A bloated, grindy mess, but so packed with options that a better game is hidden inside it.
When I'm having a good time in ARK, I'm having a really good time. The problem is that those moments are usually one part to every nine parts menial grinding and crafting - especially at the later tech tiers. Having to repeat so much work after failing an attempt at a boss feels far too punishing, and some really dumb dinosaurs can take a lot of the challenge and sense of danger out of the many primal locations. Even with all of those quirks, however, I'm still hungry to play more after the 60 hours I've spent so far. There aren't a lot of survival games that have legitimately held my attention that long.
This ambitious survival game emerges from Early Access fully featured but just as in danger of toppling in on itself as ever before.
Unforgiving difficulty and atmosphere are the main characteristics of dino-survival sim Ark: Survival Evolved.
Studio Wildcard has built a game that feels like a rough framework for players creating their own experiences, rather than a whole, cohesive experience in and of itself. There's a lot hear to see and do: gathering, crafting a wide variety of items, taming animals, and building tribes. But it's hidden behind an elder game that teaches players nothing and a mid-game of maintenance and tedium. But there's promise here underneath the cruft and rough edges. That promise just isn't full realized yet.
But apart from all this, aside from all the little flaws and the feeling of tedium that permeated large portions of my experience with ARK: Survival Evolved, I can't fault the game for what it is, which is one of the best in its genre -- even if after playing it, like Willard after his mission from Apocalypse Now, I'll never want another. If any of this sounds good to you and the prospect of a straight climb up a wall full of spikes to experience the multiplayer is not intimidating, add a couple of points onto my final score; you will probably find a lot to love here.
Even as an Ark aficionado, it's difficult not to slump in disappointment as you play the Switch rendition of what can be a fantastic title. The touch screen may allow for better control functionality as far as the other consoles go but ugly visuals and general instability don't really make up for it. Ark: Survival Evolved is and will remain one of those titles that shines brightest on PC and only there can it gain the appreciation it truly deserves.
ARK: Survival Evolved is a videogame with tons of posibilities where we'll fall in love with its splendorous aesthetics, its content and its particularly atractive thematic. It's sad, though, that our most important enemy in a world plagued with dinosaurs may be its disastrous optimization.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
It's incredibly ambitious, but without spending hours upon hours building a safe haven to protect you from the brutality of PvP, the single player feels a bit redundant without anyone to play with.
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.
Ark: Survival Evolved is an open-world survival game where you're fighting against the elements and the dinosaurs around you. There are some nice concepts implemented, but framerate and performance issues drag the game down. Unless these are somehow fixed, you might be better off steering clear.
If you have friends, Ark: Survival Evolved is a fun survival game, with options such as PvP or PvE servers to make every player happy. If you primarily play alone, however, this game will require a heavy set of grinding and repetition, turning off any players hoping to just get a taste of some dinosaur action.
A clumsy control scheme aside, the console version of Ark: Survival Evolved is a recommendation, especially if you going to play together with your friends.
Review in Swedish | Read full review
Amazing things are possible in the ARK — the gun-wielding soldier set high atop the most badass predator of all time comes to mind — but the experience is clouded by the best ones being locked behind excessive grinding, boring farming and the need for a large group.
ARK: Survival Evolved could have brought another interesting and fun game to the Nintendo Switch catalogue. Instead it's a severely distorted experience which due to its poor graphical performance, ends up not fulfilling any of its ideas correctly. As a consequence of its terrible lack of fluidity, pop ups and mistakes on the graphics department, ARK: Survival Evolved turns out to be an extremely frustrating effort that leaves no one satisfied.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
Ark: Survival Evolved, in its current state, is not the best port to grace Nintendo Switch. It is, however, a proper MMORPG survival game with a deep and rewarding crafting system and the potential for some brilliant online cooperation with your fellow survivors. There's a palpable thrill to moving from simple stone tools to more advanced weaponry as you begin to master the crafting cycle, an experience no other game on Switch can offer right now. But its myriad technical problems – ranging from texture pop-in to substantial performance slowdown – mean you really are better off playing Ark on a different platform for the time being. Patches could solve some of these problems over time, but we can't help but feel this ambitious title will never run at an acceptable level on Nintendo's hybrid platform.
In its best moments, Ark is the dream of every Dino fan. But bugs and the grindy game principle often spoil the fun.
Review in German | Read full review
Ark Survival Evolved is a good survival game with awesome mechanics, but it's also a technical disaster (lag, freezes, connection issues...). Such a shame!
Review in French | Read full review
Ark: Survival Evolved is far from being complete, what with its many bugs and a feature bloat that doesn't always hit the nail on the head. And yet, it's still an addictive grind that proves that life can find a way.
When you finally get over the initially steep learning curve and find fellow like-minded players that you can group up with, ARK: Survival Evolved becomes a truly enjoyable sandbox game where anything goes. But not even the impressive dinosaurs and cool tech can cover up just how repetitive the game really is, and how you're forced to sink in hours and hours of grinding before you can finally start to get to the ‘good' stuff.