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Game Review: Ark Survival Evolved – How Accurate Is It?

"Ark Survival: Evolved is a survival game with prehistoric animals such as dinosaurs. Here’s our review of what to expect, including inaccuracies."

Ark Survival: Evolved has become one of the most exciting survival games to reach our gaming consoles in quite a while. Players can live out a childhood fantasy of living and surviving amongst prehistoric beasts. Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to hunt a Raptor? Or run from a T-Rex? 

Or perhaps you’re more interested in what it’s like to breed a carnotaurus and care for the egg and hatchling until they can fend for themselves? Whatever your preference, Ark Survival: Evolved gives you a unique opportunity to explore a somewhat prehistoric world.

In this review, we’ll be looking at a few different aspects of the game. We’ll be exploring the gameplay and how accurately some of the dinosaurs are represented in the game.

Ark Survival Evolved

This review will cover the following topics about Ark Survival: Evolved:

Overview

Ark Survival: Evolved is a survival game from the developers, Studio Wildcard. The game can be enjoyed as an online multiplayer where you have to survive the harsh elements and various creatures and other players on an official server. If multiplayer like this is not your style, you can play solo or work with a friend on a private server.

Players start by waking up naked on an unknown beach surrounded by various wildlife, from dodos to much more dangerous wildlife. Players will have to gather resources such as wood, stone, fiber, thatch, and much more to start crafting tools and buildings for survival. Players will also need to hunt and fish to collect food. Throughout the game, players will have to monitor their health, hunger, and thirst carefully. The elements (heat, cold, rain, sandstorms) also impact your health.

As players progress, they’ll unlock better equipment and tools that they can use to progress in the game. Players can also tame various animals, which they can use to help with resource gathering, breeding, and fending off other animals and attacks. Players will also be able to craft saddles and ride some of their tamed creatures. You haven’t lived until you’ve gone on an adventure on the back of a T-Rex!

While the game is very addictive, it can sometimes feel slightly repetitive, and the grinds it takes to collect the resources needed to progress can feel a little stale. However, you can adjust many settings from the main screen, such as harvest yields and more, to help make these grinds easier to endure. 

Ark Survival: Evolved is also a massive open-world game that was probably released before it was ready. As such, there are quite a few bugs that could irritate some players. Being stuck with a leech on your screen for hours after removing it can be quite unsettling. Or having your screen image as a shadow double when playing co-op can be frustrating. Despite the many bugs, Ark Survival: Evolved is still one of the best survival games, even more so if you love a prehistoric setting.

Ark Survival Evolved

Gameplay

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of the game, let’s get into more details regarding the actual gameplay. As we mentioned, the game is huge. You’ll need at least 60GB of free disc space, and with the frequent updates, this will quickly start stacking up and take even more. Players on PC mention that you need a good gaming setup on your computer to enjoy the game to its fullest. Players on consoles such as Xbox or Playstation might not have the same issues.

Let’s take a look at some of the specifics of the gameplay.

Survival

The survival aspect of this game is quite challenging. Gathering resources while watching out for harmful predators and keeping an eye on your stats provides an enjoyable challenge. Before exploring, players need to stock up on what they may need for the journey, including food, water, and tools. You don’t want to get lost in the forest and start becoming dehydrated. 

The animals you encounter also make it interesting; there are many different prehistoric animals to encounter, like the Dodo, which turn out to be good sources of meat while posing little threat; however, you don’t want to start attacking another animal in the presence of a triceratops unless you want to try fending off this powerful dino as well. That’s not even covering the predators such as the raptors, T-Rex, and one of my most hated creatures in the game, the Troodon. 

Another thing that makes survival more difficult is that you drop your entire inventory and start again with nothing when you die. You’ll have to return to where you died to pick up your inventory. And if you died amid a battle against an Alpha T-Rex, that might not be easy. Because of this, it’s recommended to either build a home base close to your spawn point or at least have a chest there where you can keep doubles of your armor and weapons so that you don’t have to retrieve your inventory naked unprotected.

