If you’ve been considering buying Ark Survival Ascended, you might have noticed the delays and drama surrounding the popular survival game’s release, leaving you wondering if Ark Survival Ascended is even worth buying at all.
After thousands of hours playing Ark Survival Evolved, and then moving on to Ark Survival Ascended, we’ve had plenty of time to compare the two and weigh up the pros and cons of purchasing the latest version of Ark.
Obviously, if you’ve still been playing Ark: Survival Evolved, having to tame new dinosaurs and rebuild your base is going to be a pain, so is the upgrade worth not only the money but also the time required to start Ark again?
Ark Survival Ascended’s Graphical Upgrades
The most obvious reason to upgrade from Ark Survival Evolved to Ark Survival Ascended is the new and improved graphics, thanks to Unreal Engine 5. In fact, Ark Survival Ascended isn’t just a mere port to an Unreal Engine 5 version of the game, it’s a complete overhaul, which is why it looks so incredible.
While it’s undeniable that the graphics in Ark Survival Ascended are gorgeous, they also require an extremely powerful gaming PC to be able to get the most out of the visual upgrade without facing unplayable drops in FPS. And of course let’s not forget this is Ark, no matter how much I love Ark, it’s hard to deny that it’s prone to glitchy gameplay thanks to optimization issues.
Even though some of my favorite maps, such as Lost Island aren’t in Ark Survival Ascended, if all future maps look as good as the Island does, I’m more than happy to wait for them to release. But hopefully, we won’t need to wait too long.
New Features to Ark Survival Ascended
When Ark Survival Ascended was first announced, many players feared it would just be a simple graphical upgrade, which left many players thinking it wasn’t worth splashing out on the upgrade. Thankfully the developers introduced much more than just graphical updates.
Ark Survival Ascended’s UI has been tweaked to be more user-friendly, the building system has been overhauled to be much more intuitive, and it even includes some features that you could only get from building mods in Ark Survival Evolved.
Dinosaur tracking has been improved upon too, with a much better tracking system in place that lets you see a list of all the dinosaurs you and your tribe are taming, as well as keeping tabs on all your previously tamed creatures. Unlike Ark Survival Evolved, this time, once you have tamed a creature, you can just keep it tracked so you don’t ever lose it.
Easier Mod Installation
While this might seem trivial for some, the new mod installation area in Ark Survival Ascended makes installing mods on Ark a breeze. Instead of needing to go through the Steam Workshop, players can easily find their favorite mods now from the game itself, saving you time and effort needing to keep tabbing in and out of the game to install mods.
Another benefit to Ark Survival Ascended having its own mod list in the game is that console players can now also access the same list, which makes modded cross-play a reality now.
One of the things I disliked the most about Ark Survival Evolved was its map. As I flew around lost and opened my map, I would often find myself having to move around to get rid of the sun’s reflection, making the map nearly impossible to view.
The new map simply shows a digital map instead now, much like you see in most other survival games. But interestingly, if you double tap the map button it opens up a bigger map, one in which you can place down markers and customize easily.
Wild Baby Dinos
One of the cutest changes to the game is the addition of wild babies. Ark Survival Ascended now features wild babies which you can claim, once you have killed their parents, yeah that just got dark!
Not only can you tame these wild babies, but killing them also gives you prime meat, making them a valuable resource for anyone just starting out in Ark Survival Ascended and wanting to tame some creatures quicker.
So is Ark Survival Ascended Worth Buying?
It’s very hard to answer this question for you. Do I love the upgraded graphics and new features? Yes, I do. Do I think they are worth the money? Again, yes I do. But while there are a lot of new tweaks and upgrades, they might be too minor for some people to justify.
However, if you are happy to support the developer, and you’ve got a lot of hours under your belt in Ark Survival Evolved, then I would say Ark Survival Ascended is certainly worth paying for.
It’s also worth noting this isn’t the entire list of changes between Ark Survival Ascended and Ark Survival Evolved. There are tons of little quality of life, graphical, UI and other changes that make Ark Survival Ascended a much better game.