June 7

Best Survival Games

Survival games, in the last few years, have become very popular. Some people like survival games because there’s something fundamental and animalistic about them. You have to fight to survive. It’s the “survival of the fittest” rule in a game setting. While some people play survival games for the “survival” part, others love the adventure of it all.

Exploring worlds, keeping yourself full and fit, fighting off enemies, building huts and homes, forts, and whatnot. 🎮 🗺️

Also, there’s more to survival games than just survival. There are tactics, strategies, almost-military campaigns — the lot. The environs change, as well! Some are set in the dinosaur era while others throw you in the middle of a big, empty, and modern city. One’s even set underwater.

So, irrespective of why folks love it, the fact is that survival games are extremely popular. The popularity transcends the platform divide too. From Steam charts to consoles, survival games are all the rage today.

So, if you’re new to the genre and don’t know what’s awesome and what’s not, this list is for you. Below, I list out the best survival games that we’ve seen till now. I take a look at what’s hot about these games and what’s not. Finally, I’ll talk about the gameplay and wrap it all up. So, let’s begin… and let’s start with something outlandish… quite literally.


#1 Subnautica

Even before we get into the review of the game, let me just make it clear that this isn’t a hierarchical list. The first, in no way, has to be better than the second. Given that the genre is so diverse, it’s pretty much a “different strokes for different folks” approach here.

subnautica a man and some fishes

Also, Subnautica isn’t the very best survival game. The reason I’ve given it the top spot is simple: it represents the genre best. Let’s face it. Players of survival games aren’t really facing a real, physical, survival crisis. The idea of the genre is to imagine, explore, and create scenarios. Also, it has some really scary moments making it one of the best horror games in the survival genre.

And when it comes to radical imagination, Subnautica does it best. While most survival games put you in deserts or cities or in forests, Subnautica throws you into the sea.

Subnautica Story

Without getting into too many details, this is the premise of the game:

We’ve (humans) started to colonize various planets in space. A spaceship called “Aurora” has been sent to outer space on a mission. The spacecraft is super-sophisticated, and the task is to look for another ship that crashed on the planet 4546B a long time back.

So, the spaceship is now cruising around on the planet. An unknown energy pulse hits the spaceship, and now it’s crashing. Several life pods are engaged — you’re in one of them — but by the time these life pods land, everyone else dies. Welcome to 4546B, you’re the lone survivor from your spaceship.

Now, as you progress through the game, more and more elements come into play. However, at the moment, before you’ve started to play, this is all that you need to know. You are the controller of a lifepod in an alien planet called 4546B, and things are about to go very, very, wrong.

subnautica

Subnautica Gameplay Review

As I was saying earlier, the game is played pretty much underwater. There are two islands that you can explore. But again, most things — good and bad — happen underwater.

First off, it’s an open environment game, and one of the reasons that I LOVE Subnautica is its landscapes… erm… seascapes? The pictures, basically. They’re amazing. You can explore all you want while also limiting what you want to engage with.

Right from the kelp forests early on in the game to the rather stunning visuals of the deeper parts of some of the seas, visuals are one aspect of the game that Subnautica excels in. However, you can’t really waste precious time looking at alien seas or sea creatures. There’s surviving to do!

Let’s begin with basic survival. Nutrition. You have a fabricator at your disposal. And like most other survival games, you have to collect resources. The only difference in Subnautica is that you can’t actually eat most things directly. You feed these into the fabricator, and it gives you food.

The fabricator also gives you some essential tools and water. Initially, as you explore the seas in your lifepod, you’ll find a little bit of silver, lead, titanium — things like that, basically. They can be used for constructing various tools and whatnot.

You’ll also find out that different fish can be used for different things. One squishy, cutesy type of fish will help you filter water while others can help nourish you. As the game progresses, you’ll find more exotic resources that can help you build much more advanced tools.

subnautica underwater

One thing that you’ll also notice early on is that there’s a story to your survival. You’ll hear radio broadcasts, initially. With time, you’ll discover more and more of the story and your role in the grand scheme of things.

