When I first got ARK, it was a part of a bundle, so I never paid much attention to it. It appeared to be just another filler game. However, as the game continued development and garnered more popularity, it was inevitable that eventually, I played it. Why not at this point?
I heard that it was a combination of Minecraft and dinosaurs, and I was excited to see whether that was true. My inner child was ready for this, as I loved dinosaurs when I was younger, and of course who didn’t watch Jurassic Park as a child?
The combination of the survival elements plus dinosaurs = what could go wrong?
It Is Minecraft… But With Dinosaurs!
When I started the game let me tell you: I struggled. Since the game was a sandbox, all you really have are the controls, and your own wit. There is no given storyline; you can collect pieces of lore by collecting the explorer’s journals and dossiers. These give you an insight into the history of ARK. You are left to do as you want and explore.
To start off you are naked and alone on a beach. You then have to gather resources to craft tools and items, then, eventually, can tame dinosaurs. I will say that it is a bit of a grind, as this game is “Minecraft on Steroids” but, it all pays off when you are riding on that T-Rex’s back.
There are a lot of quirks to the gameplay: it plays like a classic RPG with stats and levels up the mechanics. The more you level up the more things you can craft. Hence as you progress through the game you gain access to cooler stuff.
Eventually, you’ll be able to craft more high-level things such as tranquilizer guns, but not before you go through grinding with items as simple as a Stone Pickaxe. The taming system is a little tedious as well, requiring a lot of feeding an unconscious animal to make it like you.
These concepts are more understandable once you actually play the game. In the following gameplay video, you can see that ARK has crafting and resource gathering elements to it. As I said: there are RPG elements to it such as character customization.
However, this game is primarily a sandbox with dinosaurs.
The ARK Gameworld = Breathtaking
In terms of graphics, I recommend running it on the best possible settings (if your PC can handle it). If you’re on console, then there is less of an issue. The graphics and gameworld design are really what make the infinite grind worth it in my opinion.
There are a lot of different biomes to explore within ARK: Survival Evolved, from snowy mountaintops to lush jungle forests. Each of those is unique and have their own creatures specific to that biome. ARK wants the player to immerse themselves in this prehistoric/sci-fi world: hence the graphics demands are high, but worth it.
You will experience a good level of world-building if anything. If you don’t have a good graphics card worry not, for the game runs fine in low settings as well. But for one to truly experience the beauty of the game world the high graphics are a must.
Despite the fact that the game was a bit of a grind, and didn’t really have a storyline aside from defeating bosses (I’ll let you find out about that yourself), it was a lot of fun. To all the people who loved dinosaurs as a kid and always wanted to see them in person: this is the game for you.