I’ve done my best to give ARK a good honest go and I have to say what I got was upsetting.
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I’ve been excited about ARK’s releasing on console since it was announced. I was an early adopter of ARK for PC and loved the game even when it wasn’t optimized or balanced. With that said, I’m sorry to say that my experience on the PS4 with ARK was god fucking awful. Between lag, which could entirely be on my side, rubber-banding, frame dropping, and hit boxes that make zero since the console version isn’t great.
Push it to the Limit
I had a few days to play ARK before going to PAX West and spoke with one of the devs about the issues I was having. His response that was Ark pushes the hardware capabilities of the PS4 and Xbox One. He told us that even though you may not necessarily see it at anytime there are about 100 AIs running around you all doing their own unique thing. As a result of that, it really pushes the consoles to their limits. Unfortunately, what this means for anyone who doesn’t own a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X (In the future) is that your shits not going to run well. Granted I’ve talked to some in-game players that haven’t had the same issues as me but many have as well.
The Bliss of Ignorance
They say ignorance is bliss, and in the case of ARK’s UI on the console, it couldn’t be truer. This isn’t really the Devs fault so I don’t want to grief them too much for it. When you have an entire keyboard of controls and try to map them to a controller thing can become difficult. That said I feel like the interface could use some tweaking and fixing. When I asked about fixes and changes to the UI at PAX West they responded that they’re more focused on bringing out new content which was kind of disappointing to hear. Maybe it’s just me but hitting circle button to bring up the inventory and then switching between inventory and blueprints with only the R1 button doesn’t seem very intuitive.
Missing Hit Boxes
Multiple times when hunting a Parasaur I would stab it with a spear and not hit it. It ran straight at me, I stabbed at it twice directly in the chest and got no hit notifications at all. It’s possible I did, in fact, hit the dino but it’s hard to be sure when you don’t get that blood splatter or sound effects. I spent twenty minutes running up and down the beach throwing spears and stabbing it before finally giving up and saying “fuck this.” I’m concerned that the team at Wild Card might be more concerned with pushing out content than fixing existing content. At least when it comes to console.
At the end of the day, if the console is your only option and you really want to play ARK than nothing I say will sway you. However, I personally wouldn’t pay a full price tag for this game YET. Wild Card is continuing to expand and add content to the game, new maps, new blueprints, new everything. This means that if you pay full price now you’re going to cough up more for future content. Maybe in a year or so we’ll get a “complete” version similar to Destiny and then it might be worth full price. For me though, this is a pass on consoles completely.
Honestly Overall I was very disappointed with ARK on the console. The PC version might have ruined me by exposing me to better controls, more intuitive user interface and superior graphics. If you don’t have a PC capable of running ARK on PC then console is your best option. At its core ARK is a good game but has its issues like most games. If you’re on the fence between PC and Console versions, stick with the PC version.
Want a second opinion? Head over to Tim’s Review and see what he had to say.