Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: June 6, 2018
ONRUSH is an arcade combat racer available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. ONRUSH is developed by the team formerly known as Evolution Studios; a team with a real pedigree for developing racing games as they developed all five of the PS2 exclusive WRC games from 2001 through 2005, while creating the rather unique world of MotorStorm for a trilogy of PS3 exclusives from 2006 to 2011 with a spin-off in the form of the cross-buy MotorStorm RC for PS3 and PS Vita in 2012. The MotorStorm franchise was followed by the announcement of Driveclub at PlayStation Meeting on February 20th 2013 upon the reveal of the PS4 were it was revealed that the concept of Driveclub was actually conceived prior to the development of MotorStorm. However, it was deemed that the PS3 during its infancy was not able to offer what was required to perfect the vision of the socially connected racer at that given moment, so was left until the release of the PS4 to harness the power in order to fully realise the vision of the original concept in all of its true glory as evidenced by the original trademark filing date of November 12th 2003. Driveclub’s launch was not as good as it was hoped due to server problems, but over the course of its long running post-launch support it became one of the standout racers on PS4 which was further discovered upon the launch of PlayStation VR exclusive Driveclub VR. When Codemasters saved Evolution Studios; the world class racer development team immediately began work on a brand new IP titled ONRUSH. Can ONRUSH achieve the quality of Codemasters Evo’s (Evolution Studios) career worth of exceptional racers and potentially even better their MotorStorm franchise?
Gameplay begins with a fast-paced tutorial that brings the player up to speed on the basics of how to accelerate, steer and boost, performing a takedown and engaging rush. Further gameplay intricacies are covered via a text description accompanied by a video within the tips category including catching up, fodder, vulnerability, wrecked icons referred to as tombstones, handbraking, performing takedowns, crushing takedowns, tricks, barrel rolls, downforce, boost landing, bike flips and attacking opponents. Elsewhere within the tips and videos section; a video gallery provides an introduction to each group of events, vehicle and event type.
In the months building up to its release; I was originally quite sceptical of ONRUSH’s gameplay as there was no finish line in any mode which I believed would remove the purpose of racing even before starting an event. However, after playing ONRUSH for many hours I had a sudden realisation of what actually made MotorStorm so much fun. MotorStorm would have competitors taking each other out that meant at one point or another every competitor would drop back from the front which would essentially bring the leading racers back to you as your vehicle caught up not through rubber-banding, but through the sheer physicality of the racing. ONRUSH emphasises this specific concept as what is referred to as a stampede in which every participant is attempting to dominate the stampede by taking down opponents from the opposing team in a co-operative meets competitive series of races, while taking down vehicles that are not on either team which are referred to as fodder in order to obtain boost. None of these fundamental gameplay changes make ONRUSH any less of an action packed race; if anything it actually makes the gameplay standout as a unique experience instead of replicating everything that has went before it.
ONRUSH Founders’ Trophy is the main focus of what is essentially a career mode titled Superstar which is structured in a formula that is reminiscent of MotorStorm as there are half a dozen extensive sets that are each packed with events. Every event has multiple objectives such as winning the match, performing takedowns on a certain quantity of the opposing team, capturing a zone in lockdown, performing a specific type of takedown when driving a particular vehicle and much more besides that are all rewarded with upwards of 25 stars per successfully completed objective that accumulates towards unlocking more events within the current group of events and the following group of events.
Custom Game mode allows the player to fully customise the gameplay by selecting the mode; short, standard, long or extra long event length; the names and logos of the two teams participating; and the difficulty level. Elsewhere, any track; season; start time; and a slow, standard, fast and very fast time speed multiplier, therefore combining together to provide an ONRUSH experience to the player’s preferences.
There are four event types including overdrive in which boost and rush must be chained together as frequently as possible by the entire team to earn points towards your team winning the round in a best of five rounds match, while switch tasks the player and ally team members to takedown opponents to force them into switching vehicles with the team collectively having a certain amount of switches available, although utilising every switch will result in the opposing team winning the match. Meanwhile, countdown challenges the player and their team to drive or ride their vehicles through gates to add time to their team’s clock with the team whose time expires losing the round, while lockdown is a team effort to control the zone that is positioned out ahead of the stampede with the team needing more of their team members within the zone simultaneously for five seconds to score the point in what is at least a first team to six points match. There are some variations to the length of events such as a lockdown event may be first to six points in one event and first to 8 points in another event or countdown starting with both teams having 120 seconds on the clock instead of 30 seconds, while the culmination of a group of events in the superstar career mode will contain multiple events spread across different event types and tracks referred to as a weekender such as the Enduro event within the second group of events.
Earning XP from positive performances in events alongside being awarded medals for surviving for a particular duration, performing larger quantities of takedowns and more besides progresses towards levelling up which in turn rewards the player with a gear crate containing customisation items for your vehicles and characters. While you can progress through the superstar career mode by earning stars and save progression; it is seemingly impossible to earn XP when offline.
