ARK: Survival Evolved (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 29.08.2017

Review for ARK: Survival Evolved on PC

The sandbox creative game has really taken off over the past few years. With titles like Minecraft, Terraria, and Life is Feudal to name just a few, the genre is in full bloom. What does ARK: Survival Evolved have to throw into the mix? Dinosaurs, lasers, and poop. Lots and lots of poop.

ARK had a simple premise. Wake up in a strange world with lots of dinosaurs roaming about. Then survive. Be careful, though; the dinos are everywhere and everything will need to be hand-crafted from the ground up - including the most basic of clothes. However, spend the time working and not only will that crude Stone Age where even a simple thatch hovel was a massive undertaking be left behind, but it won't be long before the dinosaurs themselves are tamed into service.

At its core, this sounds like a very simple idea and would be rather effective. After all, where the goal in Minecraft was creativity, the goal in ARK is survival. Two entirely different goals that are hoped to be accomplished despite the similar premise. However, the cracks begin to show right from the get-go.

For starters, the simple task of building a house. While this isn't too hard a feat to accomplish in other games (or in ARK), this simple task does start to highlight the problem. Namely that, in order to build even a simple thatch house, the player first needs to sit down and grind. Items aren't created freeform, but, rather, from a series of blueprints. This is great for a survival title, as it helps keep the field balanced. However, in order to utilize said blueprints, they have to be unlocked first. That takes time and levelling up. Several levels will need to be obtained for even the most basic of things to be crafted, and blueprints require points to be unlocked, limiting how many can be.

To top it off, building even a basic house can be decently expensive. Between levelling up, spending the points, then gathering the materials, just having a bed for the first night can cost the entire day. This cost doesn't really go down; it just gets mitigated by better tools, allowing for higher resource income. It might sound like a fix, but the problem becomes apparent once outside of the single-player mode.

Screenshot for ARK: Survival Evolved on PC

In the multiplayer, there tends to be one or two alpha tribes who regularly expunge competition - so trying to lone wolf it, or even simply survive without falling into line with them, results in an unwinnable situation where the days are spent merely trying to keep a simple hut up and unpillaged. Meanwhile, the alpha tribes, between their high tech and resource lackies, can easily afford stuff no loner or small tribe could reasonably expect to accomplish, even if they weren't being frequently pillaged.

Play single and be stuck in an uphill battle to slowly accomplish everything that normally requires tribes to do, or play multiplayer and get exposed to what is basically Lord of the Flies with velociraptors.

This isn't to say that ARK is bad. The mere premise - survival with a bunch of dinosaurs - combined with the fact the game is at least decently well-made, from the visual appearance, to the way the survival is handled, and so forth, is pretty good. It's just that logging on to a multiplayer server only to end up being ganked until joining a large tribe in the hopes of mere survival is like a freaking bat to the face in terms of enjoyment.

As a result, many of the game's good points are hidden under the ruins of the lovingly crafted hut and bodies of beloved dinosaurs, while the single-player suffers from being underwhelming in comparison to the multiplayer, as ARK was made with the intent of multiplayer survival in mind.

Screenshot for ARK: Survival Evolved on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


To say that personal frustration isn't involved would be a lie. To say that said personal frustration seems to come around because a game wasn't properly balanced between the multiplayer and single-player aspects, with it being tilted a bit too heavily towards the top dogs, would be true. As a single-player title, ARK: Survival Evolved can get quite tedious and annoying having to handle tasks meant for multiple people solo. As a multiplayer game, having to submit to survive and not have everything ruined is annoying, as well. Hopefully, a better balance can be found, but, for now, the game just feels wrong for what it's supposed to be.


Studio Wildcard


Studio Wildcard





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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