I picked up ARK Survival Evolved because a few people have bugged me to get it, and also because it was on a small Steam sale. I’ve only spend a few hours with it, and currently all of my characters are bugged, stuck in some kind of permanent spectator mode where I can’t do anything, including dying or creating a new character. Have an email into support, hopefully will hear back ‘soon’.
Anyway, assuming that issue does get resolved, here are some quick thoughts on ARK. For starters, its a Unity engine game, and feels like it. While Unity has been used to make a million games, the style used in ARK is the same used in Rust and many other games, and while the theme and details of these games are all different, the just feel like the same game. If you told me ARK was a fan mod for Rust, I’d believe you.
That said, it would still be a pretty cool mod. Lets be honest, dinosaurs are cool, as is the idea of taming them and using them in combat, or fighting them when they attack you in the wild. Put that together with the usual ‘gather resources, build a base, go blow up other people’ gameplay with these type of games, and ARK is interesting for sure.
ARK also has a good character progression model, where every level you not only pick a stat to increase, but get some points to spend on unlocking new crafting blueprints. You can also find blueprints, but it’s nice that as you play more, you character is able to craft more, and also gets a bit stronger.
The downside of ARK is if you played Rust or games like it to death recently, not enough is new to get you hyped IMO. Like I said, the main object of the game is still the same, just with dinos and other details changed up. Plus from a software maturity perspective, Rust is much further along, so if dinos aren’t a make-or-break for you, I’m not sure why you would go with ARK over Rust, or start up ARK if you are already playing Rust.