So, It’s been a while since I’ve written a review. A lot of stuff happens with life, but to sum it up, I’m back! And with a family who likes to play games! I thought I would start again with the awesome Ark: Genesis Part 1.
We decided it would be fun to play new games and sort of review them together. This also shows families how to have fun playing games together. We are a weird bunch, and maybe we will get a bunch bigger. Who knows what’s in our future. But for now, there’s three of us.
My boyfriend’s son, Ayden, absolutely loves the Ark: Survival Evolved game. He’s obsessed with dinosaurs and training them, and for some reason likes to run his character around the game in his undies. Also, my boyfriend’s name is Todd or The Toddfather, just for reference. And Ayden calls me Kendar, short for Kendar the Warrior, so we roll with it.
Review of Ark: Genesis Part 1
Something The Toddfather and I learned while playing games with him is, well, kids are better at games than adults. Toddfather and I understand completing the missions and tasks, but getting through the UI and navigating the world, and quick actions, Ayden totally kicks our butts. We definitely had our butts handed to us several times while playing.
We were very happy to get a copy of the Ark: Genesis Part 1 expansion and play it together. Now, we don’t play it online for a few reasons:
- We travel a lot and live in an RV, so we have a garbage internet for gaming since we are currently staying in between two large mountains
- We aren’t going to pay for three XBox’s in order to play, not to mention three copies of the game, plus expansions.
So, we play offline on the multiplayer option. The multiplayer option is very nice and allows two players. We run around together and complete missions, get attacked by awesome looking and super scary giant bugs, get eaten by X Raptors, and so much more.
A Press Release post was published for Ark: Survival Evolved for Steam last week. You can check it out here.
To be honest, my favorite part of this game is Toddfather and me taking turns playing as the second player to run around and help Ayden. I also enjoy picking flowers. Not sure why, but it was fun as you can see from above.
I also enjoy punching rocks to make them disappear. That’s physically impossible to do in real life, so it’s fun to do in the game.
The gameplay allows for a fun multiplayer experience and forces the two players to have to work together to complete tasks. There are a few ways the game shows this:
- Second player distance rubberband
- Second player dies, only the first player can complete a mission
- Death loads
Second Player Distance Rubberband
Sometimes Todd and I like to wander around in the world, sometimes we are running frantically away from the mob of bugs trying to eat us and other times Ayden’s character runs too fast and we can’t keep up. Wandering around the world was never a good idea, especially since our second player character is week. We were constantly eaten by X Raptors, and one time I’m pretty sure one of the giant dinosaurs stepped on me and squashed me like a pancake. We all laughed.
Towards the end of us learning the game this week, we finally figured out how to evade the bug mob, but until then we ran like crazy people, most of the time in the opposite direction of Ayden. Sometimes we lost the bug mob, but then we would be too far away from Ayden’s character causing us to rubberband closer to him.
Now, the rubberbanding is super annoying. Especially when you are trying to evade dinosaurs that want to eat you. The game does eventually just teleport you to the first player, but we wished it happened a little sooner so we didn’t die.
Second Player Dies, Only the First Player Can Complete the Mission
We all started doing some of the new tasks or missions. They are a ton of fun to do with someone else. At first, we didn’t like the fact that when one player died, they couldn’t rejoin the mission to complete it. However, Todd and I did end up enjoying it, because we all had to work together and protect each other so that we could complete the tasks and missions together.
We especially loved the gauntlet. Ayden would trigger the mission, and we would play the waves of dinosaurs. We all got excited and laughed at all the crazy creatures coming at us. Todd and I kept calling them by funny names like Dragon Monster and Giant Frog Beast and Ayden enjoyed correcting us.
The first time we played, we finished the first wave, then noticed the 40 minute time limit. Todd and I looked at each other like, omergosh, this is gonna be a long one. We died during the second wave. We had about an hour before Ayden’s bedtime, so we played another wave and got to the third wave!
Then we died. So, we put down the game for the night since Ayden had school the next day, watched a little TV together and went to bed. The next day, we finished all four waves and completed the mission.
