Ark: Survival Ascended PC performance is prehistoric

It's been a rough launch for the newly released Ark: Survival Ascended, and there have been no meaningful updates to improve performance as of yet.

Shadow-dropping a game is seen as the ultimate act of confidence. Here is the game, it’s ready and we didn’t feel the need to hype it up. However, with Ark: Survival Ascended, it feels like the sentiment is flipped. Perhaps it’s a case of the game not being ready, but having to launch, and doing so with incredibly poor performance on PC.

Ark: Survival Ascended won’t be cracking the list of best games on PC until it makes some major changes to how the game performs. We’ve been testing the game out again now that more than three weeks have passed since the launch, but has anything changed?

Well, despite the Ark: Survival Ascended system requirements painting the picture of a game that should run at 60 fps on high settings at 1080p on our testing rigs, we got no way near this level of performance. In fact, we can only push above that 60 mark on global low settings, with DLSS enabled, and even then, the game is calamitous.

For reference, our testing rig has the following: An MSI Ventus Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, 32GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM, and an Intel Core i7 11700F CPU. We are also running the game from an SSD as recommended.

The below results show the three tests that we ran. One at global low settings with DLSS on the Quality setting. Another with just the global low settings at 1080p, and a final set at global medium settings with no DLSS, also at 1080p.

ark survival ascended testing results

The results from the global low with DLSS are the best, clearing the 60 fps mark at 66.4 as an average. Even though the frame rate is above 60, in-game it feels and looks a lot more sluggish. We fall slightly behind the recommended GPU, with an RTX 3080 being listed. Despite the differences, the RTX 3070 should still be capable of getting good performance out of modern games even at 1440p, let alone 1080p.

Removing DLSS has an expected negative impact on performance, but not quite as large as we first imagined, dropping only 7 fps as an average with it turned off. The worst offender has to be the global medium testing which came in at 37.4 fps average but felt like wading through the mud when anything vaguely interesting was happening on-screen.

We have to highlight that the game also suffers from very random crashes. At one point, simply unlocking the frame rate in the menu caused multiple crash windows to pop up before the game eventually stopped running.

It is likely that the popular survival game simply isn’t well optimized and the issues can be fixed with a few well-timed patches, but the state of Ark: Survival Ascended should serve as a warning to anyone planning to surprise their community with a new game. It’s also worrying to see the developers pushing hard for console releases and we can only imagine that these versions are better optimized in order to obtain certification, but given there have already been delays in that process, we have our doubts.

If you want to play another game while waiting for Ark: Survival Ascended to get some performance patches, we have a list of the best survival games on PC that you can jump into right away.