Vehicle design is varied as there are 8 unique vehicles to choose from including motorbikes, buggies, cars and 4x4s. Each of the 8 vehicles is essentially a vehicle class of their own containing rush ultimate, rush fuel and a special ability specific to that vehicle; therefore producing a range of attributes that make each vehicle a substantially different racing experience. For instance, the outlaw motorbike’s rush ultimate drains boost from all nearby opponents, while rush fuel is earned by performing tricks and the special ability results in nearby opponents becoming vulnerable after a heavy landing sends a shockwave outwards. In contrast, 4×4 titan class has a rush ultimate that drops numerous barriers to reduce the speed of opponents that pass through them, while rush fuel is earned by performing takedowns on opponents and the special ability provides nearby teammates with a shield that is capable of protecting them from attempted takedowns from the opposing team. Vehicle customisation elements comprises dozens of decals and bodywork designs, while there are 12 characters that can be customised including 11 outfits, around 7 celebrations and 9 tricks that can be unlocked via gear crates when levelling up or alternatively through purchasing them from the in-game currency earned by completing certain objectives, especially the daily credits reward.
Track design is rather varied as there are 12 tracks containing multiple routes through long straights, wide open corners, tight corkscrew bends, ramps to launch the vehicle into a long jump in which tricks can be performed and more besides. The variation in design of the 12 tracks is complimented by summer, autumn, winter and spring seasons, alongside a start time of early dawn, dawn, morning, midday, afternoon, early evening, evening, dusk and night. However, the quantity of tracks could be improved by naturally reversing the tracks to essentially double the amount of tracks.
There are only two camera angles that are both third-person perspectives; positioned directly behind the vehicle and further behind the vehicle with both camera angles able to be rotated 360 degrees around your vehicle for a view of any opponents approaching from behind or to either side of your vehicle in order for you to attempt an evasive manoeuvre to prevent a potential takedown or for the player to view any fodder to either side that could be taken down by your vehicle. In comparison to the developer’s previous game in the form of Driveclub and arcade racers from other developers such as Gravel; two camera angles is a little underwhelming in terms of variety. It would have been preferred to also have first-person camera angles such as a camera attached to the bumper at the front of the car looking ahead without any car bodywork; a camera on the bonnet that shows the bonnet; and an internal camera from the driver’s eye perspective which would have also served the purpose of providing camera angles for players that prefer to race in a first-person perspective rather than third-person, while an overhead view from a helicopter would have rounded out half a dozen well positioned camera angles. Wreckcam replays effectively shows how your vehicle was wrecked and which opponent did it before resuming gameplay after choosing a vehicle to respawn into, although it would have been even better to watch a full replay of single player events from various camera angles.
Photo mode available from the pause menu allows you to observe the closer details of the racing in the foreground and distant trackside environments such as hot air balloons, canyons and more besides. Photo mode is an incredible feature; allowing the camera to be positioned with freedom within the vicinity of the racing action including extensive customisation of images such as panning, camera height, zooming in or out and anywhere from a minor tilt to a full sideways tilt. Advanced photo mode functionality includes applying aperture, focus distance, shutter speed, vehicle tracking, exposure compensation, filter intensity, film grain, a border or vignette frame, frame intensity, ONRUSH and Codemasters, four logo positions, rush effects, vehicle dirt, lens effect, tags, vehicle outlines and more besides; complimented by 27 screen filters. What makes the photo mode work so well is that it provides players with the opportunity of producing customisable action shots in a fully immersive environment which works in perfect harmony with the PS4’s share feature.
It is disappointing to not see an arcade combat racer of ONRUSH’s ilk come to Vita, especially when considering the superb MotorStorm: Arctic Edge released on PSP, although remote play is a consolation. ONRUSH’s remote play performance is excellent as the graphics, audio and general performance maintains the quality of the PS4 version. However, there are no remote play control optimisations resulting in holding the top right and top left of the rear touch pad to accelerate and brake respectively. I had the best remote play experience with ONRUSH after customising the control scheme in which acceleration was re-mapped to R1 with braking remaining L2 (top left of the rear touch pad) as L cannot be mapped to due to that permanently being mapped to displaying mid-race statistics such as MVP positions, while changing the camera is re-mapped to the top right of the rear touch pad; therefore providing a more comfortable remote play control scheme better suited to the racing genre on Vita, although it would be more preferable if L could be mapped to.
The controls are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller and are almost fully customisable. The default control scheme consists of holding R2 to accelerate; pressing L2 to brake or reverse; holding X to boost; pressing triangle to rush; pressing O to engage the handbrake; pressing square to perform a trick or taunt opponents; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to steer and pitch your vehicle; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to pan the camera around your vehicle; pressing L1 to display the provisional positioning of each team’s participants within the MVP statistics; pressing R1 to change the camera angle; pressing R3 to look behind your vehicle; pressing L3 to view sessions; pressing up, down, left or right to use quick chat; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. Despite the customisable control scheme; there is no way of mapping the steering to the gyroscopic motion sensing functionality, although MotorStorm games on PS3 had the option on the DualShock 3 controller. Tapping the touch pad resets your vehicle to the track, while vibration occurs when boosting, landing after a long distance jump and driving in water. However, there is no light bar implementation which could have produced a light shade of blue or orange to represent the player using boost and a flashing light blue or orange for when the player engages rush within their team’s colour, alongside a neutral colour referring to the colour of your chosen vehicle or representing your provisional positioning on the MVP statistics for that particular event.
