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ARK: Survival Evolved (PC) review

On September 7, 2017 by Aaron Meehan

ARK: Survival Evolved, developed and published by Studio Wildcard, is an online multiplayer survival game that sees players washing up on a mysterious island filled with dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures that you can hunt and tame.

ARK: Survival Evolved is very much your traditional survival game. You need to manage your weight, hunger, thirst, stamina and health all while attempting to craft supplies and build structures for you to call home. What makes ARK stand out from the numerous games in the survival genre is that the game allows you to tame, train, ride and breed the dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures that dot the game’s massive island. For me just running around looking at the dinosaurs is an amazing experience as it feels like I’ve been thrown into an interactive version of Jurassic Park.

While having dinosaurs in your game is great for drawing in the crowds,but  the question is, how is the game overall? Honestly, I found ARK to be a mixed experience as it is a game where you have to create your own fun be it building a lavish stone mansion or attempting to find and tame a T-Rex. If you can’t think of any project to undertake the game is frankly dull especially when you consider how long it takes to gather materials for even the most simple of tasks. I’m tempted to call ARK a repetitive game, but the previously mentioned flexibility of the game allowing you to set your own goals makes it less so, especially if you work with other players.

Now, to undertake a project you need to know how to gather and craft and this can be an issue, especially for those who are playing ARK for the first time as there is no in-game tutorial, yes you can look up guides online, but an in-game tutorial that gives you a basic understanding of the game would be great. I mean when I stepped into ARK for the first time I had to ask the other players on the server I joined for help, and thankfully they were more than willing to help a new player out, which is great to see in any online focused game. After I got some help from some other players I learned the game has your basic survival genre mechanics as you pick up stones, punch trees for wood and pick bushes for berries and fibres, and once you have completed that you go to your crafting tab and build your first tools. As you progress through the game you unlock new crafting recipes, known as engrams, and before you know it you will be building a multi-story stone house with the game’s easy to use snap together building system.

While the process of gathering and crafting can be enjoyable, I found the survival aspect to be okay, nothing great and nothing terrible. If you’ve ever played a survival game before you know the basics, eat food, drink water and watch your weight limit. The survival aspect of ARK felt poor, as early on I constantly found myself hungry as my only real source of food were berries I picked from bushes as my attempts to spear some small omnivores on the beach met with my death, but thankfully I managed to find the most important creature for any new player in ARK, the dodo. The Dodos are an easy target as they do next to no damage and they offer a nice supply of meat and hide.

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Going away from crafting and surviving we have the most important part of ARK, the dinosaurs, and wow interacting and looking at the dinosaurs was breathtaking. It felt like I was watching Jurassic Park for the first time as you hear and see a mighty and enormous brontosaurus slowly walk past your or see pterodactyl swoop down from the sky and scoop up a fish from the ocean. If you love dinosaurs than ARK is a treat, especially when you realise that due to the size of the island there are different biomes, which means you can not only find a wide array of dinosaurs, but also prehistoric ancestors to some of the creatures that roam the world today, such as giant snakes and giant crocodiles like the Sarcosuchus.

Of course, as I said earlier you can tame and ride dinosaurs. To do so you need to knock out your chosen dinosaur (using tranquillizer arrows is the best option) and feed it food until the tame bar reaches 100%, of course, you have to feed the dinosaur specific food, I mean you can’t exactly win a herbivore over by feeding it meat. Once you win a dino over you need to craft a saddle and off you go. I know I make it sound simple, but it is, the only tough part is the process preceding the encounter with your chosen dinosaur.

Now as I said at the top of this review ARK: Survival Evolved is an online server based game, but the game does allow you to play by yourself in a single-player mode. In this mode, you can enjoy the game’s limited story while taking the time learn the ropes of the game and build structures in relative peace and quiet.

As I just said there is a limited story, involving the floating towers and creatures that inhabit the island, but the game doesn’t go out of its way to explain how to go around uncovering the story, instead it requires you to search it out yourself.

As we approach the end of this review, let’s look at the game’s graphics and audio. Graphically, ARK: Survival Evolved is beautiful with lush dense forests and sizzling beaches. However, the great graphics does create a lot of pop-in even on the game’s high settings as I noticed rocks, trees and even dinosaurs popping into existence before my very eyes. In terms of audio, the developers did an amazing job of capturing the feeling of being surrounded by long extinct creatures as you hear the thumping of large dinosaurs wander the landscape and roars of a T-Rex preparing to hunt down its prey.

Conclusion

ARK: Survival Evolved is the perfect game fans of dinosaurs. However, the game can feel lacking as you need to create your own fun or risk getting bored quickly.

SCORE: 7/10

Pros Cons
+ Taming, riding and interacting with dinosaurs – No tutorial
+ The crafting system allows you to build some impressive structures – Limited story
+ Helpful community  

 

Developer Publisher Genre Rating Platform Release date
Studio Wildcard Studio Wildcard Survival 16+ PC, XBOne, PS4, Mac, Linux August 29, 2017 

*A review code was provided by the game’s publisher.*

For more information on ARK: Survival Evolved, visit http://playark.com/.

Author: Aaron Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.


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