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Pacific Drive’s PS5 performance stalls an otherwise ace exclusive

PS5 exclusive Pacific Drive is a remarkable and unique experience, but its targeted performance of 4K 30fps is frustrating players.

Pacific Drive PS5 performance FPS: A light blue jalopy car pointing directly towards the camera. A colorful PlayStation logo is placed to the right.

Putting you behind the wheel of a makeshift jalopy in a twisting sci-fi landscape, Ironwood Studios’ PS5 console exclusive Pacific Drive is undoubtedly one of the most unique games of recent years. While I’ve been loving patching up our crappy car and exploring its haunting world, Pacific Drive’s PS5 performance is utterly confusing, and the developer has doubled down on its 4K 30fps target amid fan frustration.

Pacific Drive has long been one of the most anticipated new PS5 games, cleverly combining the highlights of the best survival games and the best racing games – with a dash of the best horror games. However, eager players are frustrated over its PS5 performance, with the developer confirming on the game’s Discord server that its “current target on consoles is 4K 30fps”.

Naturally, many questioned whether a 60fps Performance Mode with reduced graphical fidelity would be coming further down the road, to which the developer responded that this “isn’t something [it] currently [has] planned.” In other words, PS5 players are seemingly stuck with 4K 30fps – at least for now.

Pacific Drive PS5 performance mode: The player looking at a rundown and rusted blue car in a wooden barn.

Interestingly, it was revealed that the PS5 version “is currently running at an unlocked frame rate”, meaning that 60fps is theoretically possible. However, given the game often struggles to maintain a steady 30fps right now, PlayStation players aren’t pleased despite the unique gameplay, and I’m with them on this. Moreover, PS5 exclusives typically run remarkably well since they’re designed around the powerful hardware on offer, making matters more confusing. Admittedly, Pacific Drive is not a first-party exclusive with a blockbuster budget, but it’s still disappointing given the type of game it is.

Before launch, it was assumed that Pacific Drive would feature both a Performance Mode and a Quality mode – as most PS5 games do – giving players a choice. With the game in our hands, there are no graphics settings to choose from whatsoever. Though its haunting art direction is undoubtedly stunning, the sacrifice to achieve 4K resolution does not feel worth the trade-off in my experience. Given you’re often racing away from dangers, bounding over hills, the unsteady 30fps can make the experience feel somewhat choppy and ultimately detract from the chilling atmosphere.

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Although the developer doubled down on its current decision against implementing a Performance Mode, Ironwood reassures fans that performance is a top priority. “Rest assured”, the developer says on Reddit, “we’re still looking into performance improvements. We pushed two separate day-one patches today that improved performance on PC and PS5 as well.”

Hopefully, Pacific Drive’s PS5 performance can be improved, as I think Ironwood has one of the best PS5 games of the year on its hands here. If you’re in the mood for a unique, car-based survival game that boasts the incredibly unsettling atmosphere of Alan Wake 2, then it’s hard to beat. Pacific Drive isn’t the only stellar exclusive PlayStation players are being treated to either, with Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth reviews making it a Game of the Year front-runner and Helldivers 2’s server being flooded with up to 700,000 players.