The ARK: Survival Evolved Season Pass gives you access to three huge expansion packs.
It'll delight you, it'll make you despair, but ultimately Ark will leave you with a real sense of satisfaction. [Nov 2017, p.76]
Ark’s ambition pulls it in the right direction with more force than its clunkiness tugs it the other way. It’s always more enjoyable to spend time with a game that tries something new and exciting, stumbling along the way, than a game that tries to tick focus group-inspired boxes. If that game also happens to simulate an entire prehistoric ecosystem, and produces bewildering emergent scenarios like clockwork, all the better.
When I’m having a good time in ARK, I’m having a really good time. The problem is that those moments are usually one part to every nine parts menial grinding and crafting - especially at the later tech tiers. Having to repeat so much work after failing an attempt at a boss feels far too punishing, and some really dumb dinosaurs can take a lot of the challenge and sense of danger out of the many primal locations. Even with all of those quirks, however, I’m still hungry to play more after the 60 hours I’ve spent so far.
In its best moments, Ark is the dream game of every Dino fan. But bugs and the grind-based game-mechanics often spoil the fun.
Like so many survival/crafting games, from Minecraft to Subnautica, ARK presupposes a player with a lot of time to dedicate to the experience, a high tolerance for repetition, and a fondness for chaos and the unexpected. With its sci-fi inflected single player campaign, ARK at least offers a solo player the chance to get the gist of the game without the threat of anti-social humans ruining whatever progress has been made. For the past two years, ARK has been helping to shape the genre and now that it's finished, it feels like the genre is due for the next stage of evolution.
ARK is an ambitious project that, at the moment, lacks in optimisation: bugs, glitches and crashes happen too often and affect the gamer experience. The potential is enormous, but the devs should concentrate their work to solve all the issues and to fix what is already done, instead to produce new contents. Beware: the PvP servers are full of awful people, that's why you should buy the game if you are oriented to a PvE experience only.
Ark: Survival Evolved is a game full of rough edges. It's also a game full of some amazing moments over my total playtime. It's the kind of experience that has a lot of boredom and tedium, and a great deal of looking the other way in the face of bugs, but also some clear water cooler moments. There's something very cool buried in here, though I can't tell if that's because of some developer decisions or in spite of them.