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ARK: Survival Evolved Review

ARK: Survival Evolved Trainer
 CHEATfactor Game Review by:  Joe Sinicki Reviewed on: PC 
 

Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of ARK: Survival Evolved. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.

Note: ARK: Survival Evolved is currently available in Early Access, which means it's being sold as a yet to be completed game that you have the choice to buy into early and help with the development process. As such, this is a review of a work in progress and should be read as such.

It became clear to me in my time with ARK: Survival Evolved that it wasn't as much of a survival game as it was a lesson in compromise. You'll get the chance to ride around an open world on dinosaurs, but you'll have to do so while dealing with sluggish performance. You'll be able to craft new weapons and items but it never feels like it's done better than any game before it. There are small seeds of hope for a great and unique game in Studio Wildcard's dinosaur adventure game but be warned - they're going to need a lot of time to evolve into what they can be and as it stands now the game is hardly worth the admission price in the state it's in.

 
...the biggest draw here is the addition of dinosaurs...
ARK: Survival Evolved Review Screenshot
 

ARK will likely seem pretty familiar to anyone who has even dabbled in games like Day Z, you wind up on a mysterious island and are set loose to do as you will. Mine for resources and build your own weapons in a effort to survive. Of course, the biggest draw here is the addition of dinosaurs to the mix. While it was an exciting prospect to share on open-world with these gigantic creatures, I quickly learned that my expectations were better off lowered. Dinosaurs do not roam free, they merely exist. Most often than not they stay in the same area they spawned in, which takes a lot of the scares away when you can merely step past a designated line and be safe. While this wasn't always the case and there was some interaction between like a carnivore attacking a herbivore, it always lacked that certain sense of awe that makes movies like Jurassic Park so memorable. Rather, I couldn't help but think that ARK: Survival Evolved is like that special attraction most zoos across the country have where animatronic dinosaurs just go through the motions.

Still though, if you're willing to put time and energy into it, the game does feature some pretty cool features and the best of this is easily the ability to tame the dinosaurs. While the actual act of taming them is a bit goofy (I punched a raptor unconscious), the end result was unquestionably worth it. Dinos can be used as pack mules and to help finish tasks in a settlement you set up but come on - you're going to do it to ride them. Tearing through the open world created here on a raptor is a lot of fun. You're instantly more bad ass and you're able to get into areas and out of danger much quicker when you're using a mount.

That's part of the problem though - I rarely felt like I was in danger in ARK, even when facing off with the giant predators that inhabit the game. Most enemies are defeated by simply moving to the back of them and just hacking away at them and while this wasn't always the case I relied on it way too often to even begin to feel like I needed to adapt my strategy going in to new situations. When that didn't work the game's ridiculous amount of lag made strategizing nearly impossible in most situations. This problem was readily solved by lowering my settings and getting the game to run smoothly but why should I have to make that compromise? I'm able to run most modern games at higher settings but here I wasn't for some reason.

This was my biggest problem with the game, it was so unpredictable in terms of performance that it continuously took me out of the game. To be fair, the game can look great under the right circumstances but I continuously had to turn my settings down to enjoy the game in any way. I at first thought that this was just maybes something wrong with my system and the issue was isolated to me but a quick Google search changed that thought process. We commonly see this in early access games but ARK seems more guilty than most.

 
...hopefully it'll be something worth waiting for.
ARK: Survival Evolved Review Screenshot
 

Still though, it's clear that ARK: Survival Evolved is a game that will open up more as the developers progress and you're able to devote more time to uncovering what's hidden deep inside of it. This was my by far my favorite part of my time with ARK, exploring and finding new secrets. It seemed like every time I progressed through the game I would find something new to do be it a new location or a new settlement of survivors to work with. You don't get much info about the game's story or the world it takes place in and you always get the sense that it's something that will unravel within time and hopefully it'll be something worth waiting for.

Also, take special note that ARK: Survival Evolved features some truly remarkable features for creating characters. As per usual in this type of game you're able to choose between a male or female model but ARK features a ton of different features that you're going to be able to choose to customize your character. It was a lot of fun to wander through the world and find just what people were able to create with the system - from hideous mutants to slightly altered versions of known characters. I'm hoping that the developers keep adding features as development progresses so we can continue to see unique creations.

Is ARK: Survival Evolved worth your time in it's current state? The short answer is no, but it is definitely worth your attention. It may not be the best running game or the most original but it's clear that the developers have a plan for development - and it's one that I'm interested in seeing come into existence. My recommendation, don't buy into early access but do start looking forward to the finished product.

 
Overall:  6/10 Presentation: 6 Gameplay: 6 
Lasting Appeal: 7 CHEATfactor: 9 
 
 
CHEATfactor
 
CHEATS USED: +13 Tamed Dino Editor, Infinite Stamina, Infinite Oxygen, more
 

We usually don't see trainers, at least of this size for Early Access games but ARK: Survival Evolved's trainer is easily one of the most impressive I've seen in recent memory. Come on, there's even a feature in the trainer for the ability to edit the behavior of tamed dinos, how cool is that?

Beyond that there are cheats for infinite stamina, oxygen and everything else you'd expect. The cheat that I used the most though was the instant taming cheat, which allowed me to use the better dinosaurs as tools earlier on in the game.

 
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