And with this in mind, I have to say, Subnautica does a beautiful job of blending the larger story of the game with the story of your own survival. However, if you don’t want a tale interrupting your conquests or survival, there’s a shelter for you as well.

The game has four modes. Survival Mode is all about… you guessed it… survival. You have to keep a keen eye on nutrition, oxygen, and all things survival. The Freedom Mode allows you to pretty much explore the game. Hunger and thirst are disabled. This way, you can admire the work of those developers.

Then there’s the Hardcore Mode. This is Survival Mode but without an option to respawn. The last mode is the Creative Mode. Here, you have everything: blueprints, unlimited resources, and whatnot. You also have infinite health, no thirst, and no need for oxygen. All you have to do is kick back on your seat and enjoy the game.

What’s hot

Now that we know what the game looks like and what we’re there to do, here are a few highlights.

Like me, if you appreciate good visuals, you’re in for a treat. Subnautica has some of the most stunning visuals I’ve ever seen in a game. Forget scuba-diving, Subnautica is how you should see the sea. (Ok… Slight exaggeration there…).

subnautica swimming

Then there’s the horror aspect. I haven’t mentioned this till now. What you need to know here is that Subnautica, after playing for a while, becomes quite scary. Right kind of scary, though. There are monsters and things like that, of course, but that’s not the best part.

The best part about the horror aspect is that it doesn’t feel forced. In most “horror” games (major air-quotes on that), you almost know when the horror is coming your way. In Subnautica, a horror situation develops slowly, festers for a while, lingers around until you feel there’s nothing, and then boom… it hits you. The horror is organic, natural, and so “with the flow.” Most horror games could learn a thing or two about horror from Subnautica.

What’s Not

The islands. There’s really not anything good that I can report about the islands. They aren’t that good to look at. The story can progress without it, and in essence, it doesn’t really add anything to the game.

Then there are the technical issues. From time to time, you’ll see a considerable drop in frame rates. Then there’s the most irritating part. At times, the game simply isn’t able to keep up with your movements. So, you’ll see your character move, but the world around simply stays put. While patches have been promised and a few even have been delivered, the fact is that this is still a problem.

subnautica video game

The last issue I have with Subnautica is the one that I have with most survival games. There’s simply too much scavenging to be done. I understand the need for it. It’s a survival game. But, in the beginning, you still have to spend way too much time hunting for simple things like food, and that’s not fun at all.

So, is this enough to make me desert the game? Not a chance. Subnautica, as an idea and in its current form, is an excellent game. There are a few hitches and glitches, but it’s not something I haven’t seen previously in other games, and it certainly doesn’t reduce the appeal of this fantastic game.


#2 Rust

While Subnautica tells you what a survival game can be, Rust is the perfect example of what survival gaming is all about for most gamers. Survival gaming, as a genre, owes a considerable debt of sorts, to Steam.

Steam gave a platform for most of these indie games. Quite a lot of survival games were developed with a relatively small budget. The promise was that they could access the enormous user base (market) that Steam has. One game that has almost religiously followed this path is Rust. Rust is a Steam game through and through… and a bloody good one at that.

rust video game

Rust Gameplay Review

There’s really no story to this game. So, I’ll skip that and get right into the gameplay. First off, know this: You need to be very, very okay, and comfortable with nudity. Because that’s how the game begins.

You wake up in the middle of nowhere, and you’re naked. You will, most probably, wake up in a grassland. All you have with you is a stone, a torch, and here’s the thing. There are no tutorials in Rust. Once you log into a server, you’re directly thrown into the game. Yes, you’ll have a few pointers here and there, but that’s about it.

