Ark: Survival Evolved
Top Critic Average
A bloated, grindy mess, but so packed with options that a better game is hidden inside it.
This ambitious survival game emerges from Early Access fully featured but just as in danger of toppling in on itself as ever before.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.