Codemasters Evo was previously known as Evolution Studios, the team responsible for the fun and enjoyable Motorstorm series and Driveclub. Both of these were PlayStation Exclusives and despite the rocky launch of Driveclub, it was and still is a pretty solid racing title that looks great and plays pretty well too. The same could be said about Motortorm, with its exciting gameplay and good looking visuals it stood out as a solidly developed racing franchise. So with the studio now being part of Codemasters it was only a matter of time before they got to put their alternative racing game development skills to the test, by doing a brand new project. The result of that new project is the birth of a new IP titles ONRUSH, a high octane racer that isn’t about who finishes first, but who manages to survive the contest.
ONRUSH is a racing game with a twist and if I was to give an indication so early on in the review of what to expect from it, then I would say it is almost as if Motorstorm and Burnout decided to have a baby and were so proud of it that they decided to have its name in capital letters. Here is a game that gets the adrenaline going from the get go. It is one team of rushers versus another team of rushers and only one team can come out on top. There are different race types within the Superstar mode and each race has a different objective. Those objectives are to make sure that your team of racers beats the other team by smashing, ramming, blowing up and generally causing mayhem to win the race. Superstar mode acts as the career mode and takes players through various events that have many different stipulations within their races. Some of these stipulations include hitting time gates making sure your team maintain the higher countdown and forcing the other team to miss the gates in order to win. Many others include such things as having to stay in a zone with your team mates to capture it while fighting off opponents or stealing the zone off of them, capture the flag style or a simple battle royale mode where you have to take each car class out until you’re the last team standing.
There is no first or second place, there are no laps, there is just chaos and high octane driving and it works really well, adding a refreshing twist to the racing genre and offering something different to the typical racing games that you’re used to. XP can be earned along the way and each time my level was increased I unlocked a new crate which released 3 random items ranging from common to rare and some that were even epic too. These items offered nothing more than cosmetic changes to vehicles, clothing for my chosen character or tricks to use when using motorcycles and that is a good thing. With the competitive aspect to ONRUSH and the teamwork involved, it would have been a disaster if there had been game changing microtransactions and it would all have felt a little unbalanced and one thing that ONRUSH isn’t is unbalanced. ONRUSH has basically introduced team deathmatch in to the driving genre and CodemastersEvo have done a great job in not only making it competitive but also making it fun too.
Gameplay in ONRUSH feels very familiar and resembles a gameplay style not to dissimilar to the Burnout games. It has arcade style driving mechanics and it works, so if you’re going to be getting in to this game hoping for a deep, simulation style driving game that Codemasters are so renowned for then prepare to be slightly disappointed. Having said that please don’t let it put you off either, because it plays really well, with exciting, adrenaline fuelled gameplay that feels perfectly matched to the games style. Each of the vehicles feel different but each and every one has its uses in the races. While it plays pretty well though there are some slight little annoyances that I hope will be rectified later on. The main one is not being able to steer your car or bike while the takedown animation triggers. On more than a few occasions I would take someone out but because I can’t steer while the slow motion camera cut is in motion, sometimes I would crash once it came back to the gameplay. Also the motorcycles can feel a little too slippery at times but I am being really fussy because all in all ONRUSH is fun to play.
Controls are simple and they need to be with a game that is as fast as this is. Boosting is important throughout and this can be filled by taking the smaller AI cars out and performing big jumps off ramps and hilltops. There is also a RUSH meter that fills up too and once it’s full, it can be triggered by pressing the Y button. What RUSH gives the player is a limited time of going at an incredible speed ramming and smashing opponents off the road with just one hit and making your car indestructible. It’s a neat little perk that can cause some real mayhem but despite everything that is going on, on screen, a stable frame rate is maintained throughout making ONRUSH a very smooth game experience and if you own an Xbox One X then there is even a 60fps option With is buttery smooth and very rarely dips at any point, in fact I didn’t notice any dips at all.
The art style of ONRUSH is very reminiscent of the Motorstorm series so if you’re at all familiar with those games then you’ll know what to expect with this game. It has a very crisp image and a lot going on at once on screen but it’s visuals have bags of personality and detail throughout with the vehicles and the tracks themselves looking great. Don’t get me wrong the graphics aren’t anywhere near the standard of games from the Forza series or even the Dirt games but it’s still a decent looking title with some lovely water effects and detailed cliff sides. The audio in ONRUSH though is absolutely superb, with a pumping soundtrack filled with adrenaline to match the gameplay and its definitely a game that you need to turn the volume up loud when playing. The music especially, really adds to the experience and sets the tone for what to expect when getting ready to race for your life. As I mentioned earlier the frame rate is solid throughout with hardly any dips, if any at all and it has options to choose whether you want either a better frame rate or higher resolution visuals in the menu if you own an Xbox One X.
The online aspect left me a little disappointed though. It sometimes took ages to get in to an online race and even when I got in to one there were a few times when server issues prevented me from finishing a race. I’m sure this will be improved through future updates along with the addition of an online ranked mode being added later on too. I was also left a little disappointed with the lack of many tracks available and the lack of variety surrounding the tracks on offer. It isn’t a big criticism, I just would have liked to have seen a few more tracks throughout, but I’m sure more will be added later on as there is a promise of more content to come in the future. With that promise of on going updates that CodemastersEvo have publicly confirmed will be happening for ONRUSH, with additional events and content being continually added, there is no doubt that people will be getting their money’s worth and I will keep my fingers crossed for more of a variety of tracks too. All in all though I have really enjoyed my time with ONRUSH and I am certain to keep on playing when I can because it’s such a fun take on the racing genre and one that holds its own really well in a genre that is packed with quality titles. This could be the game to scratch the itch of so many people who are craving a brand new Burnout game and if you’re one of those people, I think you should give ONRUSH a chance because it really is a blast to play.