Graphically, ONRUSH is superb with many nice touches such as dynamic lighting, weather conditions and time of day effects, sun shimmering in water by the beach, excellent vehicle models and particle effects when vehicles crash into one another or the scenery all combining together to create a visually stunning arcade racer. ONRUSH has two graphical options with one focusing on resolution and the other emphasising a greater consistency in a flawless frame-rate of 60FPS with a genuine sense of speed in either option. ONRUSH’s graphical capabilities are pushed even further via PS4 Pro enhancements and HDR support.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, superstar career mode events menus, custom game menus, quick play and ranked online multiplayer mode menus, gear crate and vendor menus, personalise vehicle and character menus, crashtags menus, tips and videos menus, settings menus and various gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. Menu backgrounds focus on your currently chosen character and most recently driven vehicle with an outline of a backdrop in the distance.
An excellent voice-over cast featuring Tom Clarke-Hill (Sergeant Cortez in TimeSplitters 2 and Future Perfect, Karl Fairburne in Sniper Elite V2, 3 and 4, Sergeant Rico Valasquez in Killzone and Killzone: Liberation, Kendert in Horizon: Zero Dawn and voice of Tony the Tiger) introduce each vehicle and event in addition to individual comments during events such as when takedowns occur that breathes an element of fun into the audio that perfectly suits the gameplay. Sound effects include each vehicle having a different tone in engine acceleration, braking, applying boost, engaging rush, performing takedowns on opposing vehicles, crashing your vehicle and more besides; complimented by a soundtrack of music mostly containing a fusion of dance, electronica and R ‘n’ B with some rock and pop songs. There is no DualShock 4 speaker support which could have produced individual comments during takedowns or sound effects such as when applying boost and engaging rush.
The trophy list includes 33 trophies with 19 bronze trophies, 7 silver trophies, 6 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the What Does This Button Do? bronze trophy for using boost for the first time; the No Hard Feelings bronze trophy for introducing yourself to the fodder; the Stay On Target bronze trophy for performing a takedown on an opponent; and the Ready for the RUSH bronze trophy for rushing for the first time. Harder trophies include the Dizzy Heights gold trophy for reaching level 30; the It’s Not An Addiction, It’s A Lifestyle gold trophy for earning 100 gold game time medals; and the Enter Your Initials gold trophy for maxing out your superstar rating. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 25 to 35 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are five difficulty levels including very easy, easy, normal, hard and very hard with the major differences being the A.I. controlled opponents are far more eager to perform takedowns while simultaneously having the wariness to move far in the opposite direction to survive a potential incoming takedown attempt during the very hard A.I. difficulty opponents on custom game mode, alongside the superstar career mode in which the A.I. controlled opponents seemingly become much harder to defeat throughout all four event types and in tournaments.
ONRUSH rather disappointingly lacks split-screen multiplayer which could have been integrated into a drop-in/drop-out variant of the superstar career mode and custom game mode. Split-screen multiplayer is not an unrealistic addition when considering that MotorStorm: Pacific Rift and MotorStorm: Apocalypse are both split-screen multiplayer.
Quick Play mode allows up to 12 players to form two teams of six per team racing to complete objectives throughout every event type and track from the single player career mode. Online multiplayer performance is quite incredible as it retains the same frantic action, while remaining as fast as the single player modes and event types. Meanwhile, online multiplayer matchmaking is capable of finding a match at seemingly any time of day or night within a matter of moments. Another form of online multiplayer can actually be found in the superstar career mode that can be played co-operatively with online players racing on your team. Online multiplayer is expanded by the post-launch introduction of ranked mode that allows players to compete for rankings on a global scale.
ONRUSH’s replayability originates from its unique concept of team focused gameplay, four event types, vehicle and character customisation in harmony with earning XP and medals to level up, 12 multi-route tracks with seasons and times of day and the unpredictability of racing results and your positioning in the MVP standings in each event within the superstar career mode, single player custom game mode events and online multiplayer events throughout thoroughly fun gameplay that will collectively have players returning for quite some time. It is just lacking in split-screen multiplayer, a few more camera angles, replays of complete events and reverse tracks from being the perfect arcade racer.
- Title: ONRUSH
- Developer: Codemasters Evo (Evolution Studios development talent)
- Publisher: Codemasters
- System: PS4
- Format: Retail/PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1/2-12 (Online Multiplayer)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 16.42GB (Version 1.02)