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Ark: Survival Evolved adds huge hyena and poo boost

Megasloths too

Huge hyenas, wall-crawling reptiles, megasloths, toilets, and more have hit Ark: Survival Evolved [official site] in the early access dinosaur island survive 'em up's latest content update. I'm sorry to say you cannot ride the corpse-devouring big dog, only become its best friend for ever and ever and love it and walk it every day.

I'm still fascinated by how Ark turns real(ish) creatures into video game monsters, exaggerating characteristics to create unique abilities. This translation also extends to human biological functions: poo in the toilet and you'll get an XP buff. And in the game.

First, new monsters! Hyaenodon dirus is a pack hunter who can wear special saddlebags to preserve meat, just as in caveman times. Megatherium formipavor is a huge sloth who loves eating insects so much it goes murderous near them and can extract extra resources from their bodies. Megalania muruspede is a monitor lizard with a venomous bite and the ability to climb walls - with you sat on top. The fishing bird Hesperornis avenatantes, er, can lay golden eggs which help train creatures. And Yutyrannus saevus is a feathered biggun whose roar makes enemies panic.

Also new in update 258 are a motorboat, harpoon gun, and toilets. The developers say, "Survivors can now go to the toilet when their characters are ready to defecate, and by doing so they'll get a special 'refreshing' buff which will grant them an experience boost!" Right-o. Don't forget that's handy for fertiliser too.

Check the patch notes for full details on the lot.

Ark and it expansion are on sale right now. It's £7.35/8,95€/$9.59 for the base game on Steam, the Scorched Earth expansion is £4.79/6,39€/$6.39, and both together cost £10.32/13,04€/$13.58.

Ark is still in early access, now almost a year past its original planned launch window of June 2016. The developers have certainly been busy, regularly adding gobs of content in updates like this one, though a lot of these focus on flashy features for high-end players. As updates keep rolling, beginners and non-hardcore players are increasingly hard done-by. Ark's performance problems are still a big issue too, though the patch notes do mention future plans for performance improvements. They claim that a DirectX 12 mode for Windows 10 will bring a performance boost of around 20%.

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