Ark Survival Evolved Review: Is it Worth Playing?

Ark survival evolved review
This is the image you see just after you open the game. Just a taste of what you will experience in-game.

Ark Survival Evolved Review. What You Need To Know Before Buying The Game

Before you buy Ark Survival Evolved, you should know some of the perks and some of the downfalls of the game. In this artcle I will share with you some of my experiences with the game. I will rate each aspect of the game with a score out of 10 and at the end I will rate the game as a whole, out of 10. 

Story

Above: Here is a player soaring over the landscape on his flying steed. Fly back and forth from the dangerous jungles to the safety of your home base.

Ark: Survival evolved is a sandbox survival MMO. At the start of the game, the player is stranded on a tropical island in their underwear with a strange implant in their wrist along with a map. The implant helps you to keep track of your inventory and food and water consumption as well as your overall health.

As for the story, there really isn’t a story. The main objective is to survive, and more importantly, to thrive. Those who are most dedicated will survive the longest. Don’t worry about getting bored after a while and wanting to move on to another game. Right when you want to quit, the developers will add some new, awesome features to keep you interested.

Story: 4/10

World

Here is the map of the island. You have it on you as soon as you wake up on the island for the first time. On the right is a compass that you have to craft yourself after you have earned enough engram points to learn how to make it.

The world of Ark is vast and ever changing. Once you’ve logged a certain number of hours playing, you will start to notice different parts of the island are more dangerous than others. You will also notice some prime building sites and beautiful landscapes you’ll wish you could see in real life.

The graphics are great, for the most part, but I’ve run across many glitches and lag since I first started playing last year. After playing the game for over a year, I still find myself getting lost in the jungles but if you stick to the beach you can almost always find your way home.

The world map is about 36 square km, which doesn’t include the 12km of ocean surrounding the island. Over all, despite its somewhat annoying quirks, the Island is a beautiful place with crystal clear waters and astounding prehistoric wildlife at every turn.

World: 9/10

How the Game Works

Here is a screenshot image of players and their tamed dinosaurs.

Ark is a Sandbox MMO where you can join or start your own tribe with other players and build large bases together or go it alone, at your own peril. If you do decide to take on the Island alone, in order to survive you have to build a shelter before you can even think about exploring. This can be a pain, quite literally, as the only tools you have when you are first dropped on the island are your fists. So start punching some trees! Once you get your quaint, little hovel built, guess what; more tree punching! You have to punch trees and try not to bleed to death until you have enough resources to create tools like pickaxes and hatchets for your basic building needs.

If you do die, you will be re-spawned at a random spot on the island, then you either have to try to find your way back to your original starting point, or start over, right there. Every time you die and re-spawn, everything in your inventory is dropped where you died and you only have a few minutes to find your way back and retrieve it.

The most rewarding part of the game to me is taming dinosaurs, each has their own special use from gathering wood, thatch or fiber to skinning other dead dinosaurs to breaking up stone and collecting metal working materials for you and more. The game is only becoming more complex and the adventure just keeps growing over time. As you level up in the game you will use engram points to gain the ability to install electricity in your buildings, refrigeration, air conditioning, industrial grills and so much more.

How The Game Works: 8/10

Dinosaurs and other Creatures

This is a screenshot of an brand new firtile egg. The fertile eggs glow red.

All of the dinosaurs in the game are tamable, except for the alphas. All creatures in the game are killable too however, the alphas; the glowing red rex or raptor, are incredibly difficult to kill and you shouldn’t even attempt it until you’re at a very high level. Then again, not everyone plays to survive. The game is played online with others and most people choose to join a tribe to aid in their survival. Sometimes it’s just fun to attempt impossible feats and laugh about it with friends.

In addition to dinosaurs, there are also tamable mammals in the game like, Mammoths, Direbears, Direwolves, and many others. These mammals can also be bred with each other. The offspring of the mammals stay with their mothers until they are old enough to survive on their own. Luckily, the mammals’ offspring do not have to be hand-fed by the player.

Mating the dinosaurs or other Oviparous animals requires a bit more attention than mating the mammals. As with all other creatures in the game, to mate your dinosaurs you place a male and a female in a small space together and set them both to wander. Once your dinosaurs have mated, the female will drop an egg and then you have to keep it at just the right temperature for it to hatch, using camp fires and/or AC units. It is challenging and the incubation process requires you to pay very close attention to the egg. If you look away for even a moment, your egg could get either too hot or too cold and become damaged.

