A game where you can poop on command? Sign me up and take my money!
ARK: Survival Evolved is a hefty open world survival game where one plays as a survivor who has landed seemingly on an island with nothing but some cloth underwear and a strange implant in their arm.
No map, no compass, and no clue. In true survival fashion you must navigate this prehistoric but futuristic themed world with not even a tutorial to get you started.
With both single and multiplayer modes one can tackle the wilderness on their own with only the threat of nature to concern themselves with, or join a PvP server where other players may choose either to hunt or help you.
I, myself chose to be dumped in a single player scene with the most proportionate human female avatar I could create.
With the customisation options available, you can individually select the length and width of your characters limbs, however it seems as though going for a small stature female comes part in parcel with an almost inhumanly long torso and arms built for climbing trees.
Starting off similar to other survival games (Minecraft, Rust, Stranded deep, Terraria) you assault trees with your fists which will give you wood and thatch, rocks break up into stones (you can pick these up from the ground too) and flint and you can also strip fibres from plants.
I will admit that I spent an embarrassing amount of time thinking that berries and fibres were a random drop obtained from walking around in grassy or foliage dense areas and spamming the “E” Key.
Like most games of it’s genre, ARK has a time mechanic, which means that day turns to night, food will slowly spoil and your avatars hair will grow.
Given that yourcharacter will most often be wearing a some form of headgear; (unless you want them to be susceptible to brain damage and/or heat stroke that is) the growth of your characters hair for the most part will go unnoticed, unless you die and lose your hat. Hats are almost as important as towels in another universe and it would be a great shame to lose one.
It is important to effect a torch and some kind of nourishment so you “don’t starve” when night falls as “the night is dark and full of terrors…”
Dilophosaurs and T-rexes and Raptors… Oh My!
It is important to stay attuned to your instincts and common sense as you navigate and attempt to survive the island; working your way slowly from the beach you land on to the vast plains and mountains that span the horizon.
Creatures spit, blind, bleed and steal from you as you attempt to hunt, gather, craft and build. All to ensure that you learn to think twice and assess the risk level of everything you do; unless you’re thinking of attacking a Dodo, but please don’t because those guys are chill.
If it seems too risky, it almost always is, and the beasties will make a meal out of you, just ask the piranhas how tasty my supple human flesh was. Or that Pterodactyl about how mad she was when I unwittingly picked up her egg.
There is however “always a bigger fish” in ARK and you will develop a sixth sense for lurking danger as carnivores can sometimes be seen attacking and killing smaller creatures, they may even come to snap up your meal ticket (or you).
Living is tedious in this unforgiving world as just about everything will try to kill you at some point or another. Predators lurk around every corner and in large bodies of water. There are a few stats to keep an eye on, and you must maintain your hunger and thirst levels which fluctuate depending on your temperature. Just like in real life if you push your body too far, you may just pass out.
The game has a weight mechanic and if you aren’t careful, you will become encumbered, making you easy prey as the ability to run and jump is taken from you and even walking is tiresome and painfully slow.
The crafting system in the game is well thought out; as you level up you will gain “Engrams” which you can spend to learn how to craft different objects. This in turn will make that sliver of hope for survival just a wee bit brighter.
Scrolling to the bottom of the Engram screen, it seems like there is possibility to level up to 100; and despite being a survival game it also seems to have elements of exploration and civilisation advancement, which would bring in the more futuristic aspects of the game (guns, electricity, shields, etc)
Ever wanted to ride a triceratops, well now you can!
There are a large amount of creatures on the island and most of them are tameable through either exerting force or using tranquilliser arrows and force feeding narcotics.
Creatures can be set to work gathering for or guarding your base and if equipped with a saddle can be ridden into battle.
Making you look like the true badass you think you are.
Having only played about 10 hours of the game so far, I can already ascertain that it is a huge world that I have only just begun to scratch the surface of.
ARK: Survival Evolved is available for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Thanks to a good friend I was able to attain a full demo of the game for PC which I ran on medium – high graphic settings.
Now being in full release I would expect to see fewer glitches than I have.
For example: vertical fish, tree climbing triceratops and a Trex who looks like a bloodhound trying to sniff out a fox as it comes after me.
Currently rating 6/10 on steam, 4 stars out of 5 on the PS4 store and 4.5/5 on The Microsoft store it would seem that ARK has been more widely accepted and enjoyed by the console gamer community, perhaps this is due to the availability of early access on steam and the fact that ARK is relatively graphics intensive on PC.
Despite the intermittent graphical issues and discrepancies that may or may not be due to my PC’s inability to run it on “Epic” settings; I have definitely enjoyed my experience so far and look forward to what the rest of the world has in store.