Studio Wildcard’s title has been making waves even though it’s still in early access on STEAM. Why? Because it has dinosaurs! Yes, that is one of the first things that’ll make you want to play ...

Studio Wildcard’s title has been making waves even though it’s still in early access on STEAM. Why?

Because it has dinosaurs! Yes, that is one of the first things that’ll make you want to play this game: you can domesticate dinosaurs. Then there’s also the fact that you’re running around buck naked in the beginning with nothing to defend yourself with. There are huge predatory animals chasing your life and you have to run faster than anyone else around because this is an action-adventure survival game. Any player who’s into the genre will lap this up without assistance. Something that we find interesting about the game is using your own ordure as fertilizer!

We’ll get to the obvious early access bugs, but first we’d talk about the visuals of this game. They are terrific but to witness them requires the average PC to have a literal meltdown when it shows you what the game is like in all its framing beauty. Compromise, tone things down, and make sure that you manage to play the game atleast. But then, it is no longer the same thing as it was before, because it doesn’t seem to evoke anything similar in its scaled down state – an issue that will be worked out in the final release.

The game has you dying right off the bat. You respawn, try to find something to do but die in the process fairly quickly. The PvP of the game is worthy of one’s attention, but sometimes you just want to go out, craft something, put a shirt on and build things after your respawn; not have a dinosaur or a human turn around and smash your face or punch your lights out respectively (yes, you lose consciousness!). They then proceed to eviscerate you so that you respawn again to suffer the exact same treatment elsewhere. It’s like bar fights; the first punch almost means everything. If you finally manage to get past the pleasantries and courtesies offered by others upon arrival, you can craft weapons, mine resources, collect recipes and build. Part of the building involves domesticating the many species of dinosaurs around you, and yes, even though they tend to intimidate, you'll soon learn that like the dodos, a swift slug to the back of the head and some choicey bits of food later, they are tame. If you fail the first time, try again. Either you’ll succeed, or you’ll end up making a meal out of it. You have more error-free punctilious ways of going about this but we liked our baton/blackjack routines.

Once the dinosaur is tame which will probably not happen if you don’t start out in the multiplayer (also being worked on), you can go for a ride or a hunt. It’s best to find a party though because the game is incredibly difficult if you’re going to go through it solo. You can build things, assign different dinos for different tasks but without the backing of an entire group for the several skirmishes that you’re inevitably going to face, you’ll have a hard time getting further along. This is definitely something that’s been forced onto you (for now atleast) but many aspects of the game will simply remain elusive if you do not indulge in cooperative play. The small barricade you’ve got for yourself and your resources with a sole dinosaur that you managed to tame will be destroyed, looted, pillaged with your pet dead and you killed in no particular order when you go offline because the game is unfortunately not fair in this aspect. When you log off, you do not phase out of existence. You’re just present there exactly as you were, but catatonic. What you've spent hours building can be destroyed by others in minutes. That is the bitter reality. You respawn to find that nothing is left and you have to start from scratch. It can be extremely disheartening, especially if you took the time out to name your pet and bond with it.

All in all, for an action-adventure survival game, Ark: Survival Evolved gives you everything you want and doesn’t even alter most mechanics for crafting and obtaining resources. There is a familiarity there. The world is rich, and getting richer, becoming even more so with every month that goes by until its final release in 2016. Some of these things mentioned in the alpha version will get to you. There are other glitches as well - the inability to domesticate animals, camera locks and game freezes as you end up respawning in the wrong spot, then dying and failing to respawn again. But the game has a world you want to immerse yourself in: some great mechanics in play, and deep and structured base building (even if we take issue with some of it). Hopefully, the final version would not have these complaints and make the game glorious.

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