Preview: PS5 survival game Pacific Drive will make you fall for its exposed station wagon
Developer Ironwood Studio really wants you to form a bond with the car. This is the main takeaway from the hands-off presentation of Pacific Drive, a run-based survival game. It’s just you and a battered American station wagon inside the Olympic Exclusion Zone, a mysterious part of the Pacific Northwest teeming with paranormal occurrences.
The performance showed us two sides of this unique title. Played entirely from a first-person perspective, you’ll move from your garage into the exclusion zone, aiming to find parts and resources in the wilderness. Once you return, you’ll use all your loot to repair, upgrade, and craft new tools so you can delve deeper into your strange surroundings.
You plot a course before you set off, with all routes leading to a certain type of energy that allows you to open a portal and return to the garage. Out on the road (or lack of road if you’re feeling adventurous), you’ll need to keep your head down. There will be plenty of wrecked vehicles and buildings you can find that will offer some valuable resources, but the Olympic Exclusion Zone is full of threats. Strange anomalies such as creatures that drag your car around, strange weather conditions, and earthen columns erupting from the ground are trying to complete your ride.
Hopefully, you came with some supplies that you can use to make some quick repairs, or top up your fuel. You’ll need to get out and keep your car in good shape if you have any hope of making it back to the garage unscathed. Once you find the energy that opens the drain, things pick up a bit; A shrinking circle will form on your satellite display, and if you leave that zone, you’re in for a particularly bumpy ride.
You’ll either make it to the exit or you won’t, and if you don’t, you’ll lose some of the resources you’ve accumulated. Either way, you’ll be back at base. This is your chance to make repairs, install better parts, build new equipment, and make useful supplies. That’s more or less the game — it’s all about building your car so you can explore new biomes and get better parts so you can improve your car, and so it goes on.
The crux of the whole thing really seems to be a banger bust, and it’s clear that you’re meant to fall in love with it. You find the car in its stock state at the beginning of the game, and will gradually transform it into a real beast. With the game exclusively in first-person, even while driving, you’re immersed in the experience — even the HUD elements are in-universe, with most of the information you need while racing on your vehicle’s dashboard. . Once you start equipping it with your favorite parts and painting it the way you want, we imagine players will be quite attached to their trusty ride.
It will also develop abnormal sarcasm; When activating the wiper blades, it will somehow also activate the headlights, for example. Cars are inanimate machines, but any driver will tell you about their “personality,” so it feels authentic to the vehicle-owning experience while playing into the supernatural theme.
While it’s clear that the car is the center, the world around you will also evolve as you progress. On the runs – each lasting about an hour – you’ll find stories and snippets of stories in addition to loot. The structure of the game is heavily inspired by roguelikes, but the narrative has an ending. Ironwood Studios’ goal is to allow you to continue playing past the credits, so there’s no need to stop your adventure in the Exclusion Zone when the story begins.
Much like the debut trailer, this short rendering at Pacific Drive has us itching to try it out for ourselves. The combination of survival, crafting, and running that part of the game through the game’s procedural environments shows a lot of potential. That said, if the folks at Ironwood Studios cast Shadow of the Colossus on us, we’ll never forgive them. Man, we are already so attached to the car.
Pacific Drive is scheduled for release on PS5 and PC in 2023. Are you excited to play this unique drive and escape adventure? Buckle up in the comments section below.
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