ARK Survival Evolved – Preview
Follow Genre: Action, adventure, survival
Developer: Studio Wildcard
Publisher: Stdio Wildcard
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Tested on: PC

ARK Survival Evolved – Preview

Good: Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, beautiful environment, dinosaurs, extensive crafting system
Bad: Optimalization
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(3 votes)
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Rating: 9.0/10 (3 votes cast)

With the recent release of Jurassic World and the immense popularity of the survival genre, the developer behind ARK Survival Evolved must have thought it was finally time for a survival game filled with dinosaurs. Just recently the game was made available through Steam Early Access and of course we had to try it out.


Let’s get the biggest issue with the game in its current state out of the way. Optimization is a very big problem at the moment. You’ll need a pretty beastly configuration to run the game at medium to high settings. Even then you’ll experience hiccups and frame drops while playing as well as texture pop in. Don’t worry though as the developer is hard at work making this game run well on a broader array of machines as well as fixing the problems players are currently experiencing. Almost every day there’s a new patch which fixes or adds something.

That out of the way, let’s jump into an ARK shall we? The ARK is basically the island you play on, besides dense forests, lakes, beaches and other treats of nature, the island is filled with mysterious obelisks. Also random artefact drops occur which contain a variety of items. The reason why the obelisks are there or why the drops occur is not yet known. There’s little to none backstory either. The only thing you know is that you wake up on the beach of an island with a strange implant in your arm. Being naked, alone and, depending on where you end up, afraid you set out to gather resources, craft items and strengthen yourself. At first you’ll have to pick up rocks, fibre and berries and use your fists to punch trees in order to gather wood and thatch. All of these resources will then allow you to craft your first items. These actions also grant you experience and soon you’ll level up. Upon levelling you can choose to increase a stat such as health or stamina and then you can spend engram points. An engram is basically the blueprint of a specific item which, upon learning, allows you to craft it.


Having mastered these basic skills, you’ll soon have your first bits of clothing, weapons and even a simple shelter. You’re ready for them now. The dinosaurs. The island is actually filled with a wide variety of them, from friendly dodos all the way up to Tyrannosaurus Rex’s. Herbivore dinosaurs are neutral, meaning they won’t attack you as long as you don’t attack them. Carnivores are a whole different matter however as they’ll hunt you down once they spot you. Especially in the beginning this can be a very nerve wrecking experience as you try to stay alive while being chased by a bunch of savage creatures. In the case you are caught though and are shred to pieces, not to worry. You can respawn with all your stats and engrams intact. Don’t expect to be keeping your inventory though as you’ll have to reach the place you died in time to loot what is rightfully yours.

This is basically how the game progresses: gathering, building and fighting. You advance deeper into the list of engrams. You start off with simple wooden and thatch items but you’ll then get to metal, chitin and far more advanced weaponry and housing solutions. Housing is also a pretty important part of the game. After building a bed, you can choose to respawn there in case you die. Storage boxes are also pretty necessary as you’ll collect a bunch of stuff on your adventures. Later on you’ll get access to things like forges, automated turrets, irrigation for crop farming and more. To protect all of your stuff, you’ll of course need to build some walls, doors, foundations and roofs allowing you to build surprisingly interesting structures.


The coolest thing in ARK? You can tame dinosaurs. Yes really! If you manage to knock a dinosaur out while fighting by using blunt weapons or tranquilizers, you can start a taming process which varies on whether the dinosaur is a herbivore or carnivore. You’ll have to put enough food in its inventory and make sure it stays unconscious by feeding it a special type of berry. Over time the dinosaur will eat your delicious foods and eventually it will start following you around, helping you in combat. When unlocking the saddle engram for the specific dino, and then of course making it, you can actually ride it. And yes, even the flying dinos can be tamed and also the Brontosaurus is rideable.

You can choose to play ARK locally by yourself but you could also join an official server or one of the many unofficial ones. Possibilities range from hardcore roleplaying servers to simple PvE and PvP servers. Playing with other players can be very rewarding or very frustrating depending on your playing style. To help people play together, there’s a tribe system in the game allowing people to group together sharing their buildings and dinosaurs over the whole tribe. The whole system allows for a very enjoyable experience when playing with friends.



ARK Survival Evolved is a welcome variation to the survival genre as it stands today. There are still a bunch of optimization issues holding it back but let’s not forget it’s still in an early alpha stage. The already large amount of craftable items, taming dinosaurs, the mysterious backstory and a beautiful environment are very promising. If you think your computer can handle it, be sure to check out ARK Survival Evolved, even in its current alpha state.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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ARK Survival Evolved - Preview, 9.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

I'm currently studying software-development. My main hobbies are gaming (software/hardware) and music (jazz saxophone player). I game primarily on PC (and also love building them) but also play on PS3, iOS and Android.

1 Comment

  1. […] Ever since Jurassic Park brought the dinosaurs back from extinction I’m sure everyone thought about it at least once. Wouldn’t it be cool to ride your own personal dinosaur? Ark: survival Evolved will bring us just that, rideable collectible dinosaurs with survival as a side dish. It looks stunning in any case. Today Studio Wildcard announced the arrival of private servers for the PlayStation 4 with Xbox One coming a little later. So you can now rent a server, invite your ninety-nine best friends and jump right into the action upon release day. Hosting your own server will allow you to modify a lot of parameters so you can tweak the game to your heart’s desire or frustration of your fellow player. A preview can be found here. […]

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