ARK: Survival Evolved is a survival adventure game, which takes place on a mysterious island infested with Dinosaurs and other primal creatures. You play as either a man or female character, starting stripped down from everything, with only basic items any minimal clothing. You'll need to start harvesting the island for food, items and shelter to survive and keep yourself safe.
Not Your Casual Crafting Game
You play in third-person or first-person perspective as you start exploring this mysterious and beautiful exotic island. The key for survival is crafting. This game is based on an in-depth crafting system. To craft items, you'll need to harvest resources and use those craftable resources to create new items, quite similar to MineCraft in that respect. Every item that you craft have weight, and your are limited by the amount of weight your character can carry (although upgradable as you level up).
Besides various resources, there are also animals that can pose a threat to you. As you start up, you'll need to build a base to protect yourself. There are many Dinosaurs and other creatures living on the island that can pose a threat to you. You begin playing the game with very basic items, including your Specimen Implant and minimal clothing. You start at level 1 with zero experience, no armor and with the minimum character stats. The character stats including Health, Stamina, Oxygen (when underwater), Food, Water, Weight (how much you can carry), Melle Damage, Movement Speed, Fortitude, Crafting Speed and Torpor. You'll be increasing the stat as you start gaining more XP and leveling up your character.
You'll need to pay attention to the weather, the time of day, your hypothermal Insulation, and Hyperthermal Insulation so your character body temperature will be in the norm. To do that, you need to make sure that you wear the right clothes or even enter the water to cool your body temperature down. You can equip clothes to your head, torso, legs, feet, and hands. Without any equipment to start harvesting with, you'll be picking up items scattered on the shore and hit trees with your bare hands to collect wood. Just be careful not to hit the tree too much continuously as you can hurt yourself; although your health will slowly replenish over time.
After you begin leveling up, you'll earn Engram Points, which you can use to acquire new crafting skills. For example, when reaching Level 2, you can learn how to craft a campfire, stone hatchet, spear, note, cloth pants, cloth shift, thatch foundation and thatch doorframe. You should probably pick the stone hatchet that will help you with harvest more type of resource and do it faster. And also a spear that will assist you protecting yourself. Of course, it gets more complicated and interesting as you go along and explore the environment.
ARK: Survival Evolved has some RPG elements, so you'll found that the creatures on the island also have a level. The higher the level, the stronger the creature and, the harder it is to kill it. Once you kill an animal, you'll have to collect its body before it decomposes. There is a timer that tells you when the body will be decomposed (usually it takes a few minutes). There are tons of resources to collect and many animals living on the island. The gorgeous, vivid and striking visuals make the gameplay fun and immersive to play. It's so much fun starting bare naked and level your character up with new clothing, advanced weaponry and build yourself a home on that mysterious island.
One thing that I really liked about hunting in the game is that after you find new species, you get to see a detailed information about them (called "Dino Dossiers). This can help you learn more about the unique species living on the island. Some of the most popular Dino Dossiers are Ankylosaurus, Pterandon, Argentavis, Turannosaurus, Spinosaur, and Raptor; the last time I checked the wiki.
Now this is the best part of the game in my opinion; you can tame animals and make them your pets! You need to hit them but not kill them. Once they are lying on the ground unconscious, you need feed them with the right food that will keep them unconscious until they are tamed. You do this by dragging the food into the animal inventory.
You can hit the animal to keep it unconscious, but it will lower the time it takes you to tame it. Taming can take quite some time, it's not immediate. You can find yourself staying around the animal the entire night before it is tamed. Overall, I love that innovative taming mechanic, so cute, and this is a crucial part of the game as well as you'll soon find out. You can even ride a tamed animal, fight with it, and if it flys you can fly with it as well. Once the animal has been tamed, you have the option to view detailed information about it and name it.
Survival of the Fittest - PvP Game Mode
As I mentioned earlier, this game has both cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes. It's so much fun hanging around in the island with your friends and harvesting resources and fighting Dinosaurs. One of the latest modes announced for the game is "Survival of the Fittest" tournament mode.
In the "Survival of the Fittest" PvP (Player vs. Player) mode, which is a tribe-vs-tribe competitive game mode, the players fall from the sky into a small circular area on the island. This allows the players to get a good look at the surroundings before the match begins. It's very similar to Hunger Games if you've seen the movie. You can decide to risk yourself and go for the loot in the middle or run into the jungle and start safe. From that point on it's a deathmatch -slash- survival game. The area that you are allowed to explore is smaller compared the actual island size, and you can see the borders as a glowing dome surrounding the limited gameplay area. In this mode harvesting, building, leveling up, and taming happens much quicker. There are also dynamic events that take play every 30 minutes. Those events can include very harsh weather changes, dinosaur stampedes, player location reveal, etc.
Inspired by Hunger Games, when a player is eliminated, you'll see its avatar in the sky pointing the location he or she was killed. Each match can be very long apparently due to the nature of the game, and it has a 4:30 hours time limit. In that time, you'll have to do the same things as you do in the regular mode, Harvest resources, craft items and weapons, survive the hazard of the island, tame animals and try to beat the opponent tribes. Obviously you want to tame a powerful high-level animal to gain an advantage over your competitors. I enjoyed watching Hunger Games, and I'm sure many people will enjoy watching an extended match of "Survival of the Fittest", I know I will. There are also live tournaments scheduled for this game.
The game was developed by Studio Wildcard and Instinct Games using Unreal Engine 4 game engine. It's planned to be released to all major platforms, including PS4, Xbox One, PC, OS X, and Linux.
Overall, I am more than thrilled about this game coming to all modern platforms, and I am eager to play it on my PS4 console when it's released. As of the time of writing, ARK: Survival Evolved is available as Early Access game on Steam, so go check it out. An amazing survival game that any survival game fan must play.