As a spectator, often on the outside looking in, I longed for six long months to find out exactly why ARK: Survival Evolved, this wide open and dangerously adventurous world had managed to take over and grip the online world of video games since it’s release back in June this year on STEAM’s Early Access. Developers, Studio Wildcard have been updating and tweaking the prehistoric online experience on a regular basis since the game first launched, while also listening to the community. I was eager to see what the experience would be like once it was introduced to the Xbox One, how would the game handle and would take it’s hold on the consoles, as it has so lovingly on the PC.
My earlier experiences with ARK: Survival Evolved amount to hours spent gazing at endless YouTube videos, I watched on as players fought amongst themselves as well as large and small dinosaurs, in an, at times unforgiving open world, where there appeared to be no rulebook. A land where players can not only kill and cook but tame large dinosaurs and ride them at will, much like you could in say – Red Dead Redemption, although on this particular game, it would prove to be slightly more difficult then simply being thrown from a horse.
I really should get this checked out!
I entered the world of ARK by night, the stars twinkled and shone above me in the darkened but moonlit sky. With the little visibility afforded to me I decided to stay near to my spawn through nothing but fear of the unknown and wait for daylight to break. So, here I am completely alone on a beach, in almost my birthday suit, armed to the nines with nothing of any note that could help me defend or survive against what possibly awaits me.
I wander slowly and carefully away from the sand and safety of the beach and approach a nearby tree, as I begin to thump away at it with my bare fists I watch as parts of the tree trunk began to shatter and break away, leaving me with wood and thatch. After almost killing myself from punching trees, yes that almost happened.. I proceeded to gather some random stones that lay on top of the sand and entered the games crafting system. With my recently acquired materials I was able to craft an axe, which allowed me to take out giant rocks with ease to gain more stone and flint, in the same breath I had managed to also level up my naked character and was now able to learn a completely different craft, fire.
I would defecate ALOT over the moments to come
With daylight now upon me, my visibility improved dramatically and for the first time I was able to see my glorious sun drenched surroundings, it was however at that moment I wished I was blind!. To my left and coming at me at some speed were a group of small adorable Compy’s, now if you’re not fully aware of what a Compy is, they are the little shits that terrorise poor old Peter Stormare’s character in Jurassic Park 2, before eventually ripping the poor soul to pieces, suffice to say, I was slightly concerned about the predicament I found myself in.
Rather then run like a wimp I opted to equip my new crafted Axe and went to work on the small group of vicious Dinosaurs. As the ferocious Compy’s began to attack my somewhat naked body my health began to quickly deplete and my screen become tinted with a shade of red, the group relentlessly chased me for a few seconds, torturing my fragile state in the process. My only defence against them would be to swing my Axe and pray to the gods that the horde of angry and clearly hungry Compy’s would simply die, and die they did, but at some cost to my health and my sanity.
Where Peter Stormare failed, I succeed
After my successful first kill, I proceeded to continue scavenging for precious resources and looked to make myself a fire. From my encounter with the horrible Compy’s my character had levelled up sufficiently enough to learn some new crafting skills including the ability to craft my own clothing (thank Christ) as well as build my own wood hut, which I badly needed. From a quick check of my character screen I learnt that I would require Fibre, Thatch and Wood to craft the items I needed, but first I needed to get some food inside me and heal from my recent and terrifying attack.
From the ground and growth in and around my spawn I managed to scavenge wild berry’s with Tintoberry, Azulberry, Mejoberry to feast on, sadly it wasn’t enough to heal my wounded body, I needed meat!. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a small bird shifting about near the ocean, I made my way over to get a better look. What I had spotted was a small feathered Dodo, further checks showed me that I could in fact take on this harmless bird and come out on top and so I proceeded to go in for the kill. A couple swings of my Axe rendered the defenceless bird unconscious but that alone wouldn’t feed me, I needed two more swings to kill the small creature and then follow up with a few more hits to gain the sacred meat from it’s carcass and hide from it’s back.
Berries, my new best friend
With my new found meat I crafted a small fire down on the beach and began to cook it which aided in healing my wounded body, I had also gathered enough Fibre and Thatch plus Wood to begin to create a new home for myself, a place of refuge from possible attacks and overall some comfort from my surreal surroundings. I began by placing thatch flooring down and walls to go around it, before finishing the hut off with a roof and a door.
With my remaining materials I crafted myself a pair of trousers to cover my modesty as well as a top and a hat to shield me from the sun. My hut was now complete, I also added a couple standing torches to the front of the small shack to make it look and feel more homely. As the sun began to fade my first day in the world of ARK: Survival Evolved was drawing to a close, I felt I had accomplished something of value. As well as learning to defend myself by hook or crook, I had also learned to forage and kill for precious food and was almost ready to explore my surroundings and find out what else lay ahead on my grand adventure.
This week on Grand Designs!
Over the coming weeks I will continue to update my ARK: Survival Evolved Diary, detailing my quest for survival and encounters with the large amounts of Dinosaurs the world has to offer.
ARK Survival Evolved is currently available through Xbox One’s Game Preview Program at a price of US$34.99 / £27.99 / €34.99 / AU$44.95.