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Pacific Drive (PS5) review | Payment yard

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Cars are inanimate objects, but if you've driven them, you've undoubtedly formed a relationship with them. Maybe you named your car after its appearance; Maybe you'd be more concerned if that were the case He didn't do that Get that indistinguishable rattle; It could fall apart, but you've never known a more dependable companion. Cars feel like they have a soul, and Pacific Drive knows it. The special sauce of this survival game is that it perfectly captures the relationship between car and driver.

The game takes place on North America's Olympic Peninsula in 1998, decades after the government established the Olympic Exclusion Zone. Cut off from the world, it was once home to scientific progress, but experiments have spiraled out of control, filling the entire area with radiation and other, more exotic threats. It's this ever-changing, uninhabitable place you find yourself in, and the only thing around you that can offer some measure of protection is a mysterious old station wagon.

Conveniently, inside the pocket of stability is a garage, formerly the property of Oppy, a brilliant but jaded scientist who reluctantly helps you via radio. Here you can repair the car, make upgrades and plan your next trip to the area. This is the basic loop of the game. With a combination of roguelike randomness, you can go on a journey through a series of intersections, return to the safety of the garage, and use the collected resources to improve the car and explore further next time.

It works very well indeed. Car maintenance and improvement in particular provide a great sense of progress. Every door, panel, wheel, and even the motor can be replaced, or replaced with something better, but this may not always be possible. Depending on the resources you were able to bring with you, repairing existing parts may be enough. The game settles into a balance on a knife's edge – you probably won't have enough materials for everything, so you'll simply have to make do with what's available. Fortunately, your friendly trash can will provide you with some useful supplies in a pinch, and the garage always contains a wrecked car that you can break up to get some basic resources.

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When you're ready, you'll use a map of the randomly generated area to plot a path. While driving, you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times – not only to look out for buildings containing valuable materials, but also to detect anomalies that could hinder and potentially endanger your journey. Anomaly comes in different forms. The tourists are creepy mannequins that sometimes move when you're not looking, and explode when you touch them. A can opener is a buzzsaw that cuts through the ground and can destroy your tires. If a hijacker discovers your vehicle, they will grab onto it and drag it around, directing you toward rocks or other anomalies. The area has a dense, eerie atmosphere, and its unpredictability gives it a real sense of danger as you search for supplies.

Things get more dangerous the deeper you get into the area, but of course, the steadily unlocking upgrades mean you'll be more than equipped to handle them. Wherever you end up, your ticket back to safety is to find anchors. These contain the energy needed to summon a portal to return to the garage, but doing so also summons a severe storm that you'll need to get through as you rush toward the exit. You should get more anchors than you need, because this energy is vital to unlocking basic upgrades. Expanded storage space, better vehicle parts, new survival tools, and vehicle expansions on which you can attach more equipment – there's a lot One of the ways to make your life easier. However, you will need certain materials, anchor energy, and possibly clear certain anomalies before you can obtain it.

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In fact, the meticulous nature of the game sometimes gets in the way of fun. On the one hand, transforming the car piece by piece from a ramshackle rambler into a… Mad Max– Brutal appearance, gradually unlocking valuable upgrades is a very satisfying process. On the other hand, checking every oddity and object you find, not being sure where to find certain resources, and navigating a lot of dense menus is not a good thing. Pacific Drive is a complex, multi-layered survival game that can take dozens of hours to play – which isn't inherently a bad thing, especially with the story providing some interesting context that will keep you going. However, with its ambitious details and systems, it can sometimes get in its own way.

Pacific Drive Review - Screenshot 2 of 3

The user interface in general is very complex (and full of small text). On PS5 using a pad, accessing menus and inventories is one thing, but even just highlighting a single item offers many interactions. For example, when looking at the driver's door, you can press R1 to enter the driver's seat; Press and hold R1 to simply open or close the door; Press and hold Triangle to remove the door from the car (and hold R2 to install it); Press L1 to get a summary of its status; Hold down the touchpad to see the log entry. Basically, everything has these somewhat ambiguous controls, and it takes some time to get used to. Even while driving a car, you need to turn the ignition key, then put the transmission in gear before setting off, and with these procedures so close together, you're likely to get stuck in the process. All of this helps with immersion, and all the annoying UI when you're behind the wheel is great, but on a large scale, the controls can feel cumbersome.

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The only other thing that goes against Pacific Drive is its technical performance. We kind of like the game's sleek, stylized look, but on PS5 the frame rate suffers. Sometimes it reaches what feels like 60fps, but more often than not it's noticeably lower than that. There are also loading screens as you move between locations; While no also For a long time, they are visible on a system known for fast loading. It's not an unplayable game, but it's not the smoothest ride either.

Despite its flaws, the game – like the car – will grow on you. When you get used to its quirks and complexities, what you're left with is a challenging but interesting survival game full of character. Assembling a vehicle that more or less holds together as you delve deeper into a deadly environment proves to be a very compelling hook, and you'll come away from the experience feeling like you and your cohesive station wagon can overcome anything.

Conclusion

Pacific Drive is an ambitious and rewarding debut from Ironwood Studios. It's an unusual combination of factors all coming together; Roguelike exploration, deep and challenging survival mechanics, an interesting story to follow, and a central vehicle that brings everything together. The annoying controls and complex user interface mean it's not without its annoyances, but the joy to be found in incrementally upgrading the car and throwing it into the unknown outweighs the setbacks. The journey may be arduous at times, but it is definitely worth the journey.

Ayhan
Ayhan
"Writer. Friendly troublemaker. Lifelong food junkie. Professional beer evangelist."

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