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Pacific Drive – Analysis
Pacific Drive – Analysis

Pacific Drive – Analysis


Pacific Drive – Analysis
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Pacific Drive is the debut work developed by Ironwood Studios in seattlepublished by the equally recent Kepler Studios (Sifu, Scorn, Tchia), and it is a survival game what happens in the area of Pacific Northwest and takes place entirely in the first-person perspective.

The game takes place in 1998when the player (the Driver), a delivery boy, is dropped off a ferryboat in Olympic Peninsula in your van, with the aim of making a delivery to Olympic Peninsula Exclusion Zonea quarantine zone separated from the rest of the world by a 300-meter wall where several strange phenomena and human disappearances occurred, leading to the isolation of the area by the government agency BURN.

With permission to use his garage, and radio assistance from the team of scientists, we began exploring the Zonefull of paranormal phenomena called “anomalies” (with some elements that seem taken from the universe Alan Wake/Control), in order to unravel its mysteries, as well as try to understand what happened between ARDA and the scientists, why they stayed behind, and above all, try to find a way out.

The exploration of the various areas of the Zone thus happens little by little, in short excursions by the player in his van, always paying attention to the gasoline and battery levels that limit his progression and use of accessories, as well as the condition of the various parts of the van. . The van protects the player from various types of anomalies and from suffering various types of damage, but it is also up to the player to keep the van in the best possible condition, especially since all the useful parts of the van wear out or become damaged in various repairable states. or not (the tires may go flat but be repaired, the wheel may become misaligned but be realigned, or the tire may burst completely and have to be replaced, for example). It is through this relationship of constant care with the van that an interesting bond is formed between it and us. We feel it in our skin when an anomaly damages it.

Pacific Drive pv story screenshot

The player has several main objectives that make the interesting and crazy story of the game unfold, but in addition to maintaining the van, we also end up unlocking several upgrades that we can do anyway through the various materials that we can gradually collect in the area, with panels and doors with more armor, better engines, more resistant tires, more storage, etc. In this way, exploration takes place not only with the aim of advancing the story, but also of collecting materials to make our van and other pieces of equipment more efficient.

Through excursions, the Zone becomes mapped and we unlock more areas where we can go on excursions, and with each excursion, what we will be able to find in terms of resources and anomalies is randomly generated. Speaking of the anomalies, they are quite varied, from “dummies” that explode when we touch them, to shadows on the road with spikes that easily puncture our tires, sentry robots that grab our car and can even tear parts from our van, areas radioactive, small “creatures” that throw themselves against the car and damage it, and many others, also varying in their danger and aggressiveness.

With repeated success, different areas run the risk of being affected by “instability storms” that exponentially increase the level and number of anomalies, forcing the player to plan the path of their excursions carefully. However, if the worst happens and the player ends up losing all their health… We are transported back to the garage, losing some of the parts/items of the van (which we can recover if we return to the same area where we fell). Like this, Pacific Drive There are also a few elements “roguelite” in addition to survival mechanics.

Pacific Drive gameplay pv screenshot

Despite everything, and despite the “dangers” always lurking, Pacific Drive manages to follow the pace the player wants, and due to its extremely atmospheric environments, albeit with surreal elements, it can be an extremely exciting exploration experience. chillout where we can take as much time as we want to explore… At least until a storm hits the area, in which case, it’s best to move forward. To return to the garage, we will have to hunt for energy spheres that we can deposit in the ARC Device in our perch until we have enough energy to activate a gateway, at which point the area destabilizes and we have to escape as quickly as possible. Arriving at gatewaywe are teleported back to the garage.

Despite being classified as a survival game, the fact that we have a vehicle as “company” changes the dynamics common to the genre a lot. This way, Pacific Drive presents a loop of simple gameplay that quickly becomes familiar and without major surprises, but which only becomes repetitive if we go to the extreme of trying to unlock absolutely all the upgrades available. The story is not too long, but presents information and twists enough to maintain interest in progression, making it possible to continue the game with free exploration after the end of the story.

Maybe it’s not a game for everyone due to the way the mechanics can sometimes be more laborious, or even obtuse, but it’s definitely a survival game completely different from the others and which allows itself to be explored in a controlled way, just giving small occasional “pushes” to the player, without seeming like they are “dispatching” the experience.

Review by Tiago Vasconcelos.

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  • Tiago Vasconcelos

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