Ark Survival Evolved PS4 Review - Is It Worth The Price? - 2017 Launch In-Depth Review [GAME REVIEW]

in video •  last year

In this post, I’m going to be sharing my Ark Survival Evolved PS4 Review and answering the question "Is it worth the price?"

BUY ARK SURVIVAL EVOLVED HERE


My Experience


I’ve been fiending for a survival game with a big multiplayer element for a long time. I saw games like Day Z and H1Z1 on PC and I hoped that one day we’d get a similar experience on consoles. Ark was the first survival game like that that made its way to PS4. I played it for about 3 months while it was still in Early Access back in January of 2017. I played on official servers and I created and ran a tribe that eventually became the Alpha of the server we lived on.


Gameplay


Ark has a few different ways to play the game that drastically change the experience. So for the gameplay section of this review I’m going to cover the experience of single player, PVP multiplayer on official servers and then on unofficial servers. I did cover the experimental “no tame” servers in another review but I have never played the primitive plus mode or multiplayer PVE.

Singleplayer


Singleplayer in ARK is basically an adult version of Minecraft. You don’t really have a set goal and your thrust into this world and expected to find a way to survive. You can try to complete the “story” and get to the ending but that aspect of the game is clearly an afterthought. This is not a story focused game, but you can immerse yourself in the mystery of the world and work towards uncovering the mystery while you build a place to live and tame dino pets.

The early game can be hard and you’ll likely die a lot but once you get your bearings and get a decent base up the challenge fades. Singleplayer clearly wasn’t the focus of the game and it shows. You can have some survival fun in single player but you will be missing out on the true fun if that’s the only way you play the game.

You can change a lot of the rates on single player to make the game less grindy, easier or harder depending on your preference.

Multiplayer PVE is basically single player with other people around. You can trade with other players and possibly get griefed and trolled e.g a tribe may lure an angry Dino to your base. You can also show your creations off to strangers on the internet.

Side note - The AI of the dinos is completely trash in this game. Many strategies for taming or killing dinos are based on exploiting the terrible AI. Of course, strong dinosaurs can still kill you if they catch you but other players is where the real danger lies.

Multiplayer - Official Vs Unofficial Servers


Official Servers


The experience on official servers is likely the experience that most people picking up the game will have. This experience may include waiting for 20 minutes or more trying to get onto your home server because it’s full of players. At the time of this review there is no queue system to join a server and the best way to get into a crowded server is to spam the join button and hope you get in or someone leaves. The devs are continuing to add new servers so these problems may decrease in the future.

The official PVP experience is extremely geared in favour of large tribes. If you plan to play solo on an official server it will likely be a waste of time. There is a good chance that you will log on and find your base has been destroyed and your belongings have been robbed. Experienced players or people that push through these initial losses will learn from their mistakes and eventually build a hidden base with defences, but none of this guarantees that your base will be there when you log back on.

That’s the risk you take when you log off in Ark and it’s also a very interesting part of the game. When you log off, your character goes to sleep and stays in the game world. You can be robbed, imprisoned or even turned into a living blood sack Mad Max style. Your base is also able to be broken into and completely destroyed. Any dinosaur you’ve tamed may be murdered and harvested for hide and/or meat by someone who just likes to see things die.

BUY ARK SURVIVAL EVOLVED HERE


Playing in a small tribe can also be similar to playing solo. The advantage of joining or creating a tribe and playing with people is that you can get more things done in a shorter amount of time. The more players the better, in theory. Finding people you trust can be very difficult on Ark’s official servers. Ark rewards the most toxic and ruthless behaviour. You may find yourself betrayed and robbed by someone who you thought you could trust. You might lose everything you’ve built because someone had a bad day.

The key to succeeding in Ark is developing alliances and good relationships. Politics are a very big part of Ark and if you and your tribe do not play the politics game then it is unlikely you will last long. I’m an introvert and I don’t really like to talk to people too much, but Ark forced me to do just that and I’m a better person for it. I formed alliances and created partnerships and talked to a bunch of people on our rise to Alpha status.

An Alpha tribe is the most powerful tribe on the server. You may join a server where the Alpha tribe has created rules or extorts players with threats of destroying their base. Or you might join a server where the Alpha tribe doesn’t get involved with what’s happening on the server. A smart Alpha tribe stays in the shadows because they are often the target of ambitious tribes or raiders from other servers.

Let’s talk about the dinosaurs in Ark. There are a lot of dinosaurs in ark, over 100 right now and the devs are continually updating and adding new dinos. Most of the dinosaurs have a useful ability like being to gather resources efficiently or providing buffs to other dinos or players. Taming the right dinos and playing as efficiently as possible is very important. However, taming useful high level dinos is usually a time consuming and grindy process.

You will generally have to knock a dino out, keep an eye on it and feed it while it’s unconscious for hours sometimes. This is not fun. If you have other tribe members online at the same time or you were smart enough to lure the Dino back to your base before knocking it out then you can multitask and do other things. But waiting hours to tame a dino that can be killed in less than 10 minutes is silly. You can create something called “kibble" in order to tame dinos quicker but the set up to create kibble is a long process in itself.

