I’m a right fussy bugger when it comes to playing racing games, however, when someone promises a “new breed of high-impact, adrenaline fuelled, off-road arcade racing” it’s difficult to not at least be a little interested. Ever since Burnout Paradise (one of my all-time favourite games believe it or not), I’ve found it hard to care for any driving simulator that didn’t showcase carnage and ridiculous antics, so I violently swerve to avoid anything that, in my opinion, “looks boring” (realistic) on 4 wheels. Just as I began to fire up the remaster of said beloved game I received a tap at my window from the guys at Codemasters with a game I simply couldn’t refuse, a totally over the top and explosive racing sim guaranteed to inject some va-va-vroom into the genre I couldn’t give a shift about…strap yourselves in!
Onrush is a completely insane arcade racer developed by the masters of the virtual automotive vehicle, Codemasters, releasing on PS4 and Xbox One on June 5th. Contrary to the mantras of their previous racing catalogue, Onrush is all about takedowns and teamwork, oh and speed, lots and lots of speed. With a focus on destruction and spectacular thrills, Onrush promises to deliver an Onslaught of arcade excitement to both the single-player and multiplayer experience by rewarding those who take risks and throw the Highway Code out of the window. Codemasters has generously invited me to their Onrush Open Beta to at least test drive their maniacal multiplayer mode, and it’s safe to say that after a mere 90 seconds I knew exactly what I was heading into; this is unlike anything I’ve driven before.
Onrush isn’t your typical racing game, there is no starting or finishing line and everything is permitted to get you and your team into the lead. Working as part of a team you’ll engage in a variety of high octane game modes at blistering speeds, concentrating all your efforts into making jumps, avoiding obstacles and ploughing into your opposition, doing all you can to keep that speedometer screaming. For years ‘boost’ has been your friend, however here it is now your weapon as you slalom through your team to take out your enemies and gain more of it. By keeping your boost boosting you’ll gradually fill your RUSH meter, a special move of sorts that’ll decimate anyone in your path and contribute to your overall objective, or more importantly it’ll help you contribute more than anyone else so you can show off at the end of each round. Much like an RPG class, each vehicle will collect boost and use RUSH in a unique way, so adjusting your motor to your current surroundings and position will gain your team a significant advantage.
Each vehicle will hold a specific number of lives, and once you’ve been obliterated enough you’ll have to wait a few moments before respawning, however, I can tell you that this won’t set you to the back of the pack. Onrush’s Stampede System ensures that no matter how long you go before exploding you’ll always reappear alongside your team in the centre of the action, ensuring that the only time you’ll ever take a breather is in the lobby in between matches; there’s also not enough time to scratch your bum in between rounds as once one comes to an end the next one begins. If you pardon the pun, this drive to ensure players are constantly engaged and thrilled could make Onrush a literal game changer, not just amongst racing games but online multiplayer as a whole.
Even from this early build Onrush looks, feels and plays pretty spectacularly, without a doubt delivering that new breed of high-impact, adrenaline fuelled, off-road arcade racing it aims to. The 4 game modes available in the beta already change the way you think coming into each race, and the RPG like class system with vehicles only bolster that consideration. As an antisocial, “single player preferred” gentleman I am really interested in what Onrush can do for me and my refusal to play with others, but that being said I think I’m pretty sold on this explosive high-speed multiplayer malarkey already, and if Codemasters were to generously hand me and my PS4 a full copy of Onrush in a few weeks time I’m sure I can sell you on it too!