Woo, my first review! Sorry in advance.
A few weeks back, Ark was on sale on Steam. I think it was 80% off, and it has been a game that I’ve had in my wishlist for years, I think.
So after chatting with some friends and watching some streams on it, I bought it. And then I disappeared for a whole weekend.
It’s safe to say that this game has become a favourite of mine.
Although the majority of games I play have a conclusive narrative at the end of it (I’m a huge fan of RPGs), there are a few games where I can mindlessly sit there and just do things over and over again… and this is one of those games.
Okay, perhaps I’m not selling it well on that point.
Okay, as far as story goes… there isn’t one (not that I’ve found).
There are a few notes and things to discover dotted around, but you essentially start by waking up somewhere, bare-ass naked, and go around punching trees, ripping up plants and picking up stones.
Oh, and maybe fighting a raptor or two (those things are no joke).
There are these huge giant rune-like objects, floating in the sky, and occassionally “loot crates” (the horror) appear for you to open. I’ve yet to be to one of the giant floating runes (anywhere near, really) but I’ve collected a fair share of loot crates and they do, sometimes, contain decent items.
But the aim of the game is survival.
As I said previously, you do things over and over again.
You go out, collect berries so you don’t starve, collect resources to make tools, use said tools to get more resources, run to the river to drink, collect more resources, and then start building some form of camp.
That is essentially it for the first several hours of the game.
You do not go exploring in this time, because the world that you are in is filled with a range of different monsters out there.
Okay, some are dinosaurs, but there are giant bears, giant snakes, giant bugs… and dodos.
Don’t get me wrong, planning and building a nice little settlement where you can grow your own crops and cook your own food is such a pleasant experience, even if it’s a requirement to playing the game (you can die of starvation and thirst), but the whole point in this is exploring… and there are scary things out there.
Did I mention the raptors?
Currently, in my first playthrough (after dying several times), I’ve got the start of a decent settlement near the beach. I’ve got a small garden going, growing various berries, some potatoes, lemons, and something else which I’ve forgot (these last three are rarities), several storage boxes which are neatly organised, a bed, and access to water and other resources.
Oh, and an army of Triceratops.
I’ve also started making a few camps dotted around as I make my way around the world.
So, one of the key features of this game is taming dinosaurs and other creatures. I don’t understand why, other than to live out some fantasy and use them as tools, but I’m not complaining. I love it.
You can see in the header my first two girls. Ruby and Emerald.
The were hanging out near my main settlement (after finally defeating a giant crocodile), and I wanted to try my hand at taming.
So I went to tame Ruby. She didn’t want my berries.
Turns out I needed to knock her out, so I punched her. Big mistake.
I was dead.
Then I found out about tranq arrows, so I crafted a whole quiver of them.
And after sinking several into her, I began the process of keeping her unconcious and force-feeding her to love me.
But Emerald was lurking, and as soon as I went near Ruby, she attacked!
Another round of dancing around, avoiding this bigger and strong dinosaur from killing me, firing arrow after arrow until she went down, and then boom, second dinosaur to tame.
I repeated this process quite a bit, and so here is my little family (after all these hours playing).
I’ve lost a few (some got eaten by wild dinos, some despawned, others just ran into the water whilst taming and drowned), but I’m happy with what I’ve got going on here.
Okay, but what DO you do?
As I mentioned earlier, there are big giant floating runes (you can see it in the top left section of the image); I guess it’s to go over there at some point.
There is a lot to explore, and I cannot remember where I even started out initially; all I know is that I’ve got my beds which I can spawn at.
And despite how many hours I’ve put into the game, I still get lost from trying to get to one area to another. So much so, I’ve taken out to marking out paths with torches and signs.
One of my friends said there is an end to the game, I’ve yet to confirm it, but I am enjoying the exploration and cultivation of The Island (that is the world I am on – there are multiple different worlds).
I have in no way explored any of it. I’ve literally gone around the island that my main base is on (and there are raptors here), and explored a few different coasts, but these places are scary.
As I go further and further in, the monsters get bigger and scarier. So I need more and more stuff to be prepared, which means building up my base more to gain experience, to craft more things, to get stronger myself.
I have no idea how to tackle some of the things I will encounter on my journey. I cannot do this alone, and I will ultimately grow attached to my dino-pets that I don’t want to risk them, but if I am to conquer this land, there needs to be sacrifices, and respawning is such a pain.
I believe this game is more enjoyable when you’re part of a tribe (basically a party of other players working together), but I am also just enjoying my time playing solo.
Could things be done quicker? Sure, but in today’s day and age where it’s all “go go go”, it’s nice to sit back, relax, and enjoy the view whilst running from the raptors.