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Ark: Survival Evolved

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 11 - 2017

So, you want to play a survival game, and you want dinosaurs. Good luck!

Ark: Survival Evolved, from Studio Wildcard, is a survival game featuring dinosaurs. The game has been in early access and widely talked about for quite some time now. In fact, I would say that you would have had to be hiding under a rock for the last couple of years not to have at least heard of the game. Still, the game has now been officially released on PC, Xbox One and PS4, suggesting that a large number of the original teething problems have been fixed and promising a more complete game for the player.


For those who have been hiding under a rock, players are given absolutely no guidance as they are dumped in their most basic form in an incredibly hostile environment and challenged to survive. Most things want to kill you, and any prior skill at hiding under rocks will come in very useful. The dream for most players is not just to survive in this brutal game, but to thrive and get to a point where riding around on dinosaurs is an option, living out some kind of Jurassic Park fantasy. The reality however tends to involve more running away from everything and having your bonfire stolen while investigating some pretty lights in the nights sky (how the hell do you steal a bonfire?).

After picking a server and spawn location, players are unceremoniously dumped into the world of Ark: Survival Evolved almost naked and with nothing but their fists to get started. After the initial shock of seeing gigantic herbivorous dinosaurs wandering around has worn off, it will be time to start hitting some trees. This is all the player can do to get started, but with a little experimentation, the player will soon have themselves an axe and a means to gather more materials without harming their knuckles.


The early hours of the game really are that vague. The player is given no guidance whatsoever and, unless they happen to look things up online, progress will be slow. Ark is a game that is all about learning, and as the player progresses, and quite likely dies a lot, they will learn how to craft the items they need and what to do in the world. As the player unlocks more and more crafting recipes, the ingredients required will need more and more time to gather, so grinding is another major aspect of the game.

Still, after a few hours, the player may well have a nice little hut that can offer limited protection, along with a selection of tools and weapons. They may have even managed to tame some of the lesser problematic creatures and even started to uncover some of the deep lore of Ark.

Playing alone will be an incredible investment in time. However, life could be made easier by playing with others. Of course, having other players on the map is a double edged sword as they will not necessarily be friendly. That being said, after the player has mastered the basics of survival, additional threat certainly ramps up the excitement.


Ark offers both PvP and PvE servers. PvP servers are the much more brutal of the two, where the player will find themselves having to be wary of other players who will want to attack the player and steal all of their stuff. That being said, they also give the opportunity to attack other players. The main problem here is that the player can be attacked and raided while they are not even playing, making any time away from the game tense and worrisome. Ark really wants the player to spend all of their life playing the game, and this mode really does encourage the player to come back and check in with alarming regularity. It also happens to make the game incredibly compelling.

The PvE mode is more welcoming, in that other players will still try and steal your stuff, and you could still get eaten by dinosaurs. But it is much easier to join a community and feel safer, while also working with others to take down some of the larger threats further in the game that are simply too much for a single player. It really does depend on what sort of player you are, and how many friends you have playing the game with you, as to which mode would be more enjoyable.

Visually, there is no denying that Ark: Survival Evolved looks incredibly good. There are a couple of different maps to play on, each ripe for exploration, and the environments within are varied and filled with life. There are a few graphical glitches, such as the occasional floating dinosaur, and the frame rate does occasionally drop when things are getting chaotic, but they will likely be addressed over time. And of the dinosaurs themselves, they are as awesome as you would expect.


Ark: Survival Evolved is not an easy game, and the early game grind will likely put off many players who are new to the survival genre. There is no hand-holding here, and surviving a dinosaur infested land was never going to be easy. But for those who put the time in, glory awaits. Whether you favor teaming up with friends, or picking fights with other players, there are options available that will make life in Ark either easier and more fun, or much more dangerous and thrilling. Ark: Survival Evolved is not everyone, and there is still a lot of work to be done to create a smooth and well rounded experience. But for those few who are looking for a brutal survival experience that will consume time much as a T-Rex would consume any inexperienced player that happened to wander in its path, Ark: Survival Evolved is worth checking out.




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