So, with this stone, you begin your journey. Playing with you are amateurs like you and pros who’ve been playing this game for years. The entire game is played in real-time, and you will, at all times, be under potential attack. Just a few minutes into the game, someone might come and kill you. Game over. An animal, most probably a boar, might charge towards your defenseless, naked self. You cannot defeat it. It’ll kill you. Game over.

You have to respawn and get on with life. As you play more and more, you’ll realize not to pick fights early in the game and try to get on with your life quietly. You’ll learn where the animals lurk, and you’ll also learn not to trust anyone immediately.

Using the good old stone, you have to start felling trees. This will give you resources. You drink water when you want, and you hunt for food whenever you’re hungry. Eventually, you’ll have enough resources to build a small home — a fortress where you can store supplies.

rust shooting

You’ll understand how to make weapons. Soon enough, you’ll actually be building guns using the furnace in your fortress. But be warned, all this will take time. It’s not a five-minute game, this. Also, at any time, some idiot might decide to kill you, with or without reason. As you lie bruised and battered near your home, you’ll see your fortress being attacked, looted, pillaged, and destroyed. There’s nothing you can do.

What’s more, there’s voice chat, and this voice chat, to me, is the heart of the game because it tells you exactly what this game is about. People around you will be cussing, complementing, shouting — you’ll listen to pretty much every sound in the world. And when that idiot comes along and stabs a knife deep into your chest, you’ll hear him laugh and cuss at you, and this is the heart of the game.

If you think, from time to time, that society is a farce and we’re all bloodthirsty animals living in peace only and only because of rules of the society, this is the game that will validate those feelings.

Rust works on the fundamental premise that every player is ruthless, hateful, and selfish. And that is just fantastic. Yes, from time to time, some players might take pity on you and drop a few clothes or a little ammunition, but don’t expect more than that.

Once you’re a pro, you might decide to help. But do not expect gratitude. Help at your own risk because that knife you dropped so that she can defend herself against animals might as well end up being your death warrant.

So, what is Rust, at its heart? It’s an MMORPG, yes. But it’s a little more than that. You’ll hear all sorts of racial and sexist slur. To me, Rust is a bit of an evil melting pot. It brings out the very worst in gamers, and that is why I love it.

rust shooting a helicopter

I’ll admit to laughing my ass off when I killed someone rather cheekily. I’ll tell you that there’s a somewhat unfiltered, evil joy that passes through me when I raid someone’s home and destroy and loot all their hard work. It brings out that uncivilized, cruel, animal inside me, and that is the highest selling point for the game.

It takes away all sense of civility (remember being naked, before you found bad or ugly clothes?) and decency of this world and lets you be evil, and that’s the most considerable praise I can heap on this game. It’s also a team game. You see, every 15 days, the entire server is reset, and that’s why Rust is, in a way, a level playing field. No one, at any point, is more than 15 days ahead of you. So, once you get the hang of the game, you’re all equal.

Rust also works on the principle that there’s a better chance of surviving the island if you team up and work together. There’s one more caveat here. When you log off and go to bed, your home can still be raided.

So, set up traps and defense systems. People usually get together and build massive fortresses so that destroying them becomes difficult. Some players even make sure to have people from different time zones so that someone can guard the home at all times.

rust holding an axe

What’s Hot

  • The cruelty
  • The gameplay, in general
  • The community

What’s Not

  • It takes a lot of time to actually start having fun. I know people who just didn’t want to smash trees with a stone for such a long time.
  • Within the first half an hour of gaming, you’re bound to hear racial slur. The community that I love also houses a few genuinely terrible people.

So, knowing all that you do, I understand if you’re thinking twice if you should play this game. Let me tell you what I think: Everyone — online gamers, offline gamers, console gamers — should, at some point in their lives, play Rust at least once. I haven’t seen a more ruthless, cold-blooded, mean spirited game in my life, and that’s why I absolutely love it!


#3 DayZ

If you’re reading this post, you know what survival games are. If you know what survival games are, you must have, at some point, heard about DayZ. If you haven’t… well, say hello to the big daddy of survival games. The pioneer. The one that started it all off.

