Its platforming is clunky, its animations stiff, and you eventually tire of its repeating puzzles—but I'll remember J.J.'s story, and her inner struggles, for a very long time.
Elea's first instalment gets less interesting as it goes on, and if that trend continues then Episode 2 could fall flat, especially if bugs and performance problems remain. But it sets up a fascinating world that promises a deeply personal story, and it's not afraid to switch gear and throw odd, dream-like sequences at you. By playing with your expectations, it makes you want to push on just to see what's around the corner.
While ARK can be a lot of fun – grabbing another player off of a raptor with an Argentavis feels bloody brilliant – it's rarely worth the hours of tedium. If you can spare the 100 or so hours it takes to get your teeth into it then I'd recommend you spend them elsewhere.