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Pacific Drive Review

Pacific Drive marks Ironwood Studios’ first venture, a captivating driving/survival game that plunges players into unforeseen realms with its high-stakes, high-reward dynamics. Despite occasional hiccups, Pacific Drive stands out as one of the most innovative and gratifying survival experiences in recent memory. Read on for our Pacific Drive review.

Pacific Drive Screenshot

Your trusty steed

Set in a mysterious first-person perspective, players navigate a station wagon through the breathtaking landscapes of North America’s Pacific Northwest. Initially serene, Pacific Drive gradually unveils a narrative rife with peculiar twists and turns. Unstable terrain, resulting from eccentric scientific experiments, challenges players to adapt and persevere as reality unravels around them.

From the outset, players find themselves thrust into the Olympic Exclusion Zone, brimming with electrified mists, radiation, bizarre fauna, and enigmatic anomalies. Armed with a refurbished wagon and guided by a team of scientists via radio communication, players scavenge for resources and unravel the zone’s enigmas to survive. The key line of defense against the perils of Pacific Drive‘s hazardous zones lies in the highly customizable car at the player’s disposal.

Unconventional adversaries

Unlike conventional adversaries armed with weapons, Pacific Drive presents players with anomalies capable of inflicting a spectrum of effects and damage upon both player and environment. Whether testing reflexes, foresight, or creativity, these anomalies keep players on their toes, rendering every encounter uniquely challenging.

While certain anomalies pose immediate threats to the wagon’s integrity, others compel erratic movements at the most inopportune moments. Gravity emerges as a ubiquitous menace, underscoring the ever-present danger within the game’s increasingly volatile environments. The diversity of obstacles ensures that progression through Pacific Drive’s narrative remains engaging and unpredictable.

Pacific Drive Screenshot

Plenty of secrets

Although Ironwood Studios estimates completion within approximately 15 hours, Pacific Drive‘s allure extends far beyond its initial playthrough. The game beckons players back with its wealth of undiscovered secrets and a campaign that proves difficult to shake from one’s thoughts.

The sanctuary of the garage serves as a respite from the chaos outside, offering opportunities for repairs, blueprint unlocks, and crafting sessions amidst an infectious soundtrack. Crafting, repairing, and enhancing the wagon become immersive endeavors, akin to the evolving landscapes of Death Stranding. Neglecting transportation and failing to anticipate the unexpected consequences of traversing multiple zones can prove detrimental.

Pacific Drive Screenshot

Ripe for scavenging

Exploration of Pacific Drive‘s locales yields abandoned structures and derelict vehicles ripe for scavenging. Supernatural phenomena evoke wonder or peril, rewarding preparedness with each unexpected encounter. Retrieving stability cores to activate the portal back to the garage initiates a frantic race against time, amplified by encroaching radiation storms and escalating anomalies. In essence, Pacific Drive offers a riveting journey through uncharted territory, blending survival elements with an enthralling narrative and dynamic gameplay mechanics.

Death will send the protagonist back to the garage, yet the wagon will lie in ruins, and all amassed valuables will vanish. Despite this, the allure of gathering resources persists until the final moments, as radiation waves encroach upon the map post-portal summoning. A hair-raising incident near the portal involved an anomaly dragging the near-wrecked car astray while its tires teetered on the verge of bursting. With health dwindling to single digits from the storm, the eleventh-hour passage through the portal marked a gratifying triumph—a moment that beckons future drivers to embark on another journey through the Pacific Northwest, likely becoming hooked along the way.

Pacific Drive Screenshot

Customize your wheels

In addition to vital resources for bolstering the wagon against radiation and electrocution, exploration of zones yields car cosmetics and audio logs. The meticulously crafted narrative and voice acting infuse Pacific Drive‘s world with an aura of strangeness, tragedy, and occasional beauty. Dark humor acts as a lifeline, preventing the game’s mood from collapsing under its weight. Eventually, players stumble upon customization options and whimsical cosmetic additions for their ride, ensuring that even amidst the game’s darkest and deadliest moments, an endearing puppy bobblehead offers reassuring nods of encouragement.

The garage serves as a mere pit stop on Pacific Drive’s expansive map, necessitating multiple traversals of various zones, especially in later missions. Thankfully, anomalies and instability levels ebb and flow, providing each drive through a zone with a fresh and unpredictable experience. Furthermore, resources regenerate upon revisiting familiar locales, alleviating the stress of essential resource runs.

Pacific Drive Screenshot

Conclusion

Ironwood Studios’ inaugural game delivers an immersive survival driving adventure. Its pulse-pounding journeys through mind-bending obstacles are counterbalanced by humor and serene crafting and upgrading interludes, accompanied by Pacific Drive’s infectious alternative rock soundtrack. This remarkable debut should firmly establish the new studio’s presence in the gaming world: “there’s no peace of mind or place you’ll see, like riding on Pacific Drive.”

Pros:

  • Innovative Gameplay
  • Compelling Narrative
  • Immersive Atmosphere

Cons:

  • Punishing Death Mechanic
  • Repetitive Gameplay
  • Frustrating Difficulty Spikes

Grade: 7,5

That was it for our Pacific Drive review. Pacific Drive is currently available through Boosteroid and GeForce Now. Be sure to follow us on Twitter right here.