Ark Survival Evolved review – is an action-adventure survival video game developed by Studio Wildcard, Instinct Games, Effecto Studios, and Virtual Basement. It is scheduled for release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux in 2016. The game’s early access began for Windows on June 2, 2015, for OS X and Linux on July 1, 2015, and for Xbox One on December 16, 2015. In the game, players must survive being stranded on an island filled with roaming dinosaurs, natural hazards, and potentially hostile human players.
The game is played from either a third-person or first-person view and its world is navigated on foot or by riding a dinosaur. Players use firearms and improvised weapons to defend against hostile humans and creatures, with the ability to build bases as defense. Players can also customize weapons using items scavenged from the environment. The game has both single-player and multiplayer options, with the latter allowing players to engage in simultaneous gameplay.
Development began in October 2014. The development team conducted research into the physical appearance of the dinosaurs, but took creative license for gameplay purposes. One of the game modes, Survival of the Fittest, was released as a free standalone game in March 2016.
Ark: Survival Evolved is an action-adventure survival game that uses a first-person perspective, with the ability to use a third-person perspective in some instances. To survive, players must establish a base, with a fire and weapons; additional activities, such as taming and feeding dinosaurs, requires more resources. The game’s map, known as the “Ark”, is approximately 48 square kilometers in size; there is approximately 36 square kilometers of land mass, with 12 square kilometers of ocean.
To build a base, players must gain structure components—such as floors, doors and windows—which are earned as they progress and gain levels. These components can be crafted and placed in the world. Players can create any structure, as long as they have the logistics and resources; the structural integrity of the building is compromised when the pillars and foundations are destroyed. Players can also craft items in the game, such as weapons, which can be achieved by collecting the resources and technology required for crafting. In addition, players can craft and attach accessories to their weapons, such as a scope or flashlight for a pistol or machine gun. Should players take damage, their health meter will gradually regenerate if they have consumed the necessary food, or if they craft items that regenerate the health meter at a faster pace.
There are sixty types of dinosaurs in the game. Dinosaurs in the game can be tamed by feeding them food after they have been rendered unconscious. Dinosaurs can also be tamed using kibble designed especially for each species. Once a dinosaur is tamed, players have access to the dinosaur’s abilities, such as flight or fast underwater movement, as well as its statistics, such as speed, health and damage. When the access to these abilities are gained, players lose control of their personal weapons. When riding the larger dinosaurs, other players can ride on the side with full control of their weapons. They can also be used to carry items, and players can issue offensive and defensive commands to them; for example, a pack of Utahraptors can be assigned to defend the base, or a group of Triceratops can be ordered to attack an enemy’s base. The game also features various other species, such as the dodo, saber-toothed cat, woolly mammoth, Meganeura, and Titanomyrma. Every creature in the game has living ecosystems and predator hierarchies.
Preliminary work on Ark: Survival Evolved began in October 2014. Studio Wildcard, the Seattle-based team behind the game, co-opted Egypt-based developer Instinct Games to facilitate development. When researching for information about the game’s prehistoric species, the development team read “general audience books” and online articles, and sought assistance from friends who studied in the fields in biological sciences. When creating the species and world, the team took creative license for gameplay purposes, although there is an in-game reason that the species have diverged from their historical counterparts.
The team added features to the game that would appeal to all players, as opposed to specifically players of the survival genre, such as the ability to simply explore the island and compete against large bosses, as a reward for uncovering secrets of the island. They also added an endgame for players to strive towards, as they felt that most survival games lack a final goal. They wanted to “provide a depth and scope that allows for the world to not just be a means to an end. but also a place to explore”, said creative director Jesse Rapczak.
The game, powered by Unreal Engine 4, contains “tens of thousands” of artificial intelligence entities, according to Rapczak. It also features support for virtual reality gameplay; Rapczak, who has almost three years of experience with head-mounted displays, described the game as being designed with VR in mind from the beginning.
The game was initially released through Steam Early Access for Microsoft Windows on June 2, 2015, for Linux and OS X on July 1, 2015, and through the Xbox Game Preview Program for Xbox One on December 16, 2015. The final game will launch in late 2016 for Linux, OS X, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One; it was originally intended for release in June 2016, but was delayed in April. The game will launch with support for Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, and the Xbox One version will be released via the ID@Xbox program. On March 16, 2016, the Survival of the Fittest game mode was released in early access as a free standalone game; it is scheduled to launch in mid 2016. There will be various eSports tournaments of the game, with a prize pool of US $50,000.