ARK Survival Evolved: Impressions


Ark is an open world survival sandbox with dinosaurs in Early Access. Though there have been others with a similar concept in the past, Ark is by far the most ambitous of the bunch.

In Art you have your usual tasks from the survival sandbox genre. You run around gathering simple materials such as rocks, and wood, and from that you'll make your first simple tool. From there you can start crafting some simple structures. It's pretty usual stuff for the genre, but Ark has a few tricks up it's sleeves to set itself apart. There's a large focus on training dinosaurs in this game. Once trained there are a nice few things you can do with them. You can sadle them up and ride them for more efficient transportation, have them follow you like a watch dog, and even mate them with others. You can raise an army of dinos who will follow you into combat while you mount your favorite one. It's even possible to mount teradactols, allowing the player to experiance flight!

Ark also features an interesting progression system as well. Each level you gain you'll be able to level up one of your main stats and be rewarded points that go towards unlocking more advnaced recipes. Crafting is on a progressive scale, much like your level. As you gain higher levels, more advnaced recipes will become available. It's a nice system, as it gives the player a sense of progress and something clear to strive for.

The graphics are quality as well. The game features extremly high fedelity enviroments, with great looking textures and models, highlighted by some amazing lighting and effects. The sound design is also quite nice with beliveable roars from the dinos around you.

Though Ark has a ton to offer even in it's early access form, the game isn't with out problems. At the moment the main concern is performance. Due to the game's extremely high fedelity, the game dosn't run very well on low-mid teir machines. I had to fiddle around with the exe file and a bunch of Nvidia setting to get even 20 FPS out of the game. It has been making incrimental improvements, but the majority of the problem still persist as of this impression. Another critique I have is Ark could use a tutorial. I didn't have too much of an issue jumping into the game, but only because I've played my share of survival games. For those who are new to the genre, Ark does nothing for those players. There's no tutorial, no guide, not even popup help tips. It just throws the player into the middle of a jungle and hope for the best. Hopefully a proper tutorial will be added before the release of the game out of early access.

Overall Ark is an extremely enjoyable survival game that puts the dinos in the fore front of it's features. The game is ambitious and the content feels very satasfying. It just needs to run smoother, a LOT smoother.

Pros:
- Dinosaurs are varied and intrical to the game's design
- A pile of content right from day one!
- Enjoyable progression system

Cons:
- Performance needs a major overhaul
- No tutorial for new players


Brontosaurus! 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4BGM...

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ARK Survival Evolved on Steam
http://store.steampowered.com/app/346...

ARK Survival Evolved official web site
http://www.playark.com/

ARK Survival Evolved hours played: 17

Completion Status on ARK Survival Evolved: N/A

This copy of ARK Survival Evolved was gifted on Steam.

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