DayZ was released in 2013, and it was the first super-popular survival game in the way we know the genre. Let me go one step ahead. This game defined the genre, and to this day, that definition holds.

dayz video game

Story

DayZ uses the seemingly ever-popular zombie attack as a premise for the game. There’s no clear explanation for what brought this peril on humanity. All that we know is that we’re in the Soviet Republic (aren’t we always?) of Chernarus. It’s a fictional town. That is all that we know about the back-story.

DayZ Gameplay Review

Melancholy and general misery: these are the things that come to mind when I think of the gameplay. It’s as if the developers have made it a point to remind you that everything’s gone wrong, everyone’s dead, and life in general, sucks.

Surviving in DayZ isn’t simple at all. DayZ makes survival its epicenter, and it’s around this epicenter that all the other aspects of the game revolve. The game itself is set in a part-city, part barren land setting. So, you’ll find yourself running and running just to find a few simple supplies.

Unlike most other games, surviving in DayZ isn’t just about eating and drinking. The system is far more complicated than that. You will get wounded from time to time. In most games, this results in a fixed loss of health. Not in DayZ. The more you bleed, the more you’ll lose. So, you have to bandage at all costs.

dayz holding a gun

As I mentioned earlier, you have to deal with zombies, as well. Now, the thing about the zombies in DayZ is that they aren’t very intent. Sometimes, they’ll attack you viciously. Sometimes, they don’t bother at all. Yup. The game is a bit glitchy.

I don’t use the term glitchy lightly. Almost every aspect of the game, from time to time, will encounter some form of glitch. Zombies can’t really fight back, and that means there’s no thrill in killing them. They’re just irritating most of the time. At this point, you might be thinking that this game doesn’t sound particularly tough if you master the art of survival. Well, there is just one caveat to that. There are other players as well.

Sixty-three of them, actually. You’re thrown into this Soviet Union country, and not only do you have to survive the dead, but you also have to try and not get killed by other players. This is the soul of DayZ. This is what made DayZ cross 4 million in sales.

You can speak with these other players, have fun conversations, help each other navigate the place better — Nah. Who am I kidding? They’ll kill ya. They’ll kill without giving you a moment’s notice. And when they do, you lose everything. Weapons, armors, your fancy helmets — everything.

dayz a man walking

You have to start again. And like a few other survival games, you don’t have to craft these weapons necessarily. You can search and just collect them. Still, that isn’t so easy. Remember me telling you about the general sadness that this game brings? Well, here’s another example. In most games, you’d have to run for a while, find an old building, and that would yield enough loot and weapons. Not in DayZ.

You can run for miles just to reach a building. Once you enter, all you might find is one piece of armor. And all this while, you’ve been losing strength. And given that you’ll lose everything if you die once, the chance encounter with a lunatic is even more dangerous. And dangerous is good.

DayZ offers a unique blend of extreme excitement and endless routine within a single game. The only good thing about that endless routine of running is that the scenery is gorgeous. For the best experience, play with a few friends.

dayz a man watching some trees

What’s Hot

  • The multiplayer setting
  • Visuals
  • Chance encounters
  • Strong emphasis on survival

What’s Not

  • The game is annoying when you’re continually running
  • Glitches. It’s been almost six years now. Seriously. Fix em.

So, should you play DayZ? It depends, really. If you’re okay with putting up with the glitches, the uninterested zombies, loads and loads of running for very little, yes. The tradeoff in bearing these irritants is that you get terrific visuals, excellent MMORPG experience, and of course, a healthy dose of your survival game fix.


