ARK: Survival Evolved by Studio Wildcard is a survival game in a huge, open pre-historic world setting. The chance to get to play in this environment attracted both me and the rest of my family, making this a game that was fought over in the living room. We had played ARK: Survival Evolved originally on Steam and looked forward to seeing how it would work on a console.
From the developer:
In ARK: Survival Evolved, survivors wake up stranded, naked, freezing, and starving on a mysterious island where they must hunt, harvest, craft items, grow crops, and build shelters to survive in every biome. Survivors will tame, train, and ride more than 100 stunning dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts, including gargantuan creatures on a scale never before seen in video games! In every available biome — Jungle, Snow, Swamp, Redwood, and Desert — you’ll be able to fly an armed Pteranodon squadron over the snow-capped mountains, race through a thick jungle with your pack of trained Raptors, tromp through a fortified enemy base with a convoy of gigantic Brontosaurus, or chase down prey on the back of a raging T-Rex.
So, just as the developer says, in ARK: Survival Evolved you awaken in a pre-historic world and must immediately begin to collect resources and create items to survive. I know this may sound familiar to those of you who are already veterans of games like Minecraft, Rust, and Terreria, but unlike those games, you do not sacrifice a beautifully rendered world. What may also be familiar is the almost unlimited amount of time that you can spend playing ARK. It is very easily a 50+ hour game in a massive sandbox. There are hardly any limits to your imagination in this game. Build, hunt, tame: whatever you wish.
Now, there is no real narrative to the game so if you are looking for a compelling story wrapped in a sophisticated lore, this is not the game for you. ARK provides both PVP (Player vs Player) and PVE (Player vs Environment) modes. In PVE players cannot kill or rob from each other but can see each other’s works and admire their achievements. PVP is a knockdown drag out war amongst players. Between these two modes and the single player, it allows you some variety. The ceiling for the game is also very high; you may start as a cave dweller but through the leveling system you will eventually be a machine gun-toting mercenary riding a T-Rex that you tame.
In conclusion, if you are a fan of survival video games or pre-historic worlds, ARK: Survival Evolved is a wonderful and unique experience for you. It is still in early access at a very affordable price of $45.00 in the Microsoft store.
Studio Wildcard Provided a review copy of this game.