The term “ambitious” gets thrown around a lot in the video game industry, but I can’t think of a title more deserving of the word than Ark: Survival Evolved. If you’re unfamiliar with Ark it can quickly be summed up as an adventure-survival game but that doesn’t do the game the justice it deserves. This is a living, breathing world filled with mysteries, monstrous dinosaurs and other mythical beasts.
There is a ridiculous amount of stuff to do. You can tame, breed, train and ride dinosaurs for whatever purpose you choose. You can build a utopia or be a total jerk and go and raid other people to steal their stuff. There’s also a dynamic weather system that works perfectly with the game’s farming and harvesting aspects. If any of this sounds familiar it’s either because Ark has somehow managed to work in almost every game mechanic form any game available or you may have seen in on early access.
Ark has been a work in progress for ages now on both PC and Xbox One, and this has given the developers a leg up in many ways. Being so open with an ever-expanding community allows the creators access to feedback almost immediately. If something doesn’t quite work out the horde of people testing will very vocally tell the people who need to know before more time and resources are wasted on a dead-end. The only real downside is the lack of any kind of a surprise when the full game launches, but the benefits surely outweigh such trivial details.
Ark will finally be released as a full retail game later in the month and will come bundled with a bunch of DLC — some of it free. I know; crazy, right? It’s just another benefit of the early access development process. One such piece of DLC is the highly anticipated “Ragnarok”, built by a tiny team of modders with the backing of Ark‘s developers. That’s right — community members are making an official expansion that will be included in the game at launch.
This isn’t just a small bonus either; I saw “Ragnarok” at around 50% of its completion and it was already (roughly) the size of the island that the main game is set upon. It’s not just the size of Ragnarok that is impressive, but the amount of detail and new things it brings. Across the map, there are an impressive amount of biomes to explore, ranging from swamps to icy mountains to fully active volcanoes. You can choose to try and take up residency in any of these of you really want a challenge.
“Ragnarok” also introduces new creatures such as Ice Wyverns and Lava Elementals to the series. My favourite new addition, though, has the be the Griffin. It’s a completely bad-ass flying mount that makes traversing the island possible. Remember this is all from a new DLC; I’ve barely had a chance to scratch the surface of what the regular game entails.
Ark hasn’t even officially been released yet already has a loyal and talented community behind it. I think its a safe to say that the ever-growing Ark: Survival Evolved will be around for a long time to come. A full retail release is planned for later this month.