What I’m Playing: ONRUSH (PS4)

Hey there friends!  I’m jumping back into this whole “writing about games” thing with some regular check-ins on how I’m feeling about what I’m currently playing!  These aren’t necessarily intended on being in-depth reviews or anything, more of my impressions and thoughts. I just really like firmly organizing my thoughts, and I find that writing helps with that!

Anywho.  Yeah.  ONRUSH.

It’s fucking FUN.

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ONRUSH, if you aren’t aware, is a fresh take on your typical arcade racing game from Codemasters Cheshire, formerly of Motorstorm fame.  In fact, I’m pretty hesitant to even call it a racing game because it honestly isn’t.  Hell, the game will literally teleport you back to the pack if you get too far ahead or drop too far behind. The best way I can describe it is an objective-based, class-based, combat driving game, but that sounds incredibly wordy and boring, so just look at this cool clip I took instead. Because holy shit does this game nail presentation.

Driving around these tracks feels really damn good, too.  Hitting a ramp the just on the edge and launching your car like a perfectly-thrown football and nailing the landing feels fucking awesome every single time. The rush I feel when zipping around in this game absolutely gives me a Burnout or blur vibe (something I have been DESPERATELY missing lately) with each enemy take-down accentuated with an incredibly satisfying slowdown.  Sure, lots of racing games have embraced that effect in recent years, but with ONRUSH I felt that each time I took out an opponent I had to work a little more to earn it.  It can be a little confusing to understand how securing a kill works, and one of my gripes with the game definitely is how little it explains a lot of its systems, especially something as integral as the combat.  Jump off a ramp and land on an opponent? They’re totally fucked.  Ram into someone while boosting but hit the side of their car with the wrong part of yours? You’re totally fucked.  I’m not really saying that it’s bad, but I would be a little more forgiving if they took a little more time to explain it.

The objectives in this game also are varied and fun and each vehicle class has different strengths and weaknesses that make them perfect fits for each different mode you’re playing.  My favorite mode has to be Overdrive, in which you and your team of 6 have to burn more boost than the other team across multiple rounds.  Chaining boosts and plowing through both other drivers and the smaller, weaker vehicles whose sole purpose of existing is for you to destroy for extra boost, honestly doesn’t get old. The other objectives include a version of your typical king-of-the-hill with a moving ‘hill’ your team fights for control over, a mode similar to ‘gun game’ in Counter-Strike where once you wreck you switch classes until you run out, and a race-against-the-clock mode where you have to fight to make it into narrow gates to increase your team’s time.  While each of the different cars play to the strength of each objective, the cars of the same weight class look incredibly similar and are pretty tough to distinguish at breakneck speeds, especially with how cluttered the HUD can get.

The soundtrack here also does this game a LOT of favors.  It consists of a lot of EDM with some sprinklings of other genres thrown in here and there, but everything is designed to make you actually feel like you just did a sick barrel roll through like twelve trees and they definitely pull it off.  The music dynamically changes across different actions and states in each match, so if you’re on a hot-streak of take-downs or flying through the air the music flows into different tracks as what is happening changes.  Every time a bass drop timed perfectly to when I slammed the ground after shooting off a ramp I shouted “FUCK YEAH,” much to the dismay of my neighbors.  As much as I love the sound design and soundtrack as a whole, I did get pulled out of “the zone” every time I popped my class’s ultimate ability and the Sick Jamz™ I was enjoying was cut by a long scream that completely cuts out any music that was playing.  I think it could have worked pretty well mixed on top of the other tracks, but also I’m not a sound designer so I’ll just stop talking about that now.  Overall, this soundtrack is genuinely incredible, and if you’re interested in hearing about the process behind it, Codemasters put up a really excellent read here.

I’m really enjoying my time with ONRUSH so far!  I jumped into it kind of late with me playing the version I got included with my PlayStation Plus subscription, but I’m thrilled I checked it out.  I was a tad bit worried about finding multiplayer games but I actually have spent way more time with the pretty lengthy single-player. I can’t really say how much longer I’m going to be going back to it, but it’s a very good game if I need to zone out for a while. I think there’s a whole lot to love about this game and really only have minor issues with it overall.  I’d be really stoked to see them do a sequel or push out some more content but unfortunately it seems like there’s no chance of that happening.  If you’ve got this game in your library or were thinking about picking it up on a sale, I definitely think it’s worth a shot!

See ya next time!

Kam