ARK: Survival Evolved (PlayStation 4) Preview

By Thom Compton 21.01.2017

Review for ARK: Survival Evolved on PlayStation 4

MMOs and survival games have a lot in common. For one thing, they're both known for being very hard for newer players to jump into due to their unforgiving nature and specific rule sets. It only seems natural, then, that the two would find common footing in ARK: Survival Evolved by Studio Wildcard. Is this game much more than just a tough experience with no other substance, though?

ARK: Survival Evolved drops the player into a world devoid of mercy. From the very beginning, they must fend for themselves and trek across various massive landscapes, fighting off both the elements and other inhabitants, who come in the form of dinosaurs. While there are also giant bugs and the occasional Dodo bird, the dinosaurs are the most noticeable inhabitants.

Let's be very clear from the get go: ARK: Survival Evolved is gorgeous even by current gen standards. One look at its vast jungles, arid deserts, and lush island "paradises," and it's easy to get caught up in how incredibly impressive it is. With details like rock curvatures, realistic fauna distribution, and some of the prettiest water in modern gaming, it's easy to see this is going to be something special.

Screenshot for ARK: Survival Evolved on PlayStation 4

The game, however, doesn't play in terms of difficulty. Players will need to experiment at first with the controls to get their bearings, and from there they need to quickly build a shelter. They could go out and just hunt dinosaurs right away, but it won't do them much good. Dinosaurs are not lightweights, toppling a new player without much, if any issue. However, through perseverance, these majestic beasts can be tamed, and then suddenly you have a pet that can maim a lot of the beasts that want to slay you.

Scorched Earth, one of the maps, adds in a high degree of environmental dangers. While all the various maps have environmental concerns, Scorched Earth is a desert where the heat is slowly hunting you down. When you spawn, a large ark in the distance will grab your attention, but you'll almost immediately need water. Finding some out here is a chore, and the occasional cactus husk seems to do little to help.

Screenshot for ARK: Survival Evolved on PlayStation 4

Fortunately, a shallow pool of water will be stumbled across, but a giant bug circles overhead. You prepare to fight it, but it pays you no mind. Every animal, dinosaur or not, is clearly very aware of itself and the player, and the AI is absolutely fantastic. Most dinosaurs don't seem to be hostile immediately, though that isn't to say none of them are.

Another map, The Center, is the most diverse map in the game. While players may start on a beach, they will quickly find the map is filled with all sorts of locations. From an island covered in volcanoes, to a series of caverns, to a snowy mountaintop, there's something for everyone in this map.

Part of what makes ARK: Survival Evolved so exciting is just how much there is to explore, and fortunately for players interested in seeing everything in the game, there is an option to essentially turn the difficulty completely off. In fact, the level of customisation is absolutely incredible; from the character customisation to adjusting the way the game behaves, there's a plethora of ways you can make the game feel your own.

Screenshot for ARK: Survival Evolved on PlayStation 4

The multiplayer just adds more depth to an already deep experience. Players can get a group together to form a tribe and hunt and tame dinosaurs all day long. Local matches can be hosted, where you descend on one another in an intense assault. There's so much here, and the fact that there's even a single-player experience to be had means that players who may not enjoy MMOs can have fun without playing online.

There are some current technical hiccups, such as disappearing textures, and some very off-putting video issues, but they can be expected in a game that is not technically finished. When it finally releases, ARK: Survival Evolved could possibly be one of the biggest and baddest online games the PS4 has to offer.

Screenshot for ARK: Survival Evolved on PlayStation 4

Final Thoughts

If you are fan of incredibly challenging but rewarding games that require a good understanding of the world you're in, ARK: Survival Evolved is definitely for you. There's a heavy learning curve, but it manages it well enough that whether or not you're a fan of online gaming, there should be something to enjoy. Hopefully, once it's officially released, it manages to be everything it seems like it's going to be.


Studio Wildcard


Studio Wildcard





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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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