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ARK: Survival Evolved

Studio Wildcard

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There were obviously no dinosaurs on Noah’s ark, but ARK: Survival Evolved got some. You play as a  lone human survivor on a Lost World-style island inhabited by diverse dinosaur populations. Your mission is first to survive, then to evolve, unlock upgrades, and then build a civilization, alone or with teammates.

All this time, you need to care about your health. Eat and sleep enough, heal your wounds if you get any, and avoid further collisions unless you’ll surely win. And collect various resources: you will be able to craft almost anything out of what just lies under your feet. In regular mode, you keep all your gatherings after your character dies; in Hardcore, you’ll need to start from scratch each time.

It’s a first-person 3D game, with your hands seen as the primary tool (like in Minecraft). There are some genre elements the two games share. For example, you need to beat the tree with your fist to get some wood, and so on. The visuals, though, drastically differ. ARK: Survival Evolved tries to be spectacular and realistic, with a forest full of trees and ferns, creeks and seashores, birds and dinosaurs.

To endure in this environment, engaging with the creatures is essential. Intimidate the mightier specimens, eliminate the ones within your power, and once you've laid the foundation of your settlement, tame them and assert your command. Tamed animals can supply you with essential resources or serve as partners in tribal conflicts. This implies that while the individual gameplay centers on self-preservation, the multiplayer aspect is far more interactive and communal.

While the single-player mode is available offline, there are online modes as well, both cooperative and competitive. Players can compete for resources, try to extinguish other tribes or work together on the new civilization. Starting with your bare hands, later, you can upgrade your world so you can even manufacture firearms. Thus, the wild dino reign (like that from King Kong) turns into an artificial space for them (like in Jurassic Park). It’s really impressive to see your wild island evolve into a modern city with buildings and walls, streets and factories.

Compared to other survival games, ARK: Survival Evolved offers maybe the most impressive balance of creative richness and astonishing visuals. Online mode is even richer, allowing for building impressive urban constructions in the middle of the wild. But it suffers from the plague of our age: even the official servers are full of cheaters. Obviously, feeling unable to fix it, the developers allow for unofficial ones, with probably milder or severe policy.

The mobile version of ARK: Survival Evolved is free to play, while the desktop or console version is $49.99, but has no microtransactions. There are also DLC packs and themes, which are mostly paid. Studio Wildcard released the game in August 2017, and it already has lots of DLC and some spinoff games.

  • Graphics and Sound 10.0

  • Controls 8.0

  • Gameplay 10.0

  • Lasting Appeal 8.0

  • Greatly made environment;
  • Much space for progress from the wild to civilization;
  • Single- and multiplayer mode with unofficial servers allowed;
  • No Internet required in the single-user mode;
  • Lots of DLC for console and desktop versions.
  • Many cheaters in multiplayer mode;
  • Bugs still noticed in the PC version (though less than before).

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