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Ark: Survival Evolved Review [PC]

Ark is a multi-player, open world, survival game that can be played out on multiple settings/maps each having unique attributes based on what the owner of the servers have designed using mods and settings.  Since trying this game on an official server and then moving to a private server, I have been more than impressed by it. It’s a game I’ve become hooked on. I’m addicted. I have always enjoyed survival games in which you have to gather resources and create things from them, but add to that the chance to also tame and ride dinosaurs and mythical beasts – and you’ve got a sure winner!

Character creation is quick and easy and you can go as wild with it as you want – all of the physical features are adjustable and you even get the choice of spawn points on the map once you’re done. During the game, as you go up in level, you get to decide which stats your character specializes in and also which skills are chosen using engrams. This means, if you’re part of a tribe and you want one person to focus on diving for underwater resources – that person can pump up their oxygen. Another person wants to be the fighter? Well, pump up their strength. The stats help you carry weight, become faster, endure extremes more readily, hit harder, craft better quality items at a quicker pace, and take more hits.

You begin wherever you spawn, and for me that was generally on a beach somewhere. This game is dynamic where weather, amount of dinos, and server setup is concerned. After getting hooked, we set up a PVE (player vs. environment) server where in the only time it shifts to PVP is for special events.  Keep in mind that each server you go into gives you a different gaming experience. Servers can be of different maps, different game settings that affect number of dinos, type of dinos, landscape, resources, so many things! And then there are the mods available! The music is epic, and there is plenty of it.  I actually turned mine down to the minimum in-game. But truth be told, the music made by creators out there? I listen to that a lot. The graphics on this game are intense, but can be adjusted in settings. I love mine on epic and one of my favorite fun things to do is taking screenshots! I’ve got a bunch from each map I’ve tried out so far. I don’t know that I could ever run out of replay value on this game, because you don’t just play the game, you don’t just grind… you can set up challenges for yourself and a team/tribe and just go wild on doing your own thing.

If you wake up on a PVE server, you generally only need worry about dinos. And you can hit the in-game chat to see if anyone is out there that might be willing to help a noob to the server. On a PVP (player vs. player) server, you better not hit up chat for help. And you’d better keep yourself on the lookout for other characters who’ll be willing to take you out or raid you. After entering the game (and dying) a few times I learned to begin grabbing resources as soon as I could. Thatch, fiber, wood, stone, flint, berries… they are your friend! And as you gather, your level rises, your stats improve, and your choice of engrams go up. Plus, you can make weapons and fires and the basics of a shelter, you just have to survive.

Into higher ranks, you trade in your basic dinos (or keep them for resource gathering) as you grow your shelters into full-on bases full of tamed dinos ready to fight for you. My suggestion is to find a well-defensible or very hidden placement for your base. I like caves or once I have tamed fliers I get into high building to make things difficult for any PVP situations and to keep most dangerous dinos away from me and mine. You should have mastered gardening, breeding, building, and so much more by this time and can begin looking for artifacts and if the map has them – explorer notes. These things bring you to the end game arenas and build up your achievements.

The end game, is to of course get all of the artifacts so that you can fight the titans and the world bosses for each map/setting and move onward to get tek gear and then possibly become an Alpha Tribe member. But the thing is – everybody’s goal can be different. I’ve only fought some titans on our PVE server, gotten some tek engrams and I continue to enjoy building, taming, breeding, and just the daily grind. I love wyverns and snow owls, so I’ve tamed a bunch and those are my go-to creatures for having fun and battling. Each server is different and each server owner has different rules, so depending upon those things, the end game may vary tremendously. Also, each server could have a different map! Therefore you have the choice of playing in different settings or even transferring your things from one setting to another. And on these various maps/settings if the servers are privately owned, there could be various mods added to make gaming there easier or more fun! So each new server is a new adventure.

Suggestions for the Developer:

My feedback for this game would be first and foremost – WAY TO GO! I’m hooked. You got me. However, I could suggest some things, definitely! Get a good schedule going for new releases for updating dinos. As you know, each dino has fan-service among the players out there and only developing a creature’s powers to a point and then never revisiting them is kind of sad.  There are so many more things that could be done with say… a Megalodon. And creature design updates would be welcome on some of these creatures, too! Improving the bonuses given a character for pumping their crafting skill would be nice as well. I don’t need to be able to craft something quicker once I have higher levels, but I would love to be able to craft a Journeyman level armor rather than a primitive once I’ve pumped enough levels into that stat.  I love that you support your mod community so much! I say continue this and also perhaps encourage more from them by opening contests for new mods that would then be promoted by the company. People are making new mods because they love the game, but then leaving them to fall behind and this would encourage them to continue updating those mods.

Summary
A survival game that can be single player or multiplayer, and allows you to not only craft things and fight against creatures, but allows you the chance to tame creatures and use them as well. Each server you go onto has the possibility for being a very different gaming experience from the last.
Good
  • Versatile: Single player or multiplayer; PVE or PVP; Multiple Maps; Multiple Mods
  • Encouraging Developer and Fan/Player communities
  • Both Official Servers and Private Servers available to play on
Bad
  • Creatures need more regularly scheduled updates
  • Some servers can be laggy and have trolling players on PVP
  • Private server companies and owners may cause issues with lag or load time depending upon their service standards and mod load and placement. But this is not a reflection on the game itself.
8
Great

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