If you succeed in hatching your egg, the work doesn’t stop there. You have to hand feed your baby dinosaur until it is old enough to stand on its own and eat out of the feeding trough like mom and dad. It’s a grueling process, but it’s worth it, in my opinion. I’ve grown very attached to my babies and it’s pretty heartbreaking when you can’t feed them fast enough before they starve to death.

If it weren’t for all of the majestic creatures on the island and in the ocean around it, Ark would not even be worth playing.

Dinosaurs and other Creatures: 8/10

Combat

This is the Gigantopithecus, or Yeti, after one of my tribe mates was able to tame it. It was not an easy task. The Gigantopithecus is one of the non-predatory, but very territorial and dangerous creatures on the island.

Just about everywhere you look, on the island, there is danger. There are predators at every turn and some creatures that are just territorial and are best left alone, unless you want to try your hand at taming a Gigantopithecus (Yeti)

In my time playing Ark, I have not encountered much PvP action, but when I did, there was really no way of controlling who you could fight. There are no guidelines as far as pitting players against their respective equals. Really, if you’re at level 50 and you want to punch that poor level one player that just started playing, you’re free to do so. Being a bully is frowned upon, but one of the main appeals of Ark is that you’re free to do just about anything you want.

My advice to all first time survivors is to make friends on your server and join a tribe, or start your own. General combat, whether it’s between you and other players or against angry dinosaurs, is a lot more fun when you have a team helping you.

Depending on how many people are on your server at the time of combat and the quality of your PC, you might experience significant lag and reduced graphics. My own method of survival is to avoid major combat in the game because the more I try to take on at once, the more likely I am to die because of lag. As I mentioned previously, dying is a pain.

Combat: 5/10

Sound/Player Dialogue

In a scene like this, you would hear the crackling of the camp fire, wind and the distinct sounds of nearby animals.

One of my favorite parts of the game is the ambient sounds. Every sound in the game is incredibly life-like. In the Northern parts of the map there is mostly silence, or the sound of wind blowing over the mountains. In the jungle you will hear monkeys chattering, birds chirping and often sounds of predatory dinosaurs in the distance. On the beach, of course, you can hear far off waves crashing. Just think of all the sound effects of Jurassic Park.

There is not much dialogue in the game, the players can’t speak but they make guttural sounds when hacking away at trees, rocks or bushes. The most amusing sound of all of the sounds in Ark Survival Evolved is the sound you hear when you or one of your tamed animals defecates. You read that right. You can poop in this game. This is pretty silly, there’s no doubt about that, but you can use your excrement or your animals’ droppings to make fertilizer.

There isn’t much time to get lost in thought when playing this game because every sound you hear keeps you totally alert. All of the sounds are so realistic that each one tells you whether to be cautious and watch your step, or to run far away and get help before trying to take on whatever is growing in the trees ahead.

Sound/Player Dialogue: 9/10

Graphics

This is a screenshot of a pristine sunset at the beach. Graphics settings are turned all the way up in this picture.

As long as you’re not in major combat, maybe you’re just riding along the beach on your Raptor, the graphics are nothing to sneeze at. On a faster mount like the Raptor the graphics may lag a bit but overall, everywhere you go on the island you will get a fantastic view with great details.

As I mentioned before, when in combat, the graphics suffer quite a bit. If you’re being attacked by a raptor, and they attack pretty fast, everything you see is mostly a blur. It is incredibly hard to keep up with your opponent when you’re lagging behind so much.

Graphics: 9/10

Price

I do not regret spending $29.99 for this game. Considering the fact that the developers are constantly working on huge updates and adding incredible new features to the game, that price is mere pennies to someone like me, who plans to log countless hours playing any game I purchase.

Price: 9/10

Final Verdict

Over all, I give Ark Survival Evolved a rating of 9 out of 10. I recommend this game to anyone who enjoys getting lost in a totally new world and experiencing new adventures around every corner.

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A creative freelance writer
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: The Long Dark
Top 3 Favorite Games:World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, Fallout 3: Broken Steel, Fallout: New Vegas
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