Ark Survival Ascended is here. The hotly debated Unreal Engine 5 remaster of dino survival game Ark Survival Evolved has arrived on Steam, but it’s launched rather predictably to mixed reviews, with players impressed by the look of its visuals but disappointed by “single-digit frame rates” and the fact the game is a full price upgrade for those who have been playing the original game, which sees its official network shut down.
Developer Studio Wildcard announced Ark: Survival Ascended in April 2023, explaining that “Our desire to push the boundaries of what Ark 2 is has led us to the decision to create an intermediary Unreal Engine 5 Ark product, allowing us to further our mastery of the new engine and ultimately battle-test some of our riskier technical advancements.” The result is this new spin on one of the most popular multiplayer survival games on Steam, and it seems from early impressions that the team’s concerns were well-founded.
At the time of writing, Ark: Survival Ascended sits at a ‘mixed’ Steam rating with just 42% positive reviews. Of course, having only released today, Thursday October 26, it’s still very early days – for comparison, Ark: Survival Evolved currently sits at a ‘very positive’ 83% Steam rating across over 500,000 reviews.
The initial impressions seem divided, then. One of the most upvoted comments on the Ark Reddit thread about the release comments, “It looks amazing. It’s better than I even expected.” However, many comment about the game running poorly even on high-end systems, something that’s reflected across the Steam reviews.
“Feels like 2015 all over again,” reads one review from Steam user ‘Zach,’ referring to the original Ark’s early access launch, “single-digit frame rates and bodies disappearing into the ground geometry. I am giddy with nostalgia. Who needs shiny new maps or a sequel?” Many others note that they’re struggling to reach satisfactory frame rates even using some of the best graphics cards.
Others question the $44.99 / £37.99 price tag – after all, the game was built as somewhat of a development experiment and is being positioned to replace a game that a lot of people have already been playing for many years. It’s also launching without most of the original game’s expansion content, including the Survival of the Fittest battle royale game mode and the Scorched Earth, Aberration, Extinction, and Genesis updates.
Ark Survival Ascended is out now on Steam. It is planned to remain in early access until the end of 2024. There’s currently a 10% launch discount until Wednesday November 1, so expect to pay $40.49 / £34.19. If you want to find out more or pick up your own copy, you can head to the game’s Steam store page to do so.
If you’re sticking to Survival Evolved for now, be sure to browse the best Ark mods and Ark commands to make the most of your time there. If you can’t get enough prehistoric pageantry in your life, take a look through more of the best dinosaur games for plenty more.