I’ve been a huge fan of ARK: Survival Evolved since it launched into Early Access earlier this year. At the time however I didn’t have a PC powerful enough to run the game, so I held out hope that it’d come to consoles, though I new we had a long wait. That was until Microsoft announced the Xbox Early Game Preview. I was quickly given hope that ARK would be coming to the Xbox quite soon, and though the year is almost over, low and behold, here it is! But how does this early game preview stack up?
One thing I will say about ARK: Survival Evolved on the Xbox One, is that it feels very much like a PC title. The controller controls, specifically in the menu, feel ham-fisted in, in order to work. I mean, it makes a selection easy enough and does the job perfectly fine, but it just feels tacky and a little shoehorned in.
Next up, I will say that trying to get into a standard PVE/PVP ARK: Survival Evolved server, is a near impossible task unless you’re quick enough. As you can probably expect, there’s hundreds, maybe thousands, of players trying to get into the online portion of the game, and why not? That’s where the most fun is to be had. At the moment however, it’s quite difficult as the majority of servers which appear on first refresh are full. It takes some time, but you can eventually get into one of these servers, but for those wanting to just play, there is a single player option.
As with server-based online games, ARK: Survival Evolved has your character stored on the server you join, which means you either need to remember the server you’ve just spawned in, or alternatively, bookmark the server before you enter – though from my experience the bookmarking feature isn’t working. Essentially, your time online in ARK: Survival Evolved is a temporary one, unless you’re lucky enough to find and enter the server you were in previously.
This however is just a very small niggle to an absolutely impressive game. Throwing yourself into the game’s local single player mode – which to be fair is where you’ll have the most fun exploring the world – is fantastic as The Island is literally your oyster. There are no player-made shacks, no campfires left burnt out on the beach. It’s a blank canvas for you to shape, if you can stay alive long enough.
From what I’ve seen, the Xbox One version isn’t much different from the PC version in terms of aesthetics. The game looks stunning, even for an early game preview title. It’s also fully playable with no real obvious bugs present, or should I say, no obvious game-breaking bugs. There’s also a wealth of content to explore too. This isn’t just a stripped-down port, there’s already so much to do – if you can stay alive.
One thing I will say about ARK: Survival Evolved is that it’s a survival game in its purest form. Even as you first spawn, there are predators you’ll need to survive from. This game doesn’t hold your hand, it grabs you by the balls and shouts at you to man the fuck up, make some tools, and fucking survive. I won’t mention the countless amount of times I’ve been killed by a gang of Compys. Fricken little wretches.
There is however no tutorial present in the Xbox One version of the game. I’m unsure if there’s one present in the PC version, but this is more in regards to the control system of ARK. There’s nothing to explain that the “Y” button is used to pick up items, nor does it tell you how to make your first items. It doesn’t take much to figure out, but for the impatient player it may be enough to put them off. The game also doesn’t tell you that in order to begin you need to punch a tree – something which hurts your character and feels incredibly unnatural.
I mean, that’s realism and a half. If you went outside and punched a tree, it’d hurt, so it makes sense, but due to the loot notification being so easy to look-over, I didn’t realise that I’d collected enough wood and thatch to make a pick-axe before killing myself by punching trees.
Fortunately, ARK: Survival Evolved has a fantastic active community behind it and there’s already a wealth of content online showing you the ropes. More often than not, I’ll be playing ARK with my phone in my hand searching trough the ARK Wiki.
Already, ARK: Survival Evolved is a fantastic game for you to dive into and explore. Sure, there’s still some things which need work, but ultimately there’s enough content there to keep you playing for some time, oh and did I mention that the game looks absolutely stunning? The dinosaurs in the game give me a sense of awe each time they come stomping past me.
Unless they’re spitting shit at me, those dinosaurs can fuck right off.