Ark: Survival Evolved on PS4 – The DVDfever Review

Ark: Survival Evolved

Ark: Survival Evolved shows that when games of this size, sheer magnitude and potential hourly gameplay come out, I often start to wonder what it would be liked to review games as a full-time career. This one has been out for a while but has passed me by. Now with its official release, containing every possible element of the game, I finally get my chance to play. After explaining the premise of this game to my wife, she decided that I wasn’t allowed to play it… but unluckily for her, I had to.

It is not often that I write a review and suggest that sound and graphics will hold limited sway in my overall impression. Ark: Survival Evolved attempts to be more than just a game; it aims to be a life choice – within 5 minutes of playing I had made a friend who had already given this game days and days of his life and who was willing to start all over again to create a tribe and play the new Ragnarok map. There are now 5 different maps you can choose from, which all offer a vast and extensive play-through. With so many different places you can set up camp, you could find yourself searching the maps for hours – although you would definitely get killed by the dinosaurs (or mean players).

There are three ways of playing this game – each with insane amounts of variations. You have the solo, the PVE (player versus environment) and the PVP (player versus player). Already my head was starting to ache. PVE is the best type of game to start on. Other people on the map can’t attack you, nor can they steal any of your stuff whilst you are offline, whereas, depending on server settings, whilst playing PVP, potential friends could turn into enemies, kill you and then steal your stuff within minutes.

Ark: Survival Evolved – Ep1: Official Release First Look! (Ragnarok Gameplay) – Petre’s Gaming Haven

The solo game follows the same principle, but with you being offline. Not many players about, but plenty of dinosaurs for you to tame and breed. And if this is not enough to get your head buzzing, you can also choose what type of server you are playing on, which include choices like: automatic top level, whether people can steal off you when you’re offline, exp rates, mining rates as well as a few other things. I decided to play the PVP mode with fast exp. It still took me an absolute age to get to the point where I had a good base and some cool dinosaurs and that was with my tribe member seeming to be playing every day of the week.

To pinpoint the purpose of this game is something I wouldn’t recommend. It really is your choice. Do you want to quickly try and defeat the bosses and uncover the secrets of the island? Because this really isn’t going to happen – quick and Ark aren’t two words which go together. Do you want to join a clan, breed dinosaurs and fortify your base? Do you want to just survive? All of these are fun and intuitive ways of playing. Having never actually found a boss, I decided that I wanted to play the game with a tribe, breed, survive and make a kick-ass base. 4 hours (my first sit down) into this game I realised why I have never tried Minecraft. My wife was right – these are the types of games I shouldn’t be allowed to play. You will know if you love or hate this game within a few minutes. Are you willing to persevere? Are you willing to die? Are you willing to grind? If the answer to all of these questions is yes then this could well be the game for you.

Graphics-wise, I was playing Ark on a PS4 Pro, with a HDR TV and using an online server. The graphics are sharp, the dinosaurs look real and the complexities of the caves and caverns, as well as the environment at times fascinate. This is the first game I have played in a while which goes from looking as good as The Last Of Us to as bad as Exhumed on the PS1. Some trees look as flat as a pancake, so of course I hacked them down. Gotta get me some wood! Overall, the graphics impressed and look a lot better than Rust (similar game available on the PC). At times I found myself stopping playing and just looking at the environment. Annoyingly, every time I did that, I was killed by some monstrosity of a dinosaur!

Ark: Survival Evolved – Medieval Jousting Event! – Fresonis

Throughout the game, your character will make some annoying noises as well as the dinosaurs. However, the atmosphere feels correct and you’ll become so engrossed in the game that the sounds of the environment will make you feel at one with nature. My base was near a waterfall – every time I went out for a wander I always got lost. Then, more often than not, it got dark. I had to randomly walk around until I heard the sounds of that elusive waterfall. Following this, like the hero I am, I would dive into the water and get all snug in my home. Now THAT is being immersed through the sound.

Ark: Survival Evolved unfortunately suffers from a fair few bugs as well as poor decisions. Playing online was great and really gave me the full understanding of the game. The only problem was that I would have to spend about 30 minutes each play trying to get on to the same server. Unfortunately, if I signed on to a different server, I wouldn’t be able to continue with my character etc. This annoyed me to no end and meant that I didn’t play the game a number of times that I was planning to. There is also a lot of talk about the duplication glitch, which means people can make whatever they want as many times as needed. However, I didn’t encounter this because I like to stay away from these, therefore it didn’t affect my experience.

This game is dangerous… during the hours I devoted to it, I found myself getting excited and frustrated. There will be people who play this religiously and it will take over their lives. It didn’t take over mine; I decided that I enjoy playing a range of games too much and can’t give my whole life to this one. I’ve got a kid on the way, you know. That said, if I become the person always on the night shift, I can still see myself getting back into this and wasting another 200 hours.

Ark: Survival Evolved is out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC, and click on the packshot for the full-size version.

Ark: Survival Evolved – Launch Trailer

Important info:

  • Studio Wildland
  • Developer: Studio Wildland
  • Players: single player, multiplayer
  • HDTV options: up to 1080p
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1


I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.


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