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Evolved ARK Survival Evolved - What Is It? Is It Worth Playing?

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Overview of ARK Survival Evolved

ARK Survival Evolved is a game about surviving against the brutal nature of the dinosaur era. Although, once you build a solid metal base, that almost becomes a moot point. There is a story behind the game, but it is not very important to learn about it to play it. You can play the maps, ascend, and keep playing without ever reading into the lore with no issues whatsoever.

Studio Wildcard started developing ARK Survival Evolved in Early Access back in June 2015. They did, unfortunately, release a paid expansion before going out of Early Access, which gave the game a somewhat sour taste in a lot of people's minds. Kenson has owned the game since mid-late 2015, and has enjoyed every minute of his 2,500+ hours so far!​

My Favorite Parts of ARK Survival Evolved​

There are many aspects to ARK Survival that I enjoy. The fact that the Steam version is moddable adds potentially thousands of hours of enjoyment and the simple fact that it is all about dinosaurs? That is honestly enough for me to enjoy this game. There is also the fact that servers can have up to 100 players on them (if you can afford to run a server with that number of slots. On average, it is around the $60/mo mark for the common hosts, and more if you want an even more stable dedicated server).

In short:​
  • Available on many platforms; like Steam & Epic on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation​
  • Has lots of popular and a good number of less popular dinosaurs in it.​
  • Has some fantasy creatures like Wyverns, Reapers (and Nameless), Griffins, and more.​
  • Up to 100 players on a server (though that can get expensive!).​
  • The Steam version is moddable to add thousands of potential hours of enjoyment to the game.​

Things I Feel ARK Survival Evolved Should Work On​

While the game does have many benefits, it also has some major downsides (that will apparently be fixed this year). The game runs on a customized version of Unreal Engine 4. This means the game is not very well optimized, but this should be fixed later this year when they recode the game into Unreal Engine 5.

Changing to that engine should make things run more consistently since they will be using a standard version of UE5, instead of a customized version of UE4. As a side effect, the lighting system in ARK should be greatly improved, as well. But the downside to the UE5 upgrade is literally every single mod will be broken and will have to be redeveloped for the upgraded engine.

Once the engine upgrade is in place, we will update this section of the post (as well as give it an updated review). Hopefully, this upgrade will happen sooner rather than later. We cannot wait to see how much more stable the game becomes, along with better performance for everyone (and especially those who say, stream it and play it on a single-pc setup).​

There Are Some AMAZING Maps In ARK Survival Evolved​

There are many maps to play in ARK, available on the Steam Workshop as unofficial maps. A lot of them are incomplete, but if it's "80%" complete or higher, it may be worth checking out for a playthrough rather than just random fooling around. We will write some short reviews of some of these maps on this site, starting with the older maps like Ragnarok, Scorched Earth, and Aberration. From among the official maps though, we recommend checking out the following:​
  • Fjordur || Viking-inspired map, cold most places. Recommend high fortitude for this map! Has 3 "sub-maps" based on Viking lore like Midgard is main map, Asgard, etc.
  • Ragnarok || One of the OG expansion maps. Still one of the best. Various "Map extension" mods on Steam add more to the map to keep it more up-to-date.
  • Crystal Isles || Beautiful giant-crystal-inspired map. Crystal Wyverns (Tropical, Blood, Ember) are unique to this map.
  • Lost Island || Another beautiful map, highly recommend checking it out, considering it is free.
  • Abberation (paid DLC) || Even though this map is a paid DLC, it is highly recommended to give this map a try. At night, the creatures GLOW!




Crystal Isles

Lost Island


Do I Recommend ARK Survival Evolved?​

Overall, despite the performance issues plaguing ARK Survival, we do recommend giving this game a try if you enjoy dinosaurs and survival games. If you don't have a fairly beefy PC though, we recommend playing it on a console like the Xbox One X or Series X, or PlayStation 4 or 5 (preferred).

Even though I do highly recommend checking it out, I also do caution you if you are playing on an older device like an Xbox One (not Series), or a low-end to mid-range PC. Those tend to have a less optimal and enjoyable experience resulting in you having to optimize your ARK experience to get a smooth-ish experience.​


ARK Survival Evolved is definitely a fun game. If your system can handle it, that is. I would definitely check to see if you can optimize your experience (link above) to get the best performance you can achieve. Once your game is running relatively smoothly, you will most likely enjoy your experience more.

The game was developed by Studio Wildcard (ARK Survival Evolved was their first real game). Over the years they've learned to improve their coding, but the game still is waiting on that UE5 upgrade to be its final major update to give the game a much longer lifespan while they work on developing ARK 2.

You can check out my streams or join our Discord or Guilded server to learn more about ARK Survival Evolved! We'd love to have you come and join the pack!​
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