, some collisions could be questionable; and the loot box system may not sit easy with everyone. But Codemasters Evo went back to its arcade roots with this one, and it shows. The whole competitive feeling may take a while for some folks to get used to, but it's a brave new approach that's sure to attract a huge online crowd. Not only that, but the gameplay and graphics deliver in a number of ways so that even the most unskilled player can discover the ability to take down opponents and appreciate mastering it.
It not only serves as a welcome return for Evolution Studios, but also the arcade racing genre in general. The more OnRush we can get behind the wheel with, the better.0comments
WWG's Score: 4.5 out of 5
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.prev