And that’s my biggest problem with the official servers. The rates are ridiculous. The amount of grinding and boring tasks that you need to do in order to have a couple hours of fun is wildly unbalanced. You can spend a whole week in real life preparing to have one day of PVP. It can be like spending all week at a boring job just so you can go out on the weekend. It can become very much like having a second life, and that second life isn’t always fun.

The devs seem to want you to devote your life to Ark in order to be successful at it. It rewards players who sink an unreal amount of time into the game over skill. Skill can definitely help you but the levelling system and the time it takes to get anything noteworthy accomplished make skill much less of a factor.

Most of the action on PVP official servers consists of people attacking bases while their opponents are offline or PVB (Players Vs. Base). A legit strategy in Ark is to wait until your enemy is offline so you can destroy their base, steal their stuff and kill their dinos. It takes so long to gain resources and dinosaurs that it’s not worth the trouble of risking losing those for the sake of having a real PVP fight over just attacking people when they can’t defend themselves.

The combat isn’t the greatest. Both melee and ranged combat are mediocre at best, but the sheer choice and options that you have in terms of dinos, weapons, armour and strategies make up for the janky combat.

BUY ARK SURVIVAL EVOLVED HERE


Unofficial Servers


Unofficial servers are run by players, either from a second console or a rented server. On these servers the owner can change many of the rates and options in the game to create a customised experience. For example, on my rented server, harvesting is 15x the normal rates so that the game is less focused on grinding and more focused on actually having fun. There are many aspects of the game that can be adjusted to find the right gameplay style for you.

I’ve had more fun on my unofficial rented server than I ever had on official. I can control who plays on my server and I can also create rules for people to follow to keep the experience fun for everyone.

Ark is a great sandbox and having the ability to host or play on an unofficial server allows you to play the game the way you prefer.

Of course there are problems with unofficial servers too. You may experience admin abuse on a server that you join or the server can go down and you may lose all your progress. You could very well experience an official server going down and you losing all your progress too but it is much more likely to happen on an unofficial server. The servers hosted from a PS4 or Xbox are especially unstable and prone to crashes or data loss.

Since I’ve rented my own server from Nitrado I haven’t experienced any problems and the server runs just as well as an official server, minus all the grinding and the trolls. I’ve only opened my server up to patrons to ensure the future of the server and keep it up for the long run through donations and such. The $3 monthly payment is more than worth the amount of time you save grinding and being wiped on official servers.

On unofficial servers with higher rates you can actually engage in PVP more often and with less worry.

APPLY TO JOIN MY ARK SERVER HERE


Updates


There are frequent updates which add new features, dinos and fixes. The game is still full of glitches and things not working as intended. On an official server you can lose hours of progress because of a glitch but on a server with boosted rates it generally isn’t that big of a deal.

The toxic community


Since Ark promotes devoting your life to the game it makes sense that it attracts a lot of toxic people. You will find people who have no lives and spend every waking hour playing Ark. These players tend to be quite elitist and unwelcoming to new players. You will also find people who just love to troll and ruin people’s days. This is what you should expect on official servers. Of course you can also find some cool people and not everyone is a dick.

Graphics & Sound


The graphics are pretty good. For a game of this scope and size, the graphics are more than good enough. When you fly past big bases the frame rate does drop but it usually smooths out after the base has loaded in. Frame rate drops are a common thing in the game but it hasn’t hampered my experience too much. The sound, however, is mediocre. The actual sound of the dinos and environment aren’t that bad but, even after launch, you still can’t tell exactly which direction a sound is coming from.

The music is pretty good though.

Is it worth the price?


Ark Survival Evolved is currently £43.49 on Amazon. To be honest, there is a bunch of things that I couldn’t cover in this review because of how deep and big this game is. I have had a bunch of fun playing Ark and it is one of the most unique and wild experiences I’ve ever had in a game. There are so many possibilities to experience, so many hours of fun and also so many things that may make you rage quit.

If you want to play this game solely for singleplayer then you should wait until the price drops to about £25. If you want to play on official PVP servers then I don’t think this game is worth the time or money. If you want to play on an unofficial PVP server then this game is definitely worth the price and you are going to come away with many many hours of fun. You can apply here to join my rented Ark Survival Evolved Server for the PS4.

Here are some pros and cons to help you make the decision for yourself:

Pros

  • The game is very deep
  • This is truly a sandbox game with many possibilities
  • There is no game like this on consoles right now
 

Cons

  • The tutorial system does not do a good job of covering the deep aspects of the game
  • Playing on official servers is a tedious grind that ends up feeling more like work than fun
  • The game is full of glitches
If you want to buy Ark Survival Evolved then please use the Amazon link below. It will help out the channel at no cost to you. Thanks for reading, let me know what you thought of Ark Survival Evolved in the comment section below and if you want to check out the rest of my reviews you can click on this playlist.

BUY ARK SURVIVAL EVOLVED HERE

Join my discord channel to play Ark Survival Evolved with me and get involved with the community. You can also find a bunch of Ark Survival Evolved guides and gameplay on my channel.

I’ll see you in the next review.

