Studio Wildcard has finally brought gamers something that they’ve been asking about for years. A survival dinosaur MMORPG that entangles hunting, taming, and breeding primeval creatures. Although still in its beta stage, ARK: Survival Evolved is planned to be fully released June of this year.
The name of the world is ARK, a collection of islands over a vast map that leaves plenty of room for exploring and building bases. There is a three to one land-water ratio which gives the players a perfect proportion of land and sea. Currently the game has over thirty prehistoric creatures, however the creators have announced that they plan to have over a hundred for the game’s final release. The game is available for PC (Steam), Xbox One, and PS4. I currently play the Xbox One version.
But how does ARK actually stack up? Read on to find out!
First thing’s first you pick what type of server you wish to choose from. There are player vs. player, player vs. environment, or both. On the Xbox One you are given copious amounts of servers to choose from. Each server holds a maximum of seventy players, but given the size of the map, it leaves plenty of room to spread your preverbal wings.
Once you choose your server you go to create your character. There are several presets to choose from, but if you’re like me then you like to go all out with your customization. There are the basics: skin, hair, and eye color. You also get the usual height and width. ARK is unique in that you can adjust the size/length of your limbs, face, head, hands, feet, and more. After you build your character you finally enter the world of ARK.
You start out with nothing but your underwear and the ability to craft a pick-axe. The game has no tutorials and is very limited in the information it gives you in how you need to survive. You can overheat, freeze, starve, and dehydrate in the ever changing climate of ARK. Through trial and error players learn how to gather food and supplies to create fire, weapons, buildings, and much more. You can join tribes (guilds) to get a leg up on the learning curve.
Of course with a game starring primitive animals, you start out learning to craft the basics. You can make campfires, thatch housing, and stone weapons. As you level up you can advance your technology up to present day weapons and building materials. There are rumors that you may be able to advance to future technology, however this feature is not yet available in the game.
In order to survive you’re going to need to enlist the help of your dinosaur friends. Starting out you mostly hunt dinosaurs in order to level up and gain materials to create basic tools. Once you finally get a foothold, you can domestic most species within the game. You craft saddles to tack on to your animal in order to ride it. Tamed dinosaurs are extremely useful in that they can protect your home/base, they can help you gather materials, and they can help you kick some dinosaur ass. Dinosaurs range from the aquatic Pliosaur to the Giganotosaurus to the flying Quetzalcoatlus. You can be a master of all types of terrain with your dinosaur side-kick.
The Bottom Line:
Don’t worry, faithful dinosaur lover, ARK is nothing like the flop that The Stomping Land turned out to be. In a world full of underdeveloped and horrible gameplay that plagues the prehistoric genre, ARK: Survival Evolved lives up to hopes and dreams that players have had for a long time coming. Studio Wildcard has stowed upon us what could likely be one of the greatest MMORPGs of the year. – 9.0/10
Contributing Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine