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Ark: Survival Evolved review in progress for PS4, Xbox One, PC


Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One
Publisher: Studio Wildcard
Developer: Studio Wildcard
Medium: Digital
Players: Multi
Online: Yes
ESRB: T

Ark: Survival Evolved is one of those Steam Early Access titles that skyrocketed to fame long-before it was ever “complete”, much in the same way that Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds has been doing all year long. I first caught wind of the game from my nephew actually, who devoted a pretty impressive amount of time to the game, and has given me multiple tales of his exploits with his tribe throughout their time playing the game. So I decided with the official release of the game, along with the PS4 release, I’d finally give it a shot.

To say that I was ill-prepared for Ark: Survival Evolved would be putting it mildly. I had played survival games before, and was no stranger to the basic mechanics. Gather resources, build clothing and supplies, and try to improve your character as you gain more abilities and crafting recipes throughout. But Ark is such a massive game that I was easily overwhelmed during my first couple of hours, and found myself constantly needing to restart as I tried to both stay alive and learn the basic mechanics of the game.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and maybe not that much of a surprise going in. But there was certainly a large learning curve in my experience with Ark: Survival Evolved that I still don’t think I fully have a handle on. However, the promise of taming dinosaurs, both big and small, and gaining access to more modern equipment and weaponry, helped keep my interest up. And while I’d say I’m still a very, very far way from experiencing everything that Ark: Survival Evolved has to offer, I do think I have a decent grasp on the mechanics and ideas, enough so that I at least have found my footing with the game a month or so into release.

That said, I think I’m still a bit off from being able to offer an adequate review of the game. I can give you a brief snapshot of my thoughts though. The console version is a little rough, the PVP and PVE servers have been pretty sluggish, with a healthy amount of lag mixed in with framerate drops that are still present when playing alone. I think the upgrade/leveling system is better than most survival games, it’s easy enough to understand what your various skills are capable of, and the engram/crafting unlocks make sense for the most part. But still, I don’t feel like I’ve experienced a good portion of what Ark: Survival Evolved has to offer, so I’d like to expand upon this as the weeks go by, and offer up additional thoughts and impressions over the months to come.

Ark: Survival Evolved definitely feels like a noteworthy experience, if for no other reason than the scale of the overall game. And while I’d be hard-pressed to suggest the game to players that aren’t familiar with the survival genre, I still think there’s a something worth exploring here even if survival games aren’t quite your thing. So check back in a week or two as I expand upon these base impressions, and dive deeper into what Ark: Survival Evolved has to offer.