More than a couple of years after it emerged as (yet another) open-world survival hit, Ark has finally launched. We are still learning how customer-funded, Early Access development affects games, but also for Ark the flush of cash and attention appears to have resulted in an unbalanced game with way too many extraneous features and unrefined, unfocused fundamentals.
Getting up in Ark: Survival Evolved is a little of a shock. Lost and naked, new players open their eyes regarding the shore of an island teeming with dinosaurs and a wild, unpredictable system. Ark is a world that is open the genuine feel: there is nowhere I need to go, nowhere I am allowed to be. But I can’t just starve to loss of life on that coast. Therefore I set off.
Unlike some other survival games, Ark’s exploration of technology goes all the way: that stone ax eventually contributes to rocket-propelled grenades, industrial forges, and forcefields. Necessary tools assist me to have more trees and rocks, bootstrapping my way up through the reputation for human-made technology. When you look at the jungle, I tear a branch of a tree, tie it to a rock, and then the stone is had by my ax.
Whether I’m wearing a hat made from steel or grass, my goals in Ark are virtually unlimited. Like most of the PC games that are best, Ark asks us to set goals for myself and be the author of my personal stories. I could climb the most massive mountains, I could become a game that is big, or I can tame my very own pterodactyl and take to the skies. I made the decision I desired a fantastic little house on a cliff overlooking a waterfall, so I set up camp, built storage containers, and started stripping the hills of wood and stone. However, the side that is ugly of independence is Ark’s environment itself. More than upgrading tech and building homes and riding dinosaurs here is the angry core of Ark: everything takes resources; gathering resources needs time and energy to work; at any moment, death might wreck everything.
Once, I happened to be out hunting with a tamed raptor when a wild, high-level predator murdered us both, then camped beside, chomping to our dead bodies. Feeling fear that is a game, fear of failure, fear of loss can be fun. It was a bitter moment, and I also not sure I can recommend it. However, when so much of Ark is grinding drudgery, the results of their unforgiving style are hard to enjoy. Escaping that fear may be dramatic, and the tragedy of almost getting away can be unforgettable. I walked out of my wooden house, tore a branch off a tree, tied it to a rock, and made myself a stone ax that is new.
Ark supports an enormous community of modders who make it more focused and more refined. It’s easier for me to comprehend Ark less as a game than as a platform that hosts anything players can think up. But as a platform, it’s ambitious. As a game, Ark is more magnificent than frustrating if I do say so myself.