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CommZod

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I woke up, unsure of my surroundings with a weird metallic implant in my arm. I was thirsty my mouth parched, stomach rumbling from hunger pains and even though it was tropical the morning breeze was chilly being nearly naked. I had to find the basics, food, water, shelter. With some wood a rock and some fiber nearby I formed a crude hatchet that I could begin my shelter and then ate some berries from the bush nearby, they did little to satisfy my hunger. That's when I saw it, a 30 foot monster that was supposed to have been extinct 65 million years ago....

This was my first few minutes of Ark: Survival Evolved. I'm no stranger to the survival genre of games that seems to have flooded Steam over the last year or so. The basics are generally simple enough start nearly naked, collect ingredients until you learn recipes to make tools, food, building materials, etc. I've played RUST, while great initially always seemed to turn into someone trying to kill you on sight. I was extremely excited for H1Z1, survival mixed with zombies, how could that go wrong, except again every other survive was more concerned about killing me for my nifty backpack full of empty plastic water bottles than actually banding together to fight the undead. So when I saw Ark I assume the same. Then I read this article...

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/07/24/ark-survival-evolved-players/#more-303637

After reading through I thought, Why not, I love dinosaurs. Instantly began to imagine myself like this...

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CommZod Commanding his own fleet of fast deadly prehistoric terrors! I would not just survive this land, I would concur it! 

Well This wasn't exactly how it happened, but it wasn't exactly this either...

TRex.gif 

So in that first half hour being still pretty low level (I'll get into the leveling later) I found a basic shelter that had been clearly abandon. Not wanting to get eaten by a T-Rex wanting a midnight snack I dug in for the night, even started myself a little camp fire! The the sky was starting to lighten and a morning fog was rolling in over the coast line. That's when it happened.... my world went black. I couldn't see anything. Did the game crash? The in game chat was still there, then some text popped up on screen. "Consumed 1 narcoberry"... What the hell is a narcoberry? A couple seconds later it said it again. Was the game glitched? I frantically messaged the global chat to find out what had happened. That's when they told me, I was being taken.  In my wildest dreams I had maybe imagined myself as Liam Neesen, not his teenage daughter! But this had become me.

taken_maggie_grace.jpg 

I could only imagine the levels of depravity that would happen to me before being killed for the hand full of stones and 6 red berries I had in my pocket (I had formed pants by this point)

Slowly I began to regain consciousness. I was clearly no longer in my vacant shelter, but I wasn't in a cage either. That's when a short man dressed in armor with slightly odd body proportions began to come in focus. Then he asked me a rather odd question in a slightly southern accent.

"Are you Chinese?"

Was this a trick question? Some kind of code? Was I supposed to say yes? (I'm not Chinese by the way) I figured truth was the best option. I said no, and that I was new to the game. At this point he said here and threw me some meat to eat. Apparently a rival tribe of Chinese had been waging war against many of the other clans including my would be kidnapper, We'll call him Bob. Bob then spent the next 3 hours showing me the basics of the game. Even going as far as to help me tame a TRICERATOPS!!! I was becoming Chris Pratt!!! At this point I realized I was hooked and have spent any extra free time in this new prehistoric/alien land.  So now that we have that wonderful introductory story out of the way, Lets get to the reviewing.

Story:
Quite frankly there isn't really a story here. You're thrown into a server with other players and a whole lot of Dinosaurs. You have an implant in your arm that allows you to access your inventory and there are odd technologically advanced pillars around the island. (My guess is the whole thing is an Alien experiment, Think predators with Dinosaurs)

Gameplay:
This plays as a first person shooter with RPG elements. The controls for the most part are what you would expect, and fully customizable if you aren't happy with the layout. The RPG element is pretty cool as well. Your character starts at level one and with each level up you gain a stat upgrade (Better health, stamina, speed, fortitude, etc) and you also gain something called Engram points. These are used to purchase "Recipes" to build Items. Anything from building structures such as foundations and walls to Weapons and saddles for dinosaurs (Yes you most definitely can ride your tamed Dinos). It adds a nice element that always gives you something to strive toward. Looking forward to what you will unlock with that next level up.

Graphics:
The graphics are quite frankly gorgeous! Using Unreal Engine 4 this game looks fantastic from fog effects to rain. Seeing this shimmer of wet sand near the ocean and dryer sand up the beach. These visuals are top notch. However there's a downside to this. It is INCREDIBLY unoptimized. I have a beefy video card and this game has been bringing it to its knees. I fully expect this will get better with time, but I have had to choose between Higher visuals or a good framerate, eventually finding a happy medium.

Sound:
I would say the sound is Average. The dino's and ambient sound are what they should be but dint really pop and make me take notice.

Early Access: 
This is still an Alpha build of the game. There are bugs and you cant call it done by any stretch. However the devs have been incredibly active in doing updates. In the last 2 days alone we've had 3 major updates. The Devs are definitely pulling their weight.

Scores
Graphics: 10
Gameplay: 8
Sound: 6
Presentation: 8


Final Verdict:
This is a great game with TONS of stuff to do and a community that doesn't want to kill you on sight. If you play PC games and are thinking of a survival game to play then by all means, Add me on steam, username CommZod, and come join me on Official Server 322. Together we can tame that pack of raptors and maybe even a T-Rex to lead them!!!

Pick it up on Steam (Currently on sale for 20% off!!!) here:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/346110/


And I leave you with a screenshot of me and My Parasaur named Elvis (Yes she's a girl, Don't ask)

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RyanTheGr8

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Reply with quote  #2 
Awesome review.  I missed out on the free weekend on steam though [frown]
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