#4 Minecraft

Not that you haven’t heard about it, but no survival game list is complete without Minecraft. So, long before survival games were all about zombies, terrifying deaths, sheer desperation, and stunning visuals, survival games were kinda cutesy. Minecraft was and is the flagbearer of the theory that survival games don’t have to be bloody. Again, like most games in the genre, there’s no real back-story to the game.

minecraft video game

Minecraft Gameplay Review

Even if you’ve never played Minecraft in your life, you would have, at some point, seen it. For the lack of a better word, the game is set in a cube-ular form. They are the building blocks of everything that you see in the game.

From small huts to magnificent waterfalls, everything is made up of those cubes. While the aesthetics might not be of instant appeal, what you need to know that it isn’t all about aesthetics. Actually, there’s an excellent reason for this approach.

Before we discuss that, it’s important to understand the game isn’t entirely about survival. There’s a more living, positive aspect of the game. You can build things in Minecraft. While that isn’t exclusive to this game, the fact that you can build working structures is.

Let’s get back to the blocks, though. So, when you first start the game, you have to, like in most survival games, start gathering resources. All these are rendered in cubes. You can use these cubes to build stuff. Later, when you have no use for it, you can break it down, store it, and then use them somewhere entirely different.

Given that it’s an open-world game, you’ll see a lot in Minecraft. From animals to rivers to caves, the more you explore, the more you’ll find. You can kill the animals to obtain useful products or even decide to rear them.

The next important thing about the survival aspect of the game is the concept of day and night. During the day, Minecraft is as cute as it looks. All is well in the world, and everyone is happy. However, when darkness falls, things start to go wrong.

minecraft battle

Darkness, in true Minecraft fashion, is rendered in cubes. So, every cube that turns dark is a source of trouble. Skeletons, monsters, and all sorts of difficulties arise from these dark blocks. Again, like in most games, you can fashion weapons and what not to defend yourself.

Or, you can build a home and stay inside it, safe in the knowledge that nothing can ever enter. Not spiders, not skeletons, not even those god-awful creepers that come close to your face and explode.

But where’s the fun in that? More importantly, how long will you hide in your home or under the sun? More importantly, there’s a more aggressive way to play. You can build a house and defend yourself, or you can boldly face the demons and move forward.

Now, one last thing you need to know about the survival aspect. You won’t really know what to do when you first enter the Minecraft-world. So, there’s no way to find out how to build a home. There’s no way to find out how to fashion a dull ax. What you need to do is go to forums and help pages and find out how to proceed. This is perhaps the only irritating thing about this game.

Now that we’ve dealt with the survival aspect of the game, let’s move on to the next element. This is what makes Minecraft so popular — building things with friends. Now, what you build is really up to you, but you can pretty much build anything in Minecraft.

It’s not just about structures, either. You can harvest a sort of red dust that works as an electrical wire. So, just imagine this. You can create actual circuits, ones that work. These circuits can build an on and off button. There are 0s and 1s right there. You can create computers in Minecraft. I’m not kidding you. If you spend enough time and have the help of a few friends, you can actually create a computer in a game.

Get this. You can create computer games within this game. There are many examples of this, as well. There are a lot of people, usually in groups, who have created simple, basic, games in Minecraft. All are using things that have been harvested within the game. So, how do you do all these awesome things?

minecraft pandas

It’s pretty straightforward, really. You just have to rent some server space and invite all your creative friends to it. Build computers, waterfalls, trains — everything. Again, anything that you can imagine can be created in Minecraft. That’s how powerful the game is.

If you’re reeling with this information, I get it. Imagine this. A ten-year-old can build a lovely, cute home while a twenty-year-old can create a computer game. It truly transcends all age barriers, and that’s why the game is rated 8+.

This post is too small to explain the power of Minecraft truly. I’m not exaggerating one bit when I say that Minecraft is one of the most famous games to have been ever created. In years to come, I won’t be even remotely surprised if we look back at this game and see that this is the game that changed gaming forever. Again, that might seem like a severe exaggeration, but I do mean every word of it.

What’s Hot

  • Idea
  • Execution

What’s Not

  • The aesthetics aren’t for everyone
  • There are literally no tutorials. Google will play a massive role in how well you can play this game.

