Preview: ARK: Survival Evolved (Xbox One)

As a man or woman stranded naked, freezing & starving on a mysterious island, you must hunt, harvest, craft items, grow crops, & build shelters to survive. Use skill & cunning to kill, tame, breed, & ride Dinosaurs & primeval creatures living on ARK.

Ark (3)


  • Graphics: Even at this early stage the graphics are some of the best on Xbox One. Beautiful bright vibrant vistas. Dinosaurs look really good and the water is something else. Looking as real as you can get, Dive under the waves and be even more amazed at the aquatic wildlife.
  • Servers: You can choose to go on different server types PVE is where you can team up with randoms and fight the elements. PVP is the same thing but other players can attack you as you can attack them. The safer option is you can host your own server and set it to friends or solo only.
  • Server options: You have full control over every little bit of the server. You can adjust options like how fast you gain exp, Adjust power of your attacks, Hunger levels and even how fast plants grow back. The best part is you can go back and change settings at any time.
  • Full day/night cycle.
  • Crafting system is very verydeep. You can craft your usual things like axes, pick axes and fires. But what it also lets you do is creat walls, door frames, doors, saddles and of course clothes can be crafted. The crafting system is made easy by showing craftable items showing as green within the crafting tab. Items in red are able to be made but lack the materials. Another cool thing is you can assign weapons/tems/tools to a shortcut bar. Once there you can quickly press the button and automatically craft the said item without going through the crafting menu.
  • You can put a pin lock on storage boxes and houses to stop people going in.
  • Stash drops randomly appear on the map and can be opened for loads of bonus loot. Some of the higher tier drops may require you to be a certain level before you can open it.
  • Weather can affect your character. In the sun you can get hot and lose stamina and dehydrate quicker. In the cold you can again lose stamina and struggle to do simple tasks.
  • HUD shows your short cut bar with button prompts, icons showing your status like hunger/drink meter, Stamina and health.
  • You poo regularly. Cant say I have found a good use for it but hearing a fart noise then seeing a smooth shiny poo pile always makes me laugh.
  • Friend invite system.
  • Engram points. Earn exp and level up and unlock a set amount of engram points which you use to unlock new craftable items.
  • Tame and ride dinosaurs. Get to re live your Dino Riders  fantasies at last in a game.
  • Atmosphere is tense and full of wonder. For everything looks beautiful and amazing but these dinosaurs can turn on you at any moment and easily take you out.
  • You can hack trees down, attack dinosaurs and hack their bodies for more materials.
  • Scavenge off the land by harvesting trees and plants.
  • Fast travel can be unlocked by crafting items.
  • Map is available and uncovers as you travel around.
  • As you level up you get a set of points that you use to increase your stats.
  • Controls are surprisingly easy to pick up. The game uses every button, Even using buttons twice but the game does an excellent job of explaining what does what with on screen prompts.
  • The scale of the game is so big that you can easily lose hours just walking around the land.
  • You can view dinosaur levels by looking above their head.
  • When you die you can go back to your body and take back all your items.
  • Storage box allows you to drop things in and out one by one or you can dump everything in one go.

Ark (4)


  • No proper in-game help.
  • No tutorial at the time and if there was it was so brief I do not remember it.
  • Easy to trigger a dino and ide instantly.
  • Unlocks as standard are slow.
  • Few choppy screen tearing episodes especially in busy areas.
  • Server holds your character and finding the exact server is really hard and sometimes t=you cannot find it at all.
  • Xbox doesnt get special events whilst in early access.
  • Still a way behind the PC version.
  • No achievements yet.
  • Long initial load time.
  • Menu system is clunky and slow and awkward. Especially in item management.
  • Sound issues with sound cutting out or random static noises.
  • Scouting dino levels can be hard to read.
  • A lot to take in and the crafting method of unlocking the recipe first takes a while to get used too.

Ark (1)

So far so good. I mean the game has a few performance issues but come on its early access for a reason. Each update does improve the game every time. The server issues need to be addressed and maybe simpler. I found its best to play the game on your own server so you can always access it and tweak settings to help you learn things and how the game works. I felt the menu system was too fiddly. Even just cooking a simple piece of meat on the fire proved hassle. Once done its a breeze but it’s just the whole learning the basics constantly that gets you.

I have to be honest though and even with issues I personally had and the few little niggles, I let it all go because the game offers so much and the amount of control you actually have is un matched. I get to ride frigging dinosaurs for Petes sake and build huge sprawling mansions up in the trees. This game is going to be one of the best Xbox One games this year and this is an excellent start.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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