Ark: Survival Evolved Free On Steam This Weekend

ARK: Survival Evolved [official site] features a brontosaurus wearing a giant riding saddle. For that reason alone, it seems like good news that from now until Sunday, the open-world nude dinosaur fighting game is free on Steam

Aside from being free so you and your chums can try before you buy, early at 6 a.m. ET on Saturday (that’s August 29th) you can take part in what the studio has called the “Unnatural Selection” tournament – four-player tribes go mano-a-mano against hundreds of other players with the winning team getting a hefty $20,000 prize.


  1. ashjxx says:

    This is like the thirtieth article about this game in the past month. You wore me down, RPS. Guess I’ll try it and ride a dinosaur and so on.

    • YogSo says:

      Actually, it’s the ninth article (unless they’ve not been consistent enough with the use of tags and there’re a few more untagged ones I didn’t count).

      • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

        Exaggeration Man has met his nemesis, Literal Bastard.

        • Martel says:

          Your comment combined with your name made for quite an enjoyable read. Thanks!

  2. Metalfish says:

    Runs like an absolute pigdog on my system. This isn’t exactly a surprise, but it’s been a very long time since I’ve encountered a “my comp literally can’t run that” situation. Makes me nostalgic somehow….

  3. apa says:

    Does it run on a laptop with an integrated graphics chip only?

    • apa says:

      I guess Metalfish just gave me the answer :)

      • Andy_Panthro says:

        I tried it on my laptop (nvidia 860m), and there were some graphical glitches and performance wasn’t great.

        • General Warned says:

          ARK: Survival Evolved is clearly not that well optimized yet, but considering how often there’ve been updates, I have a reason to believe that it won’t take too long before this runs way smoother.

          I bought the game when it got released, and since then it has been improved quite alot. ARK is great already, and as it looks, it will have an even better future!

          • Mrice says:

            Its god particularly dogshit optimization for AMD card. So be forewarned.

          • fish99 says:

            I dunno, they’ve tried hard and frequently to optimize the game since launch, and apart from one update (the one that fixed video cards reverting to 2D clocks) they haven’t achieved much. I’m thinking maybe UE4 just doesn’t suit that scale of world and the level of fidelity they’re looking for.

  4. Chaz says:

    So is the reality as good looking as the videos suggest, with fantastic cave systems, flying around on winged beasts and fighting off swarms of Pterodactyls?

    • Palimpsest says:

      Tried it last night, and the answer to your question is a definitive ‘good god no’. You’ll be lucky to get a draw distance that shows rocks 20 metres ahead.

      • fish99 says:

        That would depend on your system wouldn’t it? I run Epic draw distance on my 970 and the pop-in/LOD is no worse than your average open world game.

        Having said all that the trailer on Steam doesn’t represent the reality of the gameplay since it doesn’t show any building/resource gathering/taming, i.e. the stuff that takes up most of your time.

    • Fiatil says:

      I say yes. The prettiness of it depends upon your system (I still have a GTX 760 with an old processor and it runs great now on medium/high settings), but you can definitely do all of the things mentioned. If you’re running solo it will take you a bit to get to the flying dinosaur riding, but you can start taming dinosaurs from level 1, and I preferred progressing alone at my own pace. If you decide to join a tribe that’s been playing for more than a few days, you can do all of the dinosaur flying you want at level 1.

  5. Lobotomist says:

    Very glad for this free trial weekend. I wanted to buy this game , but were hesitating without trying it first.

    I got few of my questions answered.

    1.Not everyone i passed by tried to murder me. And people were reasonably helpfull

    2.The game is way to intense for casual player. The fact you can not pause, or even log out if you are not on safe spot, makes it very hard for people with limited time.

    3.Game performance is horrible. For some reason putting everything on minimum crushes my card drivers. And I am getting less FPS when i reduce advanced graphic options (no logic i know) So i am getting around 30 fps, which is very cumbersome on the eyes.

    All said and done. Its very funny game with lot of potential. But for reasons of graphic performance and casual barrier, i will not play it , at least now.