So, should you play Minecraft? Yes. Just try it once if you haven’t before. You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If you love city-building games, you’ll probably enjoy Minecraft.


#5 Frostpunk

Frostpunk is slightly different from the other games that I’ve listed here. In most other games, you are fighting for your survival. Not in Frostpunk. In Frostpunk, you’re the head of a city. Now, before you banish this game as a city simulator game, know that Frostpunk is NOTHING like that. In fact, Frostpunk happens to be one of the best survival games that I’ve ever played. I love it so much that I play it to this day.

frostpunk video game

Story

So, something has gone really wrong with the world (We don’t know what it is). As a result, most of the human race is dead, and there are only a few survivors scattered across the globe. Our lot is from Britain, originally.

Whatever has gone wrong with the world has made the world very, very cold. Like, the maximum temperature that you can experience in the game is -20-degree Celsius (-4 F). The heat can and will fall to about -150 degrees Celsius (-238 F). If you’re wondering why I’m going on and on about the temperature, the reason is that this is the core of the game. You have to survive the cold.

Frostpunk Gameplay Review

Again, don’t dismiss this as a simple simulator game, because Frostpunk has so much more to offer. The standard mode of the game begins with the premise of this severe winter.

No one knows why this is the state of affairs, but it is. So, you’re in charge of a small group of people who are trying to survive. Throughout the game, you have to keep your people warm. Also, you have to take care of their food, shelter, and…. this is where things get more interesting.

frostpunk ship

You see, unlike most games, Frostpunk citizens have two “feelings.” Hope and Discontent. The hope of survival and discontent against your management. So, as you might have guessed, Hope needs to stay high, and it’s best for you if the Discontent remains low.

If the Discontent rises too much, you will be banished from your own city. To this end, you can enact laws, build fighting arenas, start a religion, open brothels, and whatnot. But, the singular aim of all this is to keep your citizens happy.

Then there’s the fact that you actually have to deal with the cold. You have a generator from the start. However, you need coal to run it. You have to mine that. You have to research a lot of things too. While this might sound too survival-game-like, in Frostpunk, there’s an excellent reason for doing all this.

You also get what is called automatons. These are machines that can run 24X7 and don’t need any food. You get the idea. It’s a survival strategy game. It’s just that Frostpunk happens to be one of the best that I’ve played.

forstpunk fire

What’s Hot

  • The strategy part of the game
  • For a strategy game, the visuals are amazing
  • You can create laws!

What’s Not

  • There’s still a fair bit of collecting things, researching things and whatnot
  • There’s no fighting or wars. I’d have loved me a city vs. city apocalypse war!

In essence, if strategy games are your thing and you’re trying out the survival genre, you cannot go wrong with Frostpunk. From the general idea to the overall execution, everything is brilliantly done.


#6 The Forest

If you have a PS4 and are looking at buying a survival game, it really can’t get much better than The Forest. It’s one of the very few games — in any genre — where you really don’t know what’s going to happen next even after playing the game for hours. Here’s the best thing about Forest: The enemy or the AI is designed to protect itself and inflict maximum damage at the right time. And the AI decides the right time, not you!

the forest campfire

Story

So, Eric LeBlanc is with his son Timmy on an airplane. The plane crashes. They survive the crash and discover that they’re in a forest. As Eric watches on helplessly, his son, Timmy, is kidnapped. So, that’s the setting. The rest of the game, or rather, the objective of the game, is to find and rescue Eric’s son.

The Forest Gameplay Review

Now that we know what exactly led us here, to the Forest, let’s get cracking. While the storyline that I outlined might not give it away, there are two things you definitely need to know. One — this is very much a survival game. Two — it is, from time to time, very, very, terrifying.

