Thoughts on Ark: Survival Evolved / by Jeremy King

Imagine for a minute that you and a friend are standing on a beautiful beach surrounded by palm trees swaying in the breeze. The two of you are casually gathering fresh berries from the foliage while chatting about nothing of any importance when your friend suddenly shouts, "Fuck! Run dude, there's a pack of raptors coming down the beach and they're moving fast!" And there you have a day in the life of Ark:Survival Evolved. 

Just released as an alpha preview last week on Steam, Ark is the newest in a long line of survival games. But instead of fighting, or trying to avoid, the typical zombie you're on the look out for flesh eating dinosaurs. You gather resources such as wood, thatch, stone, flint, metal, berries, and dino poops to build your means for survival. Along the way your character levels up allowing you to allocate points to your health, stamina, hunger, fortitude, etc. (I suggest you get quite a bit of stamina, you don't want to run out of breath while trying to escape from some hungry Dilophosaurus'.) Every time you level up you also earn Engram points which you can use to learn new things to craft such as flooring, walls, and roofs for shelter. All of your tools are learned through Engram points as well so you're going to want to think about how you delegate these points. If you've joined/created a tribe its easier to have each tribe member learn different things so Engram points are used to the maximum value.

Along the way you can use non-lethal means to bring down a dino and then nurse it back to life with food and once revived he will be your tamed pet used to ride and carry your supplies. Currently there are 28 creatures in the game with a total of 47 currently confirmed. If you've ever played Minecraft and thought to yourself, "One more block. One more block and then I'll exit the game and go to bed." you'll be familiar with the resource gathering in this game. "I'll just chop down one more tree for the wood and then I'm done. Its 3 am and I have stuff to do tomorrow so one more tree." Two hours and 126 trees later and you still have to force yourself to shut it down and get some sleep. 

System requirements are on par with most current games although optimization is not in the game yet. Running most settings on high I get an fps of about 25. That's with two GTX 780s in an SLI configuration. A tribe member found some .ini configurations post on reddit and was able to get about 40 fps with a mix of epic and low settings. I'll test these settings at a later date.

Overall I would recommend this game and I'd recommend getting in now while its only $25 USD. I'd imagine its going to be higher once it hits final release. It just came out and it runs and plays better than DayZ SA which has been out for over a year. - King4ID

Here's some screenshots because everybody loves pictures: Click for pic