Ark: Survival Evolved was everything that I wanted in a video game from when I was a little boy. Taming Dinosaurs and building massive bases and fighting other tribes to be the best. Over the years it has been fully released on multiple platforms and has various expansions that expand the games story as well as adding new creatures, weapons and structures into the game for you to get lost in. I have played Ark: Survival Evolved since day one on the PC and have sunk many hours into the game through the PC, PS4 and Xbox One versions, so of course I was going to pick it up the Switch version, I mean Ark on the go would be incredible seeing as I didn’t really enjoy the mobile version. That being said I might have given this version higher acceptation then I should have because of playing it on the other platforms first.
The game is played in third-person or first-person perspective depending on what the player prefers. It’s a fully open world and has you collect various resource to build an array of structures, weapons, and saddles. It can be enjoyed single player or multiple player but is best when playing with others. You have to survive the harsh environments and prehistoric animals to build up a tribe and eventually fight the end game bosses. There are caves, vast oceans and harsh landscapes that you will have to master to become the ultimate survivor on the Island. The story with Ark is good in a sense because you can either go looking for it and discover the mystery behind the Ark or just play the game and enjoy it for all the other reasons that make this game epic. I personally find myself working alongside the official wiki online just to get a helping hand because the depth of the game is incredible as you can build greenhouse, breed animals and build various weapons and sometimes finding the resources can be difficult. The Official wiki is like the Bible for Ark players but most of all if you’re in a tribe, the other player in the community is very helpful and enjoyable to play with, that is of course if they aren’t from another rival tribe.
The only thing that I didn’t like about the Switch version is it doesn’t seem to have any of the other maps available on it, so in terms of content it is lacking from the other versions that are available to purchase.
You start by making your survivor and being dropped onto the island at various locations of your choice. From there it’s up to you what you do, whether you start by collecting the basics to survive or whether you go straight to exploring. I would highly recommend getting a basic set up ready and then from there expand when you unlock more things by levelling up. Once you get to about level 20 you can start feeling confident and taking on the prehistoric animals and maybe even taming a few to help with fighting and resource collecting. You can craft basic stuff on your person but advanced structures and weapons need forges and smithy’s to be crafted. The main fun in the game is the wildlife and how you can tame them, there are a lot of different animals and if not all of them can be tamed. You have to knock them unconscious using tranquilizer berries, arrows or darts and once they are down you can feed them the required food to tame them. You will also come across animals that can be tamed peacefully just by feeding them the correct food. Playing PVP is fun because you can build a tribe and work with others to complete the story or just build a massive base. You need to find various artifacts around the map to be able to fight the end game bosses, you’ll find these in caves and various location and are normally very difficult to obtain. You need to be very prepared when going to collect them. Like mentioned briefly above, the game’s story is locked behind mysteries and encourages the players to find articles and bios for the animals that are on the island as well as others that have been before you. By finding these you can piece together the story of the Ark and what is going on and how you are able to tame the animals that are on the island.
Graphically the game is poor, playing in handheld mode is better personally then playing it docked which you would have thought would have been the other way round. The game looks like something that came out on the PlayStation 2. It has tones of performance issues like rendering the world and loading textures. The game isn’t optimised at all for the console and it makes it unplayable at times. Audio wise the game is fine, it makes you feel as if you are actually surrounded by dinosaurs and stuck on an island full of wildlife. If the game was better visually like its counterparts on the other platforms it would completely make you feel lost in the map instead of a rendering mess.
The game does have replay value as well as being very addictive. Playing the single player version where your PVE is very fun and allows you to experience the game at your own leisure and at your own pace. The PVP is fun but can be very horrible if you join a server that has tribes already on it because you will have to move quickly and try to survive. It also comes with the standard timers on Taming and Levelling up which takes ages. The game is at its best when playing with people because you can accomplish more in a tribe then on your own. If you’re new to the game it might not be the best mode to start on and I would advise doing a few hours on PVE to get the swing of things. Be warned that you will have to pay for the online subscription for Nintendo to play Ark online with other people.
Ark: Survival Evolved has been a go to game for me since day one. It got fully released on the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in August 29 2017 and just over a year later we get the Switch version which some people might feel isn’t needed. I’m sad to say that I am one of those people, don’t get me wrong it is the best portable version of Ark but with major gameplay issues and not being optimised properly it becomes unplayable and is not enjoyable. I love and would highly recommend it on the PC or PlayStation 4 but even still you will come across some issues but at least it’s playable. Playing it in handheld mode was where I had the most fun and playing it on my lunch breaks made me look forward to having my breaks, though when it is docked on a big screen it isn’t fun to look at and I prefer playing it on PlayStation 4 when I’m at home. For these reasons, I’m going to have to give the Switch Version of Ark: Survival Evolved a 5 out of 10.