So how you been? Today for the first time in a while I'm going to talk something other than #Override.
Yup; today I'm talking about a game I've been playing called ARK: Survival Evolved.
Don't treat this as a review (which is why those regular readers may have noticed this post isn't a Second Opinion post. Instead this is just an initial findings, how I'm experiencing the game, what I'm liking, what I'm not liking, etc.
What is it?
ARK: Survival Evolved is a survival game on Steam. What that means is that it's a game where you the player needs to survive. Survival being the acquisition of goods and materials to build tools and shelter as well as weapons and similar.
Other similar games you may (or may not) be familiar with are The Forrest and Rust.
What makes ARK different?
Yup Dinosaurs! Small nippy ones that bite at your ankles, big scary ones who bite your head off and everything in between.
Dinosaurs are the primary AI antagonist. They are the bastards who sniff you out at night, smash in your straw hut and eat you.
I should point out at this time that I am playing on a PvE server. I have no interest in spending ages building an awesome weapon or whatever to have a player N levels above me to 1-Shot me and steal my hard work
But Dinos are also a tool in the game. You can game them and use them as guard dogs, attack-on-command pets and of course: mounts!
- Yup! You can tame a T-Rex and ride around on it like a boss!
What have I enjoyed so far?
To date I've had a great time. The first time I killed a Dinosaur (Dilophosaurus) I felt like a total bad ass! Yes it's pretty much the easiest Dino in the game, but who cares? I killed a Dino with a weapon I had crafted myself!
I'm also loving how the world feels. You're on an island inhabited by Dinosaurs and other players, but it really feels tribal. The first time I picked on something stronger than me (a Giant Tortoise) it killed me in next to no time. This taught me not to pick fights with Giant Torti. In fact that is largely how the game plays out for me. Every game session is a learning experience.
So to begin with a built a straw hut, I was super proud of myself as it had a cooking fire, four walls, foundations, a door and roof. I had gathered the materials and made it with cunning (hiding from scary dinosaurs) and patience. Then nice and happy I logged off in the house.
- Now in ARK your character is persistent. When you log off your character remains only in a 'sleeping' state but can be attacked.
Next day I log in to find out I had been killed by a Raptor, so I respawn and spend ages trying to find my hut again, this time it's missing a wall where the raptor broke through to attack me.
So I rebuild and build a bed. This requires a good amount of animal hides to build, so I go Dino hunting! Only herbivores, but after a while I return back with the hides and build a bed. The bed allows me to respawn back at the bed! So I know that if I die that night I can respawn there and not worry about finding my hut again.
Next day: log on and yup, I'm dead by Raptor attack again, so I respawn on my bed and see that 3 walls have been destroyed. Ouch!
The problem now is I'm starting to run out the natural resources in the area. In the distance I see a large Forrest, lots of trees! But it's a long way away, so I kill some Dinos, cook their meat, salvage some berries, fill up my water flask and set off on a trek to the Forrest.
After a long hike I reach it intact, but it's infested with Raptors, no doubt the same ones who've been attacking me while I sleep. Of course by now I've crafted a stone tipped spear and am able to kill the Raptors myself, I feel like an even bigger bad-ass!
So I gather the wood and materials before planning to head back. Then it hits me! You can fast travel between any bed you have built!
So I build a small hut, put in it only a bed. I can't use it to fast travel back to my primary hut as doing so will make me drop all my items. What it does mean however, next time I want to gather wood I can fast travel to my new satellite hut, harvest wood and the walk home. In other words only making the journey once, not twice!
Then I have to log. I know what's going to happen; Raptors! So I don't log out in my hut, instead I head down to the starting area beach and log out there. With hope nothing will eat me there.
And that's where I am now. No idea if I'll still be alive tonight, but I'm excited to see!
What don't I like?
Well for starters we have a very very long load screen. Seriously, it takes so long that you start to wonder if the game has crashed.
Next is the persistent presence in the world. Having to craft everything from scratch every day because a Dino attacked me during the 24hrs I was away from my computer is very annoying.
Then there's the spec itself. The game is super resource heavy! However it is in 'beta' status so with hope this will improve as time goes by.
Next, and possibly the biggest hate of mine: punching!
To begin with when you have no tools, you're left with your fists alone. You want some wood to build a pick-axe? You had better get punching trees! Yup... Punching... Trees...
I know, it's ridiculous.
Want to capture a dinosaur to tame? Punch it! Punch it in the head! Over and over until it gets knocked out.
Seriously, you begin the taming process by punching a dinosaur.
What we are looking at is a game mechanic that is used because it fits within the confines of the game rules, but by itself is a very silly mechanic.
- I mean c'mon... Punching trees?!?
Anyway, that's it from me for now! I'm loving the game and hope you will join me on the island!
Until next time; stay safe and be excellent to each other.
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley