Playing with Reed Faster: Pacific Drive, or Why I Now Love Driving Games

 Imagine that you, as a driver, are suddenly lost in the wilderness of the Pacific West, somewhere (maybe) in Washington State. Also imagine that you are now facing dangers that defy physics, logic, and the normal order of the universe. 

Now imagine your car is the most important object in your world. 

Now you might, at least a little, understand Pacific Drive. 


Developed by Ironwood Studios, Pacific Drive is a survival game with an SCP twist. If you don’t know what SCP is, I would suggest checking out this wiki or this podcast. While you are driving through these different zones, you encounter many different anomalies. Some are helpful, but most are not (and are definitely out to get you). Another thing - you have a trio of helpful people giving you purpose over your radio headset - Oppie, Francis, and Tobias. They have differing viewpoints about what is happening with you and your car, but eventually they band together to see what happens when you reach the very center of these forbidden zones.  The game involves a lot of driving around, collecting resources, repairing and upgrading your car, and keeping yourself alive while attempting to figure out what’s going on and how to get out alive. 

First, I would like to say that most games that involve driving are very unpleasant for me. I never seem to be able to get the car to do what I want, and even when I do the controls feel laggy and make it more difficult for me to get where I’m going. Pacific Drive is the exact opposite of this. I actually really enjoy driving my souped up station wagon in this game. I get upset when panels and doors fall off, and I made sure to paint my car and give it some vinyl decorations (Radium Stars and planets, if you must know, although the wood paneling is a close second). 

Second, this game is VERY meta. Lore in the story says that people who have Remnants (of which your car is one, albeit slightly different from the norm) get obsessed with them. And guess what? You spend the entire game pretty much obsessed with upgrading and decorating and protecting it from anomalies that try to injure it. Neither you nor your car have a name in this, but I started calling mine “Zoomer” for no other reason than I like the revving noises it makes when it speeds up.

Image borrowed from The Jimquisition

Third, the graphics for this are fantastic. The scenery is very beautiful, the atmospheric conditions range from terrifying to simply eerie. There are some clipping issues with the terrain and buildings, but for me this just added to the eeriness. 

My only real complaint about this game is that it is currently unable to be played on the Steam Deck. It’s only a minor complaint - I have a gaming PC, so I don’t mind hopping on there to play this game. It’s also available for console, so there is another option to PC gaming as well. I do hope they end up supporting the Steam Deck further down the line.

Another minor complaint is that pausing on menus isn’t default - you have to change a menu setting for it. This is pretty minor - some people like taking the risk!

All in all, while this isn’t quite a cozy game (due to the horror aspect of the area/anomalies), for me it is a pretty chill survival game. I really have enjoyed the ride so far. 

Please check out Ironwood Studios here and check out Pacific Drive on Steam, PS5, and the Epic Store.