An MMORPG that's part "Monster Hunter" and part "H1Z1," "ARK: Survival Evolved" sets you in a realm crawling with dinosaurs. Your task is to respect the behemoth creatures as you scramble to patch together enough resources to see another minute.
You can play cautiously and craftily, conserving items, health and cover to strategically build up your attack and defense capabilities until it's time to strike -- taking down and taming the beasts to help you make the big score. Or you can just charge your naked beginning hero in toward the first brachiosaurus you see and start punching its leg until it either dies or stomps you to death.
With nearly 14 square miles of land to roam and sixty species of dinos to encounter, the adventures you find will be largely of your own creation. No preset narrative gets in your way or guides you toward pre-destined goals.
After several months in early access, the game's rough edges have been smoothed out. It's now in the form that developers Studio Wildcard have long been touting, and the level of polish is staggering.
To endure, you must observe and respect the intricate ecosystem that surrounds you. No walkthrough or online guide will help you much. The range of your success is determined by your insight, adaptability and imagination. The game hands out successes in direct relation to the amount of care and work you're willing to channel into it.
Those who are looking for a linear, hand-holding experience may find themselves lost, but anyone with a thirst for wild, "Jurassic Park" by way of "Choose Your Own Adventure" experiences will eat this game up like a velociraptor does a downed triceratops.
Publisher provided review code.