Monday, 1 February 2016

ARK: Survival Evolved Preview Review

ARK: Survival Evolved is an ambitious MMO RPG style game mixed with the creative freedom of games such as minecraft which appeared as quite an interesting concept to myself and i was quite suprised when I took the plunge to buy this game, which is currently a preview game on the xbox one (Preview meaning the game isnt quite complete so it has a few niggles and strange things happening on it every now and then). Overall a stable game to play and a real bargain as you pay a discounted price and don't have to pay anymore when it becomes a full release (there is the option of a 1 hour free trial with each preview game, which I recommend using on any preview game) . But firstly I want to say a short bit about the minds behind this game, Studio wild card.

As far as I know studio wildcard is a small but new developer on the indy scene, and only have ARK on their list of games, but thats not a bad thing. Through personal experince and through social media they are dedicated to making sure the players are heard and problems are solved and the current level of support and news they provide is very impressive especially compared to the well establised dev's. So it's no surprise that this little company is growing rapidly as support for the game by its fans grows ever stronger, I can see Studio wildcard being up there with the big guns in the near future.
The story behind this game is to be quite frank, a big unsolved mystery. You just start off in your under wear, in the freezing cold and have a strange diamond shaped relic of sorts stuck in the underside of your characters left arm, which appears to be how you access your inventory and do basic crafting, its all rather strange. Theres also 3 large oracles of unknown origin in the world and loot crates that decend from the sky every now and then, also of unknown origin. And theres dinosaurs, lets not forget them!  After speaking to fellow players and surfing the web for clues, I've managed to find some theories as to what the story is. So the first theory is that your sent back in time to save some of the dinosaurs, which from the name ARK sounds kind of like noah's story in which he saved all the animals. Their are journal entries each time you kill a different species of dinosaur suggesting someone has been here before. Another theory is that the island is artificially made and that the players are just dropped on the island for the entertainment of a higher being. But thus far there is no true story behind it all so there alot of room for speculation at the minute.

Now for the fun part, or brutal part in my case. As I said before you start In your under wear stranded in the cold, I had to take a good look at the controls before I started doing anything as there is no tutorial and it is not made clear as to what you have to do. After getting myself antiquated with the controls I strolled off the beach and straight into a pack of raptors, It was quite a brutal experience to say the least and it was in an "easy zone" to start in, I dread to think what the hard starting zones are like. So I thought I'd have a go at crafting instead to get some safe ground established before exploring. I then had to figure out how to harvest wood as it is required for most craftable items, and as it turns out you litrally have to punch trees, yes you punch trees, which isn't so bad apart from it physically hurts your player so its best to make tools as quickly as you can. So you've got gathering down, now how do I craft is my next thought. It's not hard once you've figured it out but once again theres no tutorial for it so you have to figure it out, It's all down the left side of the menu if you're stuggling to find out how to do it. After all that I soon had a cozy hut, safe from small dino's.
 This is when I turned my attention to the shear amount of items you can craft in this game, it's very much an evolving game in terms of what you can build, for example you start with straw buildings and as you level up and unlock more you can build out of things like stone, which is much sturdier and harder to break for dinosaurs, which may want you for lunch. Weapons start of from the primitive spear and eventually you can get high powered rifles which you'll need to take on the bosses the island has to offer; The same goes for the armour, you start with hide and work your way up to various levels of hard plating which you'll need before you start trekking too far inland where all the bigger more viscious dinosaurs lurk. I personally found the crafting side of things a little too tedious, I think items require too many materials and I found myself constantly becoming overencumbered slowing me to a snails pace. One problem was the characters hunger no matter how many berries I had him stuff in his face he soon needed more, I did eventually start getting meat which fills him for alot longer but I still feel food was required a little too often and took me away from the whole experience. Overall my experience was pretty mediocre and everything seemed to run pretty smoothly for a game of this size. I really hope they can sway me with the full game.
So onto how it looks. its certainly not the best in terms of graphics but it was still enough to make my jaw drop. The world is full of rich colourful foliage, glistening water and endless mountain ranges, Its a sight to behold. There are always large herbivores walking around which is quite comforting for some reason. The dinosaurs themselves look stunning, and you see alot of them in this game...a lot. I did find however that the draw distance was a little unsatifying at times and didnt seem to be consistant, things would just randomly appear as if it had fogotten to load at times. Overall I found the graphics generally satisfying, pleasing to the eye and liked its unique style.

The multiplayer in this thing game is really quite fun, I went onto the servers and found a game within a few minutes. Now these online worlds can hold upto 70 players at a time and as soon as I entered the game I saw loads of huts and peoples characters sleeping, this is because whenever you leave a world your charater  then sleeps where ever you left, this does mean people can steal things off you when your not there so its advised to get somewhere safe before you leave a world if you have any valuable Items. I soon joined a tribe and they helped me build a place to call my own and even bred a T-rex for me and gave me the required items to tame! yes you can ride dinosaurs...and I gotta say it's pretty great. Overall I found the game alot more enjoyable online.

Written by Backhades 

Story: 1/10
Graphics: 8/10
Gamplay: 9/10

overall: 6/10

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