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Pacific Drive Is Atmospheric Trek Through A Sci-Fi Version Of Washington State

Pacific Drive is a spooky blend of a scenic drive and mounting hostile anomalies. Players will travel through a mysterious zone that is partially generated each run. It keeps gameplay reactive. While enemies can be expected, how they show up can change. And avoiding them might put players in the path of another enemy or fighting their environment. The vehicle will take damage and can get a flat tire until you’ve upgraded the wheels, so nature is not to be underestimated.


There is downtime though. The scrap found on each run is used for upgrades. It’s not that exciting and can easily be the most tedious part, unless someone really likes fixing cars. The garage is the only safe spot from the science experiments running wild in the Olympic Exclusion Zone. Though failure doesn’t completely stop gameplay, it does slow it down significantly. This doesn’t mean there won’t be moments where players will enter the gateway mere seconds before reality collapses behind them. 

While players won’t encounter other humans, except through radio, their vehicle is more than transportation. It will have little quirks that add a lot of personality. Not all problems can be fixed with a kit. Like any old car, players will learn they must drive differently if they want the hood to close again. Or figure out why multiple things keep popping out of place. At once! It can feel as though every little thing is out to make the trip as miserable as possible.

With Pacific Drive’s rogue-like gameplay loop, this comes across as punishment you signed up for. Rather than repetitive and unfair mechanics that are solely in the game’s favor. The UI might be the most frustrating part. It feels purposely clunky and the scanner isn’t very helpful. Players will still need to piece together what each anomaly does, and how much danger they’re in, on their own. Starting another run can also get bogged down in preparation, especially if you lose your materials after an incomplete run. 

The major downside to gameplay that will make or break the experience, saving is only available at the garage. Not making it to the gateway in time means starting from scratch every time. Even if you’ve completed major objectives. With large areas that take a decent chunk of time to traverse while avoiding hazards, the gorgeous landscape may start to lose some of its charm. Pacific Drive pushes players to take risks despite these difficulties. Not even scavenging in “safe” areas will guarantee players return unscathed. Depending on your luck, a single run can require a major time investment. 

Pacific Drive can be enjoyed for its uniqueness, even if there’s some rough edges. It is confusing and instructions are vague when given. Pulse racing moments are followed by a slow search for material through similar buildings. The demo showed a lot of potential. Players who don’t mind the difficulty or realistic car mechanics like putting your Volkswagen in park, stalling out, and throwing out worn parts will find themselves right at home.

Dia Tucker

Hello, fellow adventurers! I’m Dia Tucker, dwelling amidst the vibrant cultures and landscapes of the United States. My journey into the mesmerizing universes hidden within video games began in the whimsical days of my childhood. The epic narratives of the "Mass Effect" and "Elder Scrolls" series have always held a special place in my heart, guiding me through countless worlds and experiences. When I’m not crafting tales through words, you’ll find me delving into the boundless realms of MMOs, embarking on quests, and forging memories with companions from every corner of the globe. I invite you to join me as I share stories, insights, and adventures from both the pixelated worlds and the realms I create with words.

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