What ARK: Survival Evolved strives for in it’s Early Access state on Steam is very apparent from the get-go. Start off in this open world, build and survive while also getting to ride or tame various creatures including, but not limited to, dinosaurs. This idea is interesting and I was excited to give this title a shot, but being an Early Access title it has it’s technical issues riding alongside various content and balancing issues.
These technical issues aren’t small either, I am running with a i5-4960k and a GTX 980 on my rig and was having issues getting past 30 frames on average. This shouldn’t be an issue. I mean after all, I can run even Batman: Arkham Knight without too many issues. After spending many hours on the Wiki for the game alongside various community sites for ARK, I decided to just try and brave it out with the unoptimized mess it was.
Here comes the fun part; this game has SEVERE balancing issues for new players. As someone with a full-time job, a wife, and various other hobbies, it would be nearly impossible for me to get up to snuff with many other players on any server. The game’s Tribes – which are basically guilds – are nearly useless and don’t care to help newcomers. Now, you can’t fault a developer for their user’s actions too much, but you can blame the balancing issues on them. And believe me, I do.
The design team did an excellent job on ARK and it does seem to look quite good for such a large open-world title in Early Access. I hope to see a large facelift for the title before it finally releases outside of early access, but it’s not too bad of an eyesore in its current state. The modding scene is pretty active for ARK and I wouldn’t be surprise to see texture mods in the future for users with more powerful rigs.
When you can finally get a decent hold of the game and manage not to be killed by the tribes around you, you can finally enjoy taming the wild beasts that roam the open world. While their controls aren’t the best in the world, they are excellent for something in early access. The controls were smoother than I expected and this was probably the most fun I had in the title. Aside from the beasts, controls for the game are simple and easy to get accustomed to.
Social interactions on the game are essential on the majority of servers. These interactions can range from bartering to negotiation on land to deception and so forth. This can lead to quite a bit of fun or some really irritating experiences. I had my share of both during my time reviewing the game, but I will have to admit that both sides of the coin were extremely memorable to me and probably the biggest part of the game that I will take away with me.
While ARK: Survival Evolved is in Early Access, it still feels extremely incomplete with the nearly impossible optimization that plagues the title. I can see how it has potential. But I can’t see myself picking this back up until it launches outside of Early Access.