ARK: Survival Evolved – Let’s Play, Part 1

Ark: Survival Evolved [official site] is the survival game du jour, and apparently not without cause. While others have tried to create worlds that combine dinosaurs with the crafting, progression, and violent encounters with other players typical of the genre, ARK’s early access release seems to come the closest to pulling it off. To explore it a little more, we asked Andro Dars to make a video playthrough to show what works and what doesn’t. Part one is below.

We’re continuing to experiment with video formats to see what works and what doesn’t. If you’d like to know when our videos go up – including PC game trailers – you can subscribe to the RPS YouTube channel by clicking here.

Don’t like videos at all? We’ve got words about ARK too, such as the tale of Brendan Caldwell’s encounter with an unusually friendly bunch of players.

This post was made possible by the RPS Supporter Program. Thanks!


  1. Xzi says:

    I regret it maybe just a little bit, but I refunded ARK yesterday. There were a lot of bugs and performance/optimization issues. I’ll probably buy it again closer to release. Seems they’re on to something good, at least.

    • badmothergamer says:

      You should’ve bought it on day one. Then you’d be praising the performance increases and bug fixes. :)

      • Xzi says:

        Maybe so, but it definitely still feels like an alpha. I prefer my games to at least be completed to the beta stage.

    • Universal Quitter says:

      What’s the point of even buying early access if you’re that type of gamer? The project has regular updates, shows no sign whatsoever of abandonment, and you still take your money back.

      People using the refund system as a fucking rental service are why Steam didn’t want to allow refunds in the first place.

      • RobF says:

        Because every early access game releases in a different state? Folks will have different tolerance of different levels of EA games. And for now, maybe it’s not up to snuff enough so someone can use their money elsewhere and spend it on something they can play because not everyone has a lot of money to spend on games, right?

        That’s ok, you know. There’s no need for the refund police. ARK will be fine without xzi’s money, s’alright.

        • median says:

          Yeah, I have to say I played the hell out of Gnomoria, an EA game; 98% of what I thought were bugs was me not understanding the game. I probably won’t be playing the RTM much because it won’t be much different than the game I’ve enormously enjoyed (mod support is what he’s working on now — which might open up some more possibilities worth exploring).

          I’m guessing not all EA games are like that, though, so I can understand why Steam felt they need to give people an out for refunds. That said, finding complaints about bugs at EA isn’t a research challenge of staggering complexity.

      • anHorse says:

        Early access is typically presented as playing the game whilst it’s in the final stages of development, when at the very least the product put up on EA is stable and playable

        Arc got about 2 weeks into the alpha build before they decided to start charging for it

        • Blackrook says:

          I don’t know – apart from the optimization issues/low FPS the current state of Ark is a heck of a lot better
          than a load of the other EA’s out there. There is now enough dino’s variety etc and weapons for it
          to be better than a lot of ‘released’ games. I’ve seen very few bugs in the 3 weeks I’ve been playing it
          (no crashes at all!) plus the constant updates (although annoying) are getting more content and small bug fixes in all the time.

          Honestly this game that’s only been in alpha a couple of months has more content etc than some alpha games I’ve been playing and STILL like after 2 years (7 days to die/planet explorers). Its only that damn low FPS which spoils it – plus it can be a bit grindy on standard settings.

          My only reason to send this back for refund would of been if it was unplayable ON MY MID RANGE PC due to the low fps or major game killing bugs which it certainly isn’t.

        • badmothergamer says:

          I have to disagree. Early Access is used by developers for many different reasons. Some use it when their game is near completion as a final beta test. Some use it when their very first alpha is playable. There are games that have been in EA for extremely long times (DayZ, Kerbal). I have no problem with either provided the developer is honest about the game’s current state.

          As for Ark, they released game play footage more than a month before releasing via EA. From what I’ve read the game has been in development for more than 2 years. And as Blackrook said, the game is incredibly stable. Yes, it requires a decent rig, but there have been very few major bugs and they’ve generally been fixed within a day or two. And if it doesn’t run well on your machine, you can get a refund. I think the system is fantastic. Of course, I’m biased. I’ve enjoyed Ark for more than 120 hours already and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

      • Xzi says:

        I’ve bought plenty of early access games which I’ve kept. In fact, this is the first one I’ve refunded of the 20+ I’ve bought. It just isn’t complete/polished enough for me to get in to it yet, and it runs fairly poorly on my high-end system. I did mention that I’ll probably purchase it again closer to release, did I not?

    • fish99 says:

      Definitely needs more optimizing for people who don’t have at least say a 970, but I haven’t seen many persistent bugs in 100+ hrs.

  2. median says:

    I am hijacking this post:

    Can someone tell me what the little chat bubble to the left of “Howdy, median” is supposed to do? I’ve been registered for a few months and all I get is a spinning ball of nothing. Flashblocker and adblock are disabled. I’m sure you are all having a party and I wasn’t invited.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      Don’t quote me on it, but I think it lights up if you have a reply in the comments.

      • Harlander says:

        Here’s a reply. Did it light up?

        (My guess it’s just another one of the features that isn’t working at the moment, like being able to edit or delete posts)

      • median says:

        Have you gone all this time without commenting, or just assuming that no one has ever replied?

        Some day my chat bubble will blink.

    • frightlever says:

      RPS are a WordPress blog – that little doohickey is for WordPress notifications. If I click on mine I get reminded that a couple of prats replied to a contentious comment I made on some guy’s blog about three years ago. I was trolling, so job done.

      • median says:

        Why does it work for you and not for anyone else? Are you on Safari on OS X? Konqueror on Debian? WHAT MAKES YOU SO SPECIAL? I NEED TO KNOW!

        I’m on Windows 7 64-bit/Chrome… are you a member by chance? I said I’m a member, but really I’m just a registered freeloader.

        • frightlever says:

          Uh, yeah, W7 + Chrome. If you don’t have notifications, there’s nothing to see. Chill.

    • pfig says:

      You know, my life was good… Now all I can do is stare at that chat bubble.

      • median says:

        The chat bubble gives us nothing. I write, but you will never see my reply. We are all of us alone.

  3. Chaz says:

    Punching down trees. Isn’t that just a little bit OTT? I mean you could at least pick up a sharp rock and use it as a hand axe or something, just like a real prehistoric man. Though I suppose this is a game where dinosaurs wear giant pairs of spectacles. What’s that all about anyway?