The survival aspect of the game becomes apparent as soon as you start looking for your son. You need food and water, yes. But, gradually, you’ll also encounter mutants. For me, this is the best part of the game. You see, in most games, mutants or zombies are ruthlessly, insensibly, absurdly aggressive. Not in The Forest. The AI has been designed to protect itself first, analyze if it can take you down, and then attack.

This means that you’ll them following you. You’ll see them coming closer, but as soon as you turn to fight them, they’ll run away. Sometimes, they’ll charge at you and see if you’ll stand your ground. If you do, they’ll come close, but run away.

If you start running, they’ll call more of their friends and charge at you with far more intent. Sometimes, they’ll just watch. Endlessly, continually, watch you from different quarters and… that’s it. They’re sizing you up. If all this makes you feel a bit weird and uneasy, that’s precisely the idea. You see, there are two interesting meters in The Forest. Sanity and Humanity. These meters keep changing based on the actions you take.

the forest monster

You can also have up to 8 people playing together. This actually makes things a little less terrifying. You can have your friends do specific things in the game so that you don’t have to keep up with all the details of the game. Another advantage of playing with your friends is that you can build rather impressive and imposing bases. This way, you take care of your security too.

What’s Hot

  • The enemy AI is just amazing
  • The game adapts and changes to your style of play
  • The horror aspect of the game is brilliantly done
  • There are no “useless” details in the game. Everything is there for a reason.

What’s Not

  • There are a few glitches from time to time
  • There are no gamma adjustment settings

In essence, The Forest shows precisely how you can blend horror and survival. At times, you’ll fear your own footsteps, and for a video-game, that is high praise. I would like to see the Sanity and Humanity meters have a more significant impact in the game, but apart from that, The Forest delivers… on all counts.


#7 Ark: Survival Evolved

Ark: Survival Evolved is a third-person/first-person open-world survival game. You sit on a prehistoric animal and navigate around the game. Ark is an old game now. Most people who play survival games have heard of it if not played it.

Ark is perhaps one of the most prominent games to tap into the dinosaur genre. Yes, it’s a survival game, but it’s also a game set in prehistoric times. So, there are plenty of dinosaurs and other “saurs” for you to play around with.

Ark Survival Evolved video game

Story

Initially, when the game was released, there really wasn’t much in the name of a story. You’re dropped on an island with nothing more than your clothes, and from there on, you have to fight your way through.

However, recently, there’s been an update. It’s called Tek, and it has had a very mixed response. It adds more modern aspects and features to the game. However, most gamers wanted the developers to retain the “pure” essence of the game.

Others, meanwhile, welcomed the move. One of the advantages that the Tek update brings is that it adds a storyline. Well, I use the word storyline very liberally here. The fact is that Ark didn’t really have a storyline, to begin with.

So, this hodgepodge job of adding journals throughout the game doesn’t really cut it. You can, if you pay very close attention and read every single piece of the journal that you find, find hints of a storyline. However, you’d be better off simply enjoying the game for what it is. And it is, without a doubt, excellent.

As for the backstory itself, it has one. You have to play about 50 – 70 hours to uncover the backstory. While the backstory is great and has a lot of detail, the fact is, you shouldn’t have to play for 50 odd hours for a giant spider to bless you with a backstory and then try and kill you.

Ark Survival Evolved dinosaur

Ark: Survival Evolved Gameplay Review

Ark is almost a pioneer in the survival game world. Yes, it’s not the first survival game, but it became very popular, especially on Xbox, and as a result, more and more survival games were developed.

The reason I mention that is because, if you’ve never played Ark before, you’ll see that it has a lot of stereotypes. However, given that it’s an old game, these features of the game weren’t really stereotypes. It was just how the game was developed. So, with that in mind, let’s begin!

You are dropped off on a beach on an island. You have clothes to cover you and… that’s about it. From here on, it’s a constant fight to keep your water and nutrition levels up. The first thing that you’ll probably notice is that the visuals, graphics, and aesthetics, in general, are outstanding.

