I may not have my license, but that didn’t stop me from loving Pacific Drive

 A car in a misty forest in Pacific Drive
A car in a misty forest in Pacific Drive

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Have you ever been lost in post-apocalyptic woods while being chased by explosive mannequins and hovering robots that can electrocute you? If not then Pacific Drive is set to change that.

This action-adventure game is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland called the 'Olympic Exclusion Zone'. Armed with a trusty station wagon and a handful of scavenged materials it’s you against the world as you navigate all the weird, wonderful, and deadly mysteries this world has to offer.

TechRadar Gaming got to sit down and play through a small demo of this upcoming game with Seth Rosen, the design lead for Pacific Drive. In this demo, we got to see just a snippet of everything on offer in this driving sandbox game. There were exploding ‘tourists’ spooky abandoned cabins, and a hell of a lot of electrifying enemies (literally).

Pimp my ride

Dashboard of a car in Pacific Drive
Dashboard of a car in Pacific Drive

Despite the real-world fact that I cannot, in fact, drive, a quality that will become very apparent throughout this article, Pacific Drive felt realistic enough to create heavy tension as the station wagon stumbled along darkened, misty roads, but simple enough that you don’t have to be a car mechanic to get your head around all the wonderful upgrades and expansions that you can make to your car.

In my bravest moments, I ventured outside the protective shield of my vehicle into abandoned gas stations and rotted wood cabins to scavenge for materials that would become vital to my excursion through the Exclusion Zone. There weren’t a whole lot of materials to get your hands on in each location, so every single item mattered. I collected, rubber, nails, gas, and of course, some stylish clothes, all of which I could use to upgrade and repair my car - while looking cool.

The repairs and upgrades you can make to your station wagon are vast and personal, but every choice has a consequence. If you like offroading, then have fun decking your car out with sturdy tires and reinforced windows. However, in turn, that extra grip on your tires will slow you down on the roads. Luckily you can reinvent your vehicle every time you go back to your garage to offset or reset such decisions, and you can prioritize speed, defense, or even some slightly more aggressive builds. It’s all up to you and how you wish to navigate the Exclusion Zone.

Beyond car repairs, there’s a whole world ready to be explored. While post-apocalyptic adventure games are nothing new, Pacific Drive adds a refreshing twist to the genre by, metaphorically, tying you to your vehicle. You can run off into the forest without it, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it; after all, the beasts out in the unknown can run fast.

I thoroughly enjoyed Pacific Drive, and its creepy atmosphere and simple controls worked wonders in immersing me in its dying world. That said, it’s not exactly a walk in the park. I managed to get catapulted into the air, overturn my car trying to hit a ‘tourist’, and nearly didn’t make it up the world's scariest water park tube slide - so it's probably best if I don't prioritize getting my license just yet.

For more tense action, you might want to check out the best FPS games. However, if you'd rather lean more toward a post-apocalyptic experience, you might want to check our list of the best Zombie games