Our third Preview (!!!) of ONRUSH and those worries I had about team play have been smashed to pieces like a Blade being landed on by a Titan.
We’ve talked and written about ONRUSH a lot here at FNGR GNS. First Rossko waxed lyrical about his experiences at a preview event. Then I got my hands on it at EGX Rezzed and while I had a concerns about the objective-based nature of the game, was still suitably blown away by it. Now, with the launch of the Beta (available now for those who’ve pre-ordered and will be available to everyone else soon) and after 6 straight hours of play, I can say with near certainty that Codemasters’ arcade racer is going to be something pretty damn special.
I managed to play 3 races on ONRUSH at EGX Rezzed 2018 and each of them were on the Countdown mode. In this race type, both teams have a clock that’s counting down which can be refilled by passing through gates which add time to your teams clock. The loser is the team who runs out of time. The rules to this game mode weren’t explained during the show floor demos at Rezzed and while it’s intuitive enough to almost immediately understand, my team mates were often more interested in smashing into each other or the opponents than racing through gates. I mean, why wouldn’t you? On the surface, this is the immediately appealing part of ONRUSH. Smashing stuff up at insane speeds. Still, this meant that my team, who were facing off against a team that were hitting gates whenever they weren’t respawning, consistently lost. In my write up I said “That’s my only worry about ONRUSH. It’ll live and die on its team dynamics as I learned the hard way at Rezzed when my team mates seemed unaware that we were allies and were determined to run me off the road.”
6 hours with the ONRUSH Beta and that’s no longer a concern.
Away from the busy show floor of Rezzed and sat in my living room, playing online with Rossko, the ONRUSH beta takes a whole new feeling. Matches are tight, coming down to last second boost jumps and timing your Rush modes to do maximum damage/point scores to push you over the target. You’re making split second decisions on whether to splat that Blade with your Titan to take them out of contention for a few seconds while they respawn or hit the gate to rack up more time for your team. You’re going out of your way to hit jumps and do back flips on your bike to stay ahead of the chunky enemies looking to crush you. And the team play is there. People are playing to the objective. And it is glorious.
Sure, there are still people who are dropping into the beta all the time and are getting accustomed to the game modes, especially the fact that getting out ahead isn’t always the best tactic, putting ONRUSH in a unique place in the racing genre. But just a few races later, they’ve learnt the ropes and they’re playing as a team. When everyone is playing their part, when your Titan’s are stomping on your opponents and your Blades are slipping in between the pack to hit the gates, the Vortex is getting out in front and disrupting the driving line for your foes and the Interceptor is getting in close and pushing the other team out wide and off the track, ONRUSH is phenomenal.
This Beta has sold me on ONRUSH but not just on the immediate appeal but on the potential longevity of it. Even after putting 6 hours into 2 race tracks, 4 vehicles and 2 game modes I’m still discovering new racing lines, new jumps, and new intricacies to the way each vehicle can be played. It’s a game that is rapidly entertaining but is showing glimpses of a strategic depth that’s normally reserved for beat-‘em-up’s, MOBA’s and shooters that could take weeks if not months to chart and uncover.
If you’ve yet to join the ONRUSH Beta, I urge you to give it a try when it goes live to the public on Thursday 17th May. It’s a game that really needs to be experienced first-hand because no matter how many times I was told “It’s like Motorstorm meets Driveclub crossed with Overwatch”, I didn’t believe it until I crushed a dune buggy into a tree at blistering speed myself.
I sat down to play this beta with apprehension about the team dynamics and objective focused play and now I’ve pre-ordered, can’t wait for June 5th and the prospect of teaming up with 5 friends to turn into a monster wall of metal and rubber. As Beta experiences go, I’d call this one a resounding success.