    • Fiatil says:

      I’m glad you pointed out the 30 FPS bit. If you can’t enjoy a first person game at less than 60 FPS, then this probably still isn’t the game for you if you have anything less than a mega system. If 30 FPS in a first person game is fine for you, then the optimization has probably progressed to a level that you can enjoy the game. It’s not close to a twitch shooter, but I know a lot of my fellow PC gamers can’t stomach less than 60 FPS.

      I guess I never realized how lucky I was when I was a kid with no disposable income obsessively playing modded up Morrowind at 15-20 FPS; it’s saved me tons of money building a rig to chase the 60 FPS at max settings dream.

      • Lobotomist says:

        I know what you mean. But personally i have very average gaming rig over 3 years old. So I am certainly not someone that is FPS greedy.

        However what I noticed that i had same performance on high settings and on low settings (with all disabled or on minimum) I found it quite strange. As if something else other than graphic was choking performance…

  6. Relnor says:

    Tried it last night – unlike others, it ran perfectly fine for me, guess I was lucky.

    However, I wasn’t really impressed. It’s a nice looking game, sure, but the bloom is downright excessive at times. I can see why people would like it though – it has the usual progression system and resource gathering that is so popular nowadays.

    Also, I tried doing singleplayer – unlike, say, Minecraft, I feel this one doesn’t really hold up much as something to play on your own, so if you don’t have friends who play it or are unwilling to meet new people, it probably won’t work out.

    • badmothergamer says:

      I can see how single player at first glance would seem to be untenable, but as someone with 140 hours in the game, all in single player, it can be a blast. The key is to setup your game at levels that make it enjoyable to you. I crank resource gathering to the max so I’m not spending every minute farming, and also crank up player health recovery and slightly decrease dino damage. I also nerf food and drinking levels so I’m not constantly hassling with those either. It also helps to install a mod that gives you more engram points per level, otherwise you won’t be able to unlock everything.

      The great thing is you can tweak these settings as much as you want to find the level that works for you. Single player is definitely more of a challenge, and short of nerfing player damage to almost zero, there will be some caves and fights you just can’t win, but I don’t really care about the end game content anyway. I just love looking at my giant base with 60+ tamed dinos roaming around, and simply flying around the island scouting for the alpha dinos or whatever creatures they released that week is still a great joy.

    • Atrak says:

      Bloom can be turned down/removed it is tied to the post processing setting, so turn that down you turn bloom down. If however you want to remove it completely or turn it down seperate to other settings then Open console (which from memory is TAB) and type r.BloomQuality 1

    • fish99 says:

      I actually really enjoyed it single player. I got 100+hrs of exploring the island and building little bases while not getting eaten too much. I think it helps that I didn’t tame anything for a long time, so it was just a pure survival experience.

      You can tweak the resource gather and taming rates to make them less grindy.

  7. joe78man says:

    They should create a saddle for the bronto for 5 passengers
    1 rider and 2 passengers each side that can fire

  8. Balanuir says:

    Massively interesting gameplay concept.

    Unfortunately, I tried it and it’s an utter fail. My machine can run stuff like GW2 just fine, but this thing, even with graphics on C64 levels it was unplayable. Didn’t even get to see anything of the game itself, really.

    Such a shame, really.

  9. Cinek says:

    Well… for me it worked fine. On medium details it was rather OKish in terms of FPS, only draw distance of rocks was way too short for my liking (I can’t imagine using any fast mount).

    As for the game itself – building bases is a lot of fun. Combat on the other hand feels like garbage, at least on the early levels. Dinosaurs will just stand and trade attacks with you to death (with few exceptions) while fighting humans feels like melee in games from early ’90s. I also laughed hard at these arbitrary levels. One time I attack huge dinosaur 3 times the size of me and smack him no problem in few seconds, the other time I attack tiny dino and got my face rolled cause someone decided to give it a level 88, lol.

    Overall though – I had more fun with this game than with The Forest. I guess I would buy it, but not at the current price. Perhaps -75% discount or so would make me go for it, but… 22 quid? No way.