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Part one of Ark Genesis' monstrous expansion is out now

Dinosaur survive 'em up Ark: Survival Evolved has always had one problem. Exactly, and only, one single game-breaking issue. Until now, you couldn't build a castle on the back of a colossal sea turtle. Shameful, really. But after numerous delays, Ark: Genesis's sea-bound houses finally arrived earlier this week. Now it's just a matter of finding someone to lend you planning permission for that shell.

It's taken a few months for us to get here, mind. Initially slated for a release last December, the first part of two-part expansion Genesis was delayed into January, then February, for some last-minute polishing and balancing.

Rather than offering up one huge map, Genesis launches with five smaller new biomes (or "simulations") to poke around in. These include vast oceans, volcanic hellscapes, and an alien moon packed with spacefaring whales and deadly solar radiation. A chirpy little robot companion named HLN-A has been added to help guide you through new missions, gett you accustomed to all this new stuff while dropping plot beats about the history of the Ark.

Then there are the beasties. Besides turts big enough to act as foundations for your new seafaring home, Genesis is offering a bounty of new critters. There are shape-shifting animals to tame, burly four-armed foxes, and - my personal favourite - glowing neon whales that drift lazily through the cosmos. A number of existing creatures have also gotten regional variants, depending on which of Genesis' biomes you encounter them in.

'Course, this is only the first part of Genesis. Studio Wildcard have pegged this as a great big two-part expansion, with the second half due later this winter. Both parts of Ark: Genesis is available through a Season Pass on Steam for £27.79/$34.99/€29.99.

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Natalie Clayton

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Writes news when everyone else is asleep, sometimes

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