As you progress through the game, you’ll start unlocking better tools and equipment to make survival on this prehistoric island much easier. 

Crafting

Crafting is an extremely important component in Ark Survival: Evolved. You’ll have to collect resources across the island, and there are many different types of resources. Some are easy to collect, such as wood and stone, but others become more difficult. Do you want to build a compass to make navigating the island easier and keep you from getting lost? You’ll need crystals… which can only be found in caves protected by cave-dwelling creatures ready for their next meal. Many more resources like this will test your survival skills as you collect them.

As you gain experience and level up, you’ll be able to unlock more items, and as you progress, these items become better. You’ll start crafting better weapons, armor, defenses, and more along your journey.

Hunting

Hunting is an essential part of surviving in this game. While it’s possible to collect and eat berries, surviving on them long term will be quite difficult as they are not nearly as filling as a cooked piece of meat or fish. Also, you’ll need the meat collected from hunting to tame certain animals in the game. For example, Dilophosaurus is one of the dinos you’ll meet early on in the game, and they are one of the easiest to tame early on, but they require meat to tame. Hunting is essentially killing various animals and fish and collecting their resources. While it is possible to kill animals using only your hands, later, you can craft spears, knives, crossbows, and traps that make the process easier. 

When it comes to hunting, it’s important to know that not all creatures drop the same resources. For example, more difficult animals will drop prime meat or fish along with regular meat, but you won’t get it with lower-level animals such as Dodo. Other animals might drop rarer resources such as silica pearls and cementing paste. Some even have the chance of dropping items such as clothing, weapons, and tools.

Taming and Breeding

Taming is another feature of Ark Survival: Evolved that makes it an exciting game. If you knock out certain creatures, you have the chance of taming them if you can feed them while they’re unconscious. Different animals will require different foods, and some can only be tamed with very specific foods, such as kibble, which can be crafted.

There are also a few animals that you can tame without knocking them out. In this case, you’ll need to have their preferred food as the last item in your hot bar and approach them without scaring them to feed them. You’ll have to do this a few times, and there is a cool down between feeding sessions, so make sure you bring enough food and that you aren’t in a rush.

Once you’ve tamed a male and female of the same species, you can set them to breed. This might take some time, but before long, you’ll get either a fertilized egg or a baby animal (depending on the species). Eggs need to be incubated and monitored, and once they hatch, you’ll have to care for the baby by feeding it and interacting with it until it grows up.

Ark Survival Evolved

How Accurate is it?

Ark Survival: Evolved is such a fun survival game, and interacting with the various animals is nice, especially the dinosaurs. However, when looking at the animals, the dinosaurs especially, they aren’t very accurate with all the latest research. For example, the T-Rex and many other dinos are still represented as scaly lizards, rather than having feathers that we know most of them had. When it comes to the dinosaurs in Ark Survival: Evolved, they definitely represented dinosaurs the way we’re used to them, similar to the dinosaurs shown in the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies, as opposed to how they would really look based on the most recent studies. 

The developers explained that this was done intentionally so that the dinosaurs would be easily recognizable to most players. They also mentioned that it would’ve been difficult to have so many feathered dinosaurs as feathers are very difficult to create in a game – especially on the scale needed for Ark Survival: Evolved. We can’t help but feel that this might’ve been a missed opportunity for the developers. The accuracy in the game might be a disappointment to die-hard dinosaur fans. 

Ark Survival Evolved

Final Verdict

While Ark Survival: Evolved is an amazing survival game, when it comes to accurately representing prehistoric animals, especially dinosaurs, they missed the mark. However, if you can get past the inaccuracies, it is still a very addictive game that could keep many players entertained for hours. We would recommend giving Ark a try if only to experience one of the best survival games – but keep your expectations of the dinosaurs on a more fantastical plain.

Leri Koen

Leri Koen

Writer

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