Thanks for reading! Please upvote if you like it and follow me for more content!

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This review was originally posted on JayCartere.com

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played Ark for 20 min. Wish I could get that time back!

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lmaoooooo you really need to give it time and try to learn the systems before judging it. It's a VERY deep game!

I never think of the future - it comes soon enough.

- Albert Einstein

Toxic community is about everywhere, the shittiest one in Dota 2 on russian servers, i haven't tried ark, maybe its good, but i play trove, and also wrote about gothic 2, cool old game, i wish they would import it on ps4 :(

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I've seen people playing trove and I've downloaded it but it doesn't seem like something I'd like. ARK is way more hardcore!

This post is nice.

Is it me? or the flight mechanism and animations are slow and very unrealistic?

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The flight seems fine to me. Although I've never flown on the back of a dinosaur in real life so I can't really say whether it's realistically depicted in the game or not.

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it seems aerodynamically impossible to hover that close to the ground (specially with a rider on the back) and do a barrel loop at no speed. in real life those wings will tear and break at the first touch with anything ^_^

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Lmao, bro this is not a simulation game and I doubt they care about realistic flight haha

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I know but I think a game at this level can use a bit of logic. ^_^

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this is a game made by an indie company. What do you mean by a game at this level? Fun should be a priority over logic imo

Looks neat, but I am holding out for Destiny 2 for PC.

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I am not a fan of Destiny at all. I played the first one before they added all the fixes and I thought it was crap so I'd choose ARK over destiny ALL day.

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I see. Why didn't you like Destiny at all?

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The grind became boring. The PVE was mediocre because of the boring enemies and mediocre AI. And the raids/strikes were awful. Spending over an hour to kill a bullet sponge boss is not my idea of fun at all. The PVP was pretty fun though, just not enough to keep me playing.

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.

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yeah man, I've never had another experience like playing ARK. It's hard to say that with most games!

Ark is great until you realize a 20 man tribe can beat all your stuff down with nothing but sleeping bags (re-spawn points). I literally watched an Asian tribe beat the alpha tribe to death naked, just keep respawning and dealing torpor damage to animals/ppl and soaking turrett bullets with there lil nakey bodies....that was about the time i noped the fk out,

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This is what you'll likely experience on official servers. The game is MUCH more fun on unofficial servers when you don't have to deal with that sort of BS and you can actually have fun in a small tribe/solo.

Good points in this blog. Same mindset here. The fluctuating market will result in the greatest price swings any market has ever seen. I found this amazing platform: https://www.coincheckup.com I'm really enthusiastic about this site, they let you analyze every single coin out there.

awesome post keep it up

Nice post

I think I'll always love this game... But I'm taking a long hiatus for so many reasons. Great review tho! ^_^

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This is what I did after playing official for 3 months! Now i've rented my own unoffical server and I've found my love for the game again. It's great when you don't have to spend most of your time grinding like a factory worker. Thank you for the comment!

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I never played on official servers. The horror stories were enough to keep me away.

I actually had my own unofficial modded server up until a few months ago... even made a few mods... was so fun... sigh

It's mostly just time constraints that keep me from playing. Ark is the kind of game I'd like to spend an afternoon playing... but these days, I might get 30 minutes every other day to play a game.

Oh! Is SOTF still going? That was a lot of fun. ^_^

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I'm on PS4 and we don't have SOTF sadly, it does look super fun :(

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That's a shame. It was perfect for getting that Ark fix in a quick game. I think the interest for it died out, but it was so much fun. I hope they revisit it and push it out to the consoles so ya'll can enjoy it too. ^_^

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I will always love this game.. and i will be waiting it @jaycartere

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well yeah even on the pc version it worth it

Great review i followed

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thank you!

I have logged around 750 hours of ARK on PC and you sum it up pretty nicely for me. While the "base" and "official" version of the game is insanely time consuming and lacks in a lot of aspects, the combination of custom rates and tons of free mods (currently slowly added to consoles) makes "unofficial" play very fun!

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Yeah I'd advise anyone looking to play the game to jump into unofficial ASAP. Making the game less grindy allows it to be loads more fun! I'm happy you enjoyed the review!

Wow nice Post very much good info! Thanks for sharing!!! Keep up the good work!!!

Keep thinking about this game, but honestly I need to finish ESO first. You keep gaming, I'll keep upvoting :)

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thank you!

Oh my gosh, I love Ark! I've played it loads with my boyfriend, though we avoided official servers. We just played on our own, private server, so we could go full out exploration mode! Building a big house and training our flying dinos to see the entire world. The only thing I haven't seen enough of are the caves.

I used to share posts about Ark, telling our tales, but we haven't played recently. This post makes me want to go back and play some more :-)

Definitely worth a purchase in my eyes!

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Yeah it's such a deep and fun game - if you stay off official. I know exactly how you feel, it's very easy to get sucked back in to ARK when you hear the wild stories of other people's experiences. What platform do you play on?

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I'm a true PC gamer :-)

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Ahh the PC master race! Lucky you haha

like your post.

nice post

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well-put together review! I also write games, vr etc. occasionally. will follow you!