Road Trip to Mystery: Pacific Drive Hands-On Preview


During the recent PC Gaming Show, one title emerged as a beacon of curiosity, capturing the attention of gamers worldwide with its intriguing blend of mystery, survival, and driving elements. "Pacific Drive," a first-person driving survival game developed by Ironwood Studios, invites players to embark on a perilous journey into the abandoned Olympic Exclusion Zone, a forgotten region of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, USA. Set against the backdrop of 1998, this game promises a unique experience where your car becomes your lifeline in a surreal reimagining of the Pacific Northwest.

Journey into the Unknown

In "Pacific Drive," players find themselves drawn to dangerous excursions into the Olympic Exclusion Zone—an abandoned area devoid of official activity for years. The game's narrative is built around the unknown events in this mysterious zone, sparking rumours and stories that have become part of public knowledge. However, the exact details of what happened remain elusive, shrouded in secrecy. As you delve into this enigma, the game invites you to uncover the truth and face the challenges that await.

Core Gameplay - Fix, Drive, Survive

Your journey begins in an abandoned garage, your makeshift home base in the heart of the Pacific Northwest. Here, you'll repair and upgrade your car to withstand the supernatural dangers lurking in the Olympic Exclusion Zone. As you venture out on each perilous excursion, you'll scavenge resources, customize your vehicle, and navigate treacherous landscapes. The core mechanics of "Pacific Drive" involve fixing your car, packing essential supplies, unlocking new recipes and stations, and customizing your vehicle to ensure survival in this mysterious and hostile environment.

Unraveling the Mystery

The heart of "Pacific Drive" lies in its narrative, urging players to unravel the mysteries concealed within the Olympic Exclusion Zone. This abandoned research site holds government secrets, spooky monsters, and a supernatural weather phenomenon, creating a recipe for a classic, edge-of-your-seat adventure. The game's original score by Wilbert Roget, II, combined with 20+ licensed songs, heightens the immersive experience, immersing players in the eerie atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest.

Anatomy of a Station Wagon

Your station wagon isn't merely a mode of transportation—it's your shield against the dangers of the Olympic Exclusion Zone. Understanding the nuances of each part, from body protection to essential functions like the engine and battery, is crucial. Upgrade your wagon with add-ons, gaining additional storage, resources, and capabilities to enhance your chances of survival. Each choice you make in customizing your vehicle impacts your ability to navigate the challenging terrain successfully.

Upgrading the Garage

The garage acts as your central hub, serving as the connection point between various story missions and free-form salvaging expeditions. Players can research upgrades for both their car and the garage itself to progress. Exploring different paths unlocks upgrades, utilizing energy from anchors found in the zone. Strategic upgrades balance your car's capabilities and your on-foot tools and backpack expansions, ensuring a well-rounded approach to survival.

Route Planner Navigation

The Pacific Northwest unfolds before you, and planning your route becomes a crucial aspect of "Pacific Drive." Carefully choose your path by holding down 'select' on the junction you want to travel to. Deviate if needed, but beware of dead ends and high instability zones. Discover story destinations, face challenging anomalies, and gather information through scanning to enhance your journey. The more anomalies you scan, the more details you unveil about each junction on the side panel of the Route Planner.

In-Depth Gameplay Features

"Pacific Drive" boasts a level of detail that immerses players in the complete driving experience. You can toggle every part of the game, from changing gear to turning it on and even toggling the wipers. The game goes beyond traditional driving mechanics; your car behaves realistically, drifting to the side if the tires aren't in good condition or if your vehicle isn't well-aligned. Maintenance becomes an essential aspect of survival.

Gas management is another crucial element, mirroring real-life concerns. Ensure you have sufficient fuel, as being stranded in the middle of nowhere is a predicament you'd want to avoid at all costs.

The hunting for materials and crafting in "Pacific Drive" is a unique experience. Whether in the garage or on the go with the crafting station in your car, the game offers flexibility in gathering resources and crafting essential items. It adds a layer of realism to the survival aspect, making each decision impactful in your quest for survival.

Release Date and Platforms

Mark your calendars, as "Pacific Drive" is set to captivate players on February 22nd, 2024. The game will be available on PlayStation 5 and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store. This expansive release ensures that players on multiple platforms can dive into the mysteries of the Olympic Exclusion Zone. Don't miss the opportunity to explore this mysterious world and unveil the secrets that await you on the road.

About Ironwood Studios

Since its founding in 2019, Ironwood Studios has poured passion into bringing "Pacific Drive" to life. The team's inspiration stems from a love of road trips, surreal worlds, and the Pacific Northwest—elements that feature prominently in the game. Collaborating with PlayStation, the studio aims to create a game that inspires players to craft their own stories, offering unexpected and unique experiences through interconnected systems.

"Pacific Drive" is a promising addition to the gaming landscape, blending mystery, survival, and driving elements into an immersive and unforgettable adventure. As you hit the road in your trusty station wagon, be prepared for the unexpected in this enigmatic journey through the Olympic Exclusion Zone. With its compelling narrative, innovative gameplay mechanics, and a release date on the horizon, "Pacific Drive" is poised to leave a lasting mark on the gaming community.