Review: ARK: Survival Evolved (PlayStation 4)

Stranded on the shores of a mysterious island, you must learn to survive. Use your cunning to kill or tame the primeval creatures roaming the land, and encounter other players to survive, dominate… and escape.


  • The graphics are really good and the game does look something special.
  • 36.39GB Download size.
  • Platinum trophy with three separate sets for DLC.
  • Graphic options- V-sync, High detail, Motion blur and UI Scale.
  • Survival guide- Text based manual with some basic lore.
  • Two modes- Join Ark and host/local.
  • Join Ark- Server browser with map size filters.
  • Host/local- Full settings for setting up your own game. You have sliders for things like Dino damage, EXP earned, Taming speed etc. Think of them like the EA sliders you get in Madden or FIFA games.
  • Servers types-Singleplayer, Dedicated, Non dedicated and procedural. Can set password, Admin password and session name. Private match option.
  • Minecraft meets Dino riders gameplay.  Survival game.
  • Two game types- Survival evolved and Primitive plus official.
  • Can ride Dinosaurs!
  • Two Ark types- Story or custom.
  • Character creation- Sliders for all parts of the body, Male/Female and spawn region.
  • Drop in and out splitscreen support.
  • UI has been reworked and is a lot easier to read.
  • Tools/weapons yield different resources. Hitting a tree with an axe gets wood but using a pickaxe will get thatch more. Clever little system.
  • Earn EXP from doing anything and level up to unlock engrams (blueprints).
  • Player bar- Like in Minecraft you can have a selection of tools/weapns/resources on the hot keys.If you break an item you can craft straight from here.
  • Crafting is plentiful. You can craft walls/doors/boats/traps and so much more. As you progress you actually start evolving into new tech.
  • Clan (tribes) support.
  • Full underwater eco system. You can craft scuba gear to go deep sea fishing!
  • Day night cycle with rain.
  • All Dinosaurs have a level so you know if its do able.
  • Online- PvE and PvP.
  • Loot cache drops appear randomly on the map.
  • Can lock doors and caches with pin codes.
  • Cave systems act like dungeons with loot and plenty of danger.
  • Hidden collectibles like treasure maps and lore pages.
  • The map is huge and has many biomes from jungles to snowy mountains and beaches.
  • Many Dinosaurs to find, Tame and raise.
  • Command line support- Allows you to legally cheat as it were. You can spawn any item/weapon resource and basically ruin the game in a few clicks.
  • A lot of fun in co-op.
  • Decent soundtrack with great Dinosaur noise.
  • Clever eco system where you can grow your own food, Create underwater pens for dinosaurs. Breed dinosaurs together.
  • PvP is more about attacking and defending bases whilst trying to survive.
  • You have health/hot and cold/hunger and thirst meters you need to monitor.
  • Craft many tools like compass, Telescope, map and many more.


  • Not every option in the setup menu has a tooltip.
  • Button presses seem to need a few presses to register.
  • Slowdown in a lot of places.
  • The big content drop Ragnaroc is locked behind story progress.
  • Long loading times.
  • Performnace issues generally across the board even on the PlayStation Pro.
  • Online PvP is brutal and full of trolls. You can have your base destroyed when you are offline.
  • Constant management of hunger and thirst with it always feeling like you hot or cold.
  • Slow starter.
  • A lot to take in.
  • You dont know about so many mechanics the game has unless you do your homework.
  • Command line ruins the game and once you have tried it it is really hard to play the game properly afterwards.
  • Random glitches like getting stuck in scenery, Dinosaurs not behaving as they should.

The Numbers:
  • 9/10
    Graphics - 9/10
  • 7/10
    Sound - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Accessability - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Fun Factor - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Length - 9/10


Whilst Ark is a lot of fun and does look dam tasty, The sad truth is the game has a lot of issues under the hood and does require a lot of work to get to the good stuff. Course you could cheat with the command line but then whats the point, Its a dark road. My affair with the game is very hot and cold. One minute its the best thing ever the next minute I cannot stand it as it constantly forces me to do this or do that and I cant do this because of so and so. Its a shame as it has a lot of promise but man it just falls short.

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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