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“Pacific Drive” is a wild ride through strange phenomena

“Pacific Drive” is a wild ride through strange phenomena

Very strange things have been happening in a polluted no-go zone in the northwestern United States for decades. It's time to get to the bottom of it – with the old, rickety but faithful station wagon, which we've been gradually upgrading into our personal miracle box.

Written by Robert Glashutner

We are now sitting in an old “American sleigh” and heading straight into crazy anomalies. The year is 1998. Here, on the northwest coast of the United States, strange experiments were conducted decades ago. This is the setting for the new computer game “Pacific Drive,” a wild mix of road trips, car repair simulators, “Stranger Things” and “Back to the Future.”

What is happening here?

It all starts on the bridge Olympic PeninsulaWhich has now become a complete exclusion zone in this world. I have no idea why I ventured here. The first strange events occur after only a few hundred metres: grass and stones disappear and reappear, we are blinded by strange light phenomena, and the rain is different from what we are used to. Suddenly, a huge fire broke out on the right, then went out again, and now a powerful whirlwind is pulling me into… another dimension?

The introduction to “Pacific Drive” actually provides a good teaser for the phenomena and paradoxes to come. After our car was completely disassembled into individual parts, we not only found another one, but also an old but very sophisticated workshop and seasoned the old bucket there again. Then we head to the so-called Zone – a radiant world filled with dozens of strange anomalies.

Ironwood Studios/Kepler Interactive

Car crafting

The basic gameplay is very simple: we collect, recycle and craft items and upgrades, equipping our car with more and more features and thus penetrating deeper and deeper into the enchanted forbidden zone. There we are exposed to increasingly volatile weather and extremely strange phenomena until – shaken and shattered – we are back in the garage. Then you start the whole game again from the beginning.

“Pacific Engine”developed by Ironwood Studios, and published by Kepler Interactive for Windows and Playstation 5.

“Pacific Drive” is a car driving crafting game set in an unrealistic game world. Little by little we discover why we are here, what happened and how we can – perhaps – get out of here. Via radio signal, three elderly residents of the Olympic Peninsula, who used to work on the research and experiments conducted here, give us clues and narrative fragments about what has happened so far.

Screenshot of computer game "Pacific Drive"

Ironwood Studios/Kepler Interactive

You need to be patient and you also need to have fun crafting. Although Pacific Drive is fairly intuitive, you're initially overwhelmed by dozens of features, items, and diary entries. After a few hours of practice and as you gradually build a relationship with your loyal vehicle, “Pacific Drive” unfolds more and more. The changes between quiet arcades, exciting exploration, and crazy action also make this game special.

Rarely has a crafting game been able to create such an impressive atmosphere in a weird and wonderful gaming world. So it's time to head to the crazy part of the Pacific Northwest.