Things We Love from Ark: Genesis Part 1
- All the Cool Dinosaurs
- The Glitch
All the Cool Dinosaurs
There are a lot of dinosaurs and creatures in Ark: Survival Evolved and with the Genesis Part 1 expansion, there are even more. There’s a nice long list of what’s available to see in the game, here.
My favorites are all the raptors. I’m totally convinced that Jurassic World is going to happen and that I will someday have a pet Raptor to be my little buddy.
We all definitely like the new fire ones. For the heck of it, we traveled to the lava area, which is waaaay above our character levels. We lasted barely five minutes but got the joy of coming across a Magmasaur, who quickly killed us. I did get the creature stuck between a few trees while trying to run away. We looked at the glorious creature, and then some dinosaurs killed me. We laughed.
Todd, Ayden and I really enjoy the teamwork involved in playing Ark: Genesis. During one of the gauntlets, we all worked together to help keep each other alive and kill the creatures. During gameplay, we helped each other choose what stats to improve when we leveled up, remembering what weaknesses got us killed last time.
We all are enjoying the mechanics of Ark: Genesis Part 1. Crawling through the brush, kneeling down, the ragdoll physics of our deaths and the accuracy of the fighting styles were all very well done and enjoyable to learn. They weren’t easy to pick up, but they weren’t hard to learn from just playing the game. The controls are easy and fluid with the very action-packed and active gameplay.
Todd and Ayden love the graphics. They are very realistic for them and look real to them. Colorful, even the sun can get in your eye if you look at it just right. I love all of that, too, but I have a background in game development so I’m super picky.
What I didn’t like is that I could see the flat planes that are used for the grass and foliage. I understand why the graphics can’t have a million triangles in the models since there is so much going on in the game and the console is limited to how much the graphic processor can process. don’t like the character textures. The models seem fine, but the textures seem to have scars that are too deep to be realistic, and shadows that just wouldn’t naturally be on a humanoid body. But, overall, I’d say the graphics are pretty good.
The Glitches are new to the Ark: Genesis Part 1 expansion. The players get to repair the glitch in order to receive some stuff and gain XP. We all thought it was really cool both in looks and showing that this game isn’t just some world, it’s some kind of digital experiment.
Things We Didn’t Like from Ark: Genesis Part 1
- GUI Hard to Read
- Length of Rubberbanding
- Load Times
GUI Hard to Read
One issue we noticed was not being able to read the items and level ups or really anything in the user interface. When trying to level up your character, we had to get right in front of the TV to read which stat we wanted to upgrade or guess, and eventually we sort of memorized the stats. There’s a lot there, so it’s understandable. But we still didn’t like how hard it was to read. I don’t have a good solution to offer to make it better, but I’m still going to say we don’t like how hard it is to read.
Length of Rubberbanding
The rubberbanding is good, so it doesn’t let the characters run too far from each other. I guess this is put into place because the processor can’t handle rendering such a large world, let alone two. So, the developers make the distance from each player limiting. However, the rubberbanding will smash the second character into rocks and walls and sometimes force the character to fall to their death. All of which is very annoying. The rubberbanding also makes it difficult to defend yourself against creatures that are trying to kill you.
It would be super awesome if they could make the time that a character is rubberbanding to when they are teleported to the first player a little less.
Now, I know this is more of a console issue. But omergosh. Load times are sooooooo long. And not just for this game. I guess I should send this dislike to XBox. Thankfully, there’s a new console coming out this year that should make these load times much shorter.
Ark: Genesis Part 1 is Awesome
All in all, the Ark: Genesis Part 1 expansion is super awesome. We will definitely continue to play the game as a family, and we look forward to seeing what cool stuff Studio Wildcard will bring for the next expansion this season.
As for the HLNA companion for the game, we haven’t found it to be very useful. Maybe it’s more useful on single-player or online multiplayer. But it is kind of cool. It will say some funny things every once in a while, like Captain Obvious things, such as bugs are attacking you. Well, duh.
The Expansion is part 1 of a two-part expansion. It currently costs $34.99 and is available for XBox, PS4, and PC through Steam. We totally recommend this game and its expansions. It’s a lot of fun to play, and super fun to play in a dinosaur surreal world.