Ark: Survival Evolved is playable but even with a 1.0 next to the name now, the game still really feels like its’ in beta.

Ark: Survival Evolved is a game that is extremely hard to review. The amount of content in Ark is astonishing. There is so much to do in the world of Ark and running out of things to do is basically impossible.  My issue became with Ark was that is still doesn’t feel like it’s out of beta even though officially the title has hit 1.0 and been released into the wild.

Ark: Survival Evolved should be a home run. A survival game where you build and shelter and survive against dinosaurs. Go watch the launch trailer for Ark on Xbox One and PS4. It looks incredible. I want to explore this world. I want to see these creatures. Sign me up!

I spent the first few hours on Ark trying to figure out exactly what I am supposed to do. I get it, Ark is about making your own fun and creating your experience in this world with lots of amazing creatures.If you watch one of the trailers for Ark you will see a vast amazingly looking world. Filled with dinosaurs and creatures galore. When can I ride some freaking dinosaurs and dragons like I saw in the cool trailers? The answer to that question is pretty simple. Unless you really put some serious time and effort into Ark: Survival Evolved, you will likely never ride a single dinosaur or see something spectacular.

This becomes my biggest crux with Ark. The stuff you see in the trailer isn’t really what Ark is about. Ark makes you work for the good stuff, and I mean really work.  You need to understand everything about Ark to get the reward. If you want to ride a dinosaur, you are going to work your butt off for it. You are going to die a lot, as well as probably fall asleep picking away at a tree to get some resources. You need to commit time to get everything you want from this game. The idea seems to be when you finally reach that point of taming your first dinosaur, you as the player will feel amazing. The problem with that notion is that the “moment” didn’t feel like I had accomplished much of anything.

I would be totally fine with this if Ark had a tutorial that made some sense of what exactly you are supposed to do to achieve that goal. Pulling up the controller options made my head spin the first time. There were so many words I was completely overwhelmed. So I moved onto the “tutorial.” That lead me no where since it consists of a few pictures and some text on how to play Ark, and after reading the tutorial I think I somehow left even more confused.

But thats not the point right? It’s a survival game. You have to survive! Which is a fair point and a good argument, but the fact that there is a basic tutorial told in the form a few pictures and text boxes leads me to believe at one point or possibly in the future, Ark will get a real tutorial \that leads players down a path to help them achieve basic things.. Instead, you are sort of left somewhere in the middle. And the middle is basically a grindy experience that will either click with you because you enjoy hardcore survival aspects, or completely turn you off immediately due to the fact you can’t just run over to a dinosaur and have a blast riding it around,

So we have established that the game play is kinda hit or miss depending on ones individual tastes. But exploring those lush worlds you see in the trailer has to be an adventure on its own right? Sadly that isn’t the case. I played Ark on Xbox One, and the lack of polish is immediately apparent when you start moving and see the shadows popping in combined with a frame rate that is extremely choppy. Everything is a blurry mess on Xbox One and PS4. It feels and look unfinished in every way. Animations are wonky looking and I clipped through so many objects that I lost count. Its a clunky mess.

Ark: Survival Evolved is a mess all around. I didn’t even mention how there is PVP and how you can play with people, but sadly I couldn’t achieve that goal due to servers just crashing or being at max capacity. I think there is something at the core of Ark that is neat, but everything wrapped around that core experience doesn’t feel complete. The presentation leaves a lot to be desired and isn’t optimized for consoles. If you’re a hardcore survival game kind of gamer, then you probably have been playing Ark in early access for sometime already, but if you are new to Ark: Survival Evolved be prepared to work for your rewards.