Then there are the usual tropes of the genre that you have to deal with — homes, fortresses, security — that sort of thing. Now, the one noticeable difference is that you also have to deal with dinosaurs and related creatures. You can tame some, while the others will kill you without any hesitation. If you haven’t guessed it yet, there are a lot of weapons and ammo that you can gather and research. With more time, your arms will get more advanced.

One thing that’ll definitely catch your eye is the number and variety of creatures in Ark. You have to give this to the developers: they didn’t hold back on flora and fauna. And they aren’t silly creatures either.

Every animal that you see is incredibly well-detailed and unique. Now, like in most games, you will, from time to time, fight bosses. And this is where I have a bit of a problem with Ark. It simply takes too much time to gather enough resources to fight anyone important.

You have to have enough weapons, the right ammo for these weapons, armor, food, and energy to fight the big bosses. While all this is natural in any game, the problem with Ark is that they’ve taken it a bit too far.

Then there are the glitches. Quite a few of them, actually. You and your dinosaurs will inevitably get stuck, for no apparent reason. Frame rates will drop all of a sudden. You’ll also notice the sudden emergence and disappearance of shadows.

Ark Survival Evolved a man holding a crossbow

After reading this review, you might think that I hate Ark. The fact is that I love it, and that brings me to the rather fantastic PvP setup of the game. There’s just one disclaimer here. Don’t even think of going solo. You’re going to regret it. I speak from experience.

However, if you have a team, a good one especially, you’ll see how good Ark really is and why it’s so popular. The premise is simple. Kill everyone else, but don’t die. But when you’re playing, it becomes much more than that.

It becomes a game of strategy, evil, cunningness, and so much more. Where is the best place to build your hideout? The less visible it is, the better your chances. Do you have people manning it 24X7? Do you have enough of all the resources needed to combat others?

Ark does a beautiful job of executing a PvP setting. It gives you everything that you can ask for and then some. Yes, the offline story version is a bit weird in the way it’s structured, but even there, I can tell you that you’ll not get bored quickly. Give it a couple of hours. You’re bound to love it. I do. I’m into three-figure numbers in terms of hours, and I still love it!

What’s Hot

  • Visuals
  • PvP Gameplay
  • Progression of tech within the game

What’s Not

  • Glitches
  • Too much time and effort to progress in the offline mode

Ark, from time to time, is a very frustrating game. You can see hours of hard work vanish in a minute. You struggle and struggle, but don’t progress much. Thanks to all the glitches, I have, on multiple times, felt like punching the screen. However, even after all this, Ark has a firm grip on me. Because, when it’s good, it’s so good that I can’t bring myself to get up.


Conclusion

So, there you go. Those are my favorite survival games in the market today. They are all flawed in some way or the other. None of these games are perfect. In fact, I think, some of these games have driven me to temporary insanity at times.

But, I think that’s a good thing. What it tells you is that these games can worm their way into your heart. They can make you spend hours upon hours without any respite. They will make you scream with joy, frustration, and sometimes even fear. And for me, personally, that’s what it’s about. It’s about sitting down and forgetting the world around you, and I think, you know exactly what I’m talking about. So, let me know your thoughts.

Are there games that shouldn’t have been there? Are there games that you would want to see on that list? In fact, tell me, what are your favorite survival games. If I haven’t played some of them, I’ll do that, and maybe we can update the list! Till then, spawn, survive, die, repeat. But if survival games are just not your thing, check out our guide on some of the most amazing racing games on Steam.


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About the author

Akash Hoslok

Akash started messing around with computers when he was 7 years old. A few electrocuted fingers and a partially burnt room later, he started understanding how computers really work. Now, he mostly spends his time overclocking old processors and writing about new ones. He spent his prime gaming years trying to control the helicopter in Vice City. He then bravely gave up. Nowadays, he plays COD Black Ops quite a lot and claims that it's the best COD game ever.