Games
Ark: Survival Evolved Game Review

Hello one and all! Today I’m going to be covering the game Ark: Survival Evolved. Now, some people may have heard of this game. Some may have not. I’ve had the pleasure of playing it for the past couple of days. Just to clarify my game playing background here are a few games I’ve played in the past:

That’s it. I’m not a huge player of games, but Ark caught my eye so I though I would give it a shot.

Premise of the Game

As the title states Ark is about surviving. When the game starts your character is dumped on an island. There is no explanation as to why you’re there. How you got there. No tutorial, introduction, nothing. In the game its up to you to build a base, collect resources, and make everything you need in order to conquer the island!

On the island you can do a number of things. Tame dinosaurs in order to help you gather more resources. At the same time you have to avoid being eaten by predators on the island like saber cats, T-Rexes, Spinos, raptors, and many more. The dangers abound on land and in the deep! So, be wary of where you venture.

Aspects of the Game

When I first started playing this game I did single player first. I wanted to get a good feel of the controls before I joined a server. One aspect of this game I like is the leveling system. Leveling is important, but not in the way you would think. When a character is leveled you’re given the option to upgrade certain things like Stamina, Fortitude, Weight (how much you can carry in inventory), Food, Water, etc. After you do that you can spend “Endgram Points”. These points allow you to unlock “Endgrams” in-game. Endgrams are basically recipes for things like weapons, armor, saddles for certain dinosaurs, etc. As you progress you’ll have to choose carefully how to spend your Endgram Points on the recipes you need.

Gathering resources is another huge aspect of this game. Not only do you have to make sure your character has food and water constantly. Being able to build a basic hut is necessary to in order to protect your character from the elements. You will also need to build storage boxes to store supplies like hide, rock, flint, metal, and other items so they don’t take up room in your inventory. Not to mention when you tame your dinosaurs you need to build a fence around them in order to protect them from being attacked by outside predators.

Now, for a survival game this sounds like a lot, right? Well, it really isn’t. Once you begin to play the game is pretty straightforward. There are options to build buildings out of thatch, wood, and stone. You can have cool features like booby traps, trap doors, wires, etc. In the higher levels there is even a bit of technology in the game too! For example, you can have guns in the game in later levels.

The game does go out of its way to help you along too. There are these great shining beams of light in the sky with a crystal that will drop down to the ground. These are known as “supply drops” and contain any number of items. Each color means a different level can access that supply drop. So far, I’ve found nothing special with them. The gesture is nice in-game though if you’re just starting out and need some extra supplies to help you along.

Built Perfectly for Playing with Other People

Remember how I mentioned I played Ark: Survival Evolved first on single player? Well, it’s hard. Other people who are used to survival games will probably run circles around me at this point. However, I did find I had a hard time trying to play by myself. I was able to tame a few dinosaurs (who then died due to me running into battle with another dinosaur) and of course that didn’t end well. At one point I was able to gather my supplies together, get my base built, and set down a respawn point for myself.

This is one of the many reasons I also love this game too. Its built perfectly for playing with other people. I joined a private server, got into a small tribe, and found it a lot easier to gather supplies. If I needed something my tribe

members were there to help me out. There were many more resources (and dinosaurs!) to use. I didn’t have to worry about being attacked by a predator wandering around since there was a spinosaurus parked in the water only a few yards away from the base. Not to mention the triceratops, scorpions, and other tamed dinosaurs by us as well.

The Game Allows You To Play as You Want (and Make Your Own Story)

I feel just about anyone who plays this game will find something about it to love. Do you prefer to farm and gather resources? There is an option to grow crops in game so you can continue to harvest resources. So far I believe its just berries, but I have not personally done this part of the game. Exploration? This game is massive. Its a huge open world where anything goes and anything can happen. I’ve only been in maybe three squares at most in the game and got lost a few times. So, you’ll never grow bored. Do you want to battle dinosaurs? There is literally an endless number of beasts you can do battle with growing difficulty.

So far there is not end game objective. There are a few bosses you can summon in-game to do battle with. However, as far as an explanation goes you’ll have to come up with one of your own for right now.

Downsides of the Game

Now, to be fair to the developers of this game. Ark: Survival Evolved is an Early Access game. This means its still in development and the final product is not out yet. The game is predicted to be fully complete in June 2016. So, it’s to be expected there are going to be glitches since the game is not fully polished. (Even though it’s still amazing.) The game is updated quite frequently too. So, there’s another plus.

Getting Stuck

I’ve had issues in this game where if I jump or run past a tree sometimes my character will get stuck there. One way to fix this is destroying the tree or rock I got stuck against. So, not a huge issue if you know what to do. It’s still annoying though. Dinosaurs are also prone to these glitches as well. More than a few times I’ll be hunting a dinosaur and find it has stopped dead in its tracks head deep in a rock. For some of the larger dinosaurs they can become stuck between trees, on rocks, in rocks, and one time I found a raptor stuck in the side of the mountain.

Dinosaur AI

The dinosaur AI in this game is…okay. There are times it can be a bit dopey. For instance, dinosaurs getting stuck in places they should have been able to run around. I’ve also experienced issues when I have a pteranodon following me as I travel. It would often fly right in front of me and prevent me from moving forward. (This is also the same issue that made me accidentally kill mine when firing arrows. Oops!)

Clipping Issues

There are quite a few clipping issues in this game. One example is when a dinosaur is walking or swinging its tail. The feet of the dinosaur will sometimes sink into the ground if its heading uphill or walking over a large rock.

Takes up a Lot of Power

This game is pretty computer heavy. It takes up 4GB RAM in order just to play at full capacity. I had to turn everything down to low in order to just play decently. If you’re looking into playing this game you do need a “gaming computer” that can handle it. However, the game does look amazing if you have a computer that can handle it.

Not a Lot of Dinosaur Carnage

I have seen a few dinosaur battles in-game. I’ve seen a spinosaurus hunting in a river before it caught sight of another dinosaur and went after it. I’ve had a raptor leap clear over my head to attack a parasaur. It’s really amazing, but at the same time leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Ark is surprisingly clean for a game with dinosaurs in it. The dinosaur fights are sub-par at best. In-game all you will see is the dinosaurs doing one attack over and over. One of them will begin to look bloody before it falls over and dies. Again, not really a huge issue. However, for a dinosaur game I would expect a little more innovation when it comes to the dinosaur fights.

Score: 7/10

I know I’ve said it before, but to be perfectly fair to this game its not fully complete. After playing it for 50+ hours it does get boring taming the dinosaurs, building bases, and exploring new areas. Dinosaur taming times can also become quite ridiculous in the higher levels. On singleplayer I’m not ashamed to admit I did resort to a few cheats to tame my dinosaurs. (I don’t do that on servers though!)

All in all, Ark: Survival Evolved is an excellent game. I believe its well worth the money spent for the amount of game play I’ve got out of it (and have continued to receive even today). Since its still being worked on there are new dinosaurs and new innovations promised to show up in the game in the future. The team behind this video game is amazing. I’m sure once this game is fully complete it will be a perfect 10/10. Until then I’ll be satisfied with taming dinosaurs and playing alongside my friends.

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niab

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