Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Top 5 Games like ARK: Survival Evolved

What is ARK: Survival Evolved?

ARK: Survival Evolved has been out for a little under a year now, and it has made a pretty big impression on the gaming community. In ARK: Survival Evolved, players find themselves on an island, and they run around and gather resources, research technologies, and build shelter with the intention of surviving as long as possible. The greatest threat that you’ll encounter on this island? Dinosaurs. The game hasn’t left early access yet, which means that it isn’t entirely finished yet. Still, there’s a lot of content there, and the game has seen a lot of popularity over the last few months.

However, ARK: Survival Evolved isn’t perfect. There are a couple of issues with glitches and optimization. Some users just generally feel like the development team isn’t quite as active as they could be. Maybe you’re one of those users, maybe you’re getting bored with the game, or maybe you’re just looking for something a little different. Regardless, if you’re reading this, it’s because you’re looking for an alternative to ARK. I have managed to dig up a handful of games that exhibit certain traits and qualities that I think a fan of the original concept may appreciate. Without further ado, here’s a list of the top five best games like ARK: Survival Evolved.

5. ORION: Prelude

As it is, the multiplayer survival/crafting genre has become kind of saturated. The genre was originally pioneered by games like Minecraft, and it has only become more and more popular as time has gone on. In my opinion, the only thing that separated ARK: Survival Evolved from its competitors early on was the use of dinosaurs as an enemy. Dinosaurs are cool. That’s an objective fact. People love fighting dinosaurs. ORION: Prelude takes this concept to the next level, in my opinion.  In this game, players are able to do combat with a variety of different dinosaurs, using all different kinds of weapons and vehicles. This game feels a lot like Destiny to me, if Destiny took place entirely on a planet that was inhabited by dinosaurs.

orion-preludeI really enjoy the story behind this game, if nothing else. The developers behind this game started with ORION: Dino Beatdown, which was widely considered one of the worst games of 2012. It was one of those games that YouTube Let’s Players bought with the intention of ripping on for twenty minutes straight. They took the criticism to heart, and they used it as motivation to create update after update, crafting the game into the hidden gem that it is today. I feel like I should say, this game is far from perfect. But it’s really, really good. Combat is fun, multiplayer is relatively active and co-op is some of the best that I’ve experienced in an indie title. If you love fighting dinosaurs in ARK, this game is perfect for you. Plus, if you have issues with how the development team behind Survival Evolved has handled the game, you’ll love the guys behind ORION: Prelude. They’re ridiculously dedicated and passionate, and they work around-the-clock to ensure that this game is as successful as possible.

4. Primal Carnage

Like ORION: Prelude, Primal Carnage is a game where players engage in dinosaur-based combat. I really struggled with deciding whether to place this game above or below ORION: Prelude, but my judgement came down to one thing, which I’ll get to in a minute. I feel like the biggest issue that you’ll find in games that involve fighting large creatures is that they often feel so…static. Games like God of War give us these insane, immersive boss fights, where it really feels like this monster that you’re fighting is as big and as dangerous as you would anticipate. As good as they are, I feel like games like ORION: Prelude and ARK: Survival Evolved often make it feel like you’re fighting regular enemies, that just happen to be really large. There are some cool little animations and attacks, but for the most part, you pick a big part of the dinosaur, you mash a button, you win. I think that Primal Carnage kicks things up a notch, and makes dinosaur-human combat a lot more fun for both sides.

primal-carnageYeah, I said both sides. In this particular game, you’re able to play as both human and dinosaur. I was initially hesitant when I heard about this game. The notion of flying around and taking down snipers as a pterodactyl sounds silly, but it somehow works. Each class of dinosaur comes with different stats and abilities, which makes fighting the individual dinosaurs a lot more interesting. Gameplay and combat feels much more comprehensive, which I really enjoy. It’s not quite as skin-deep as I feel other dinosaur games tend to be. The only reason why I decided to place this game lower on the list is because, although they’ve pretty much perfected the whole “dinosaur” thing, ARK: Survival Evolved isn’t only about dinosaurs. It’s about doing what you have to do, and it’s about survival. Primal Carnage is primarily a competitive multiplayer game. It’s a fantastic competitive multiplayer game, but I think that there are better fits out there for someone looking for an ARK: Survival Evolved alternative.

3. 7 Days to Die

Now, for something a little different. If you’re familiar with my articles about survival/crafting games, you probably know by now that I have nothing but nice things to say about 7 Days to Die. In this game, you play as a person who is dropped into a post-apocalyptic worlds. You need to survive several different zombie waves, with nothing but your own instincts to guide you. Right off the bat, this game seems pretty different from ARK: Survival Evolved. The dark, barren setting contrasts with the more vibrant island that you find yourself living on in ARK. Still, I think you’ll find that the crafting and community aspects of 7 Days to Die are very similar to what you’ll find in Survival Evolved. This game involves a lot of build-up, a lot of preparation, and a lot of fast-paced action. I think it’s perfect for someone looking for an ARK: Survival Evolved alternative, even though it does seem very different on the surface.

7-days-to-dieOne of my favorite parts of this game is how comprehensive the crafting interface is. In my opinion, it’s the best that any survival/crafting game has ever seen. This game is a lot more difficult than some of the other games on this list, if only because the player has so many options, and so much to do. Do you go and live in an abandoned house, or do you make your own from scratch? Do you prioritize scavenging or crafting? Do you want to play alone or in a group? It’s really easy to find yourself overwhelmed by this game, which is a trait that I think it shares with ARK: Survival Evolved. I recommend 7 Days to Die to pretty much anyone looking for a new survival/crafting game, because it’s such a rich game to play. I think that if you give it a shot, you’ll really like what you find.

2. Far Cry: Primal

If there’s anything to be said about Far Cry: Primal, it’s that it’s an absolutely gorgeous game. Honestly, this game is by-far the best looking game on this list. The picture to the left doesn’t even fully do it justice. It’s really, really nice to look at. This game looks like you would expect a AAA game released a month ago to look. Games aren’t all about graphics these days, though. Luckily, Far Cry: Primal is much more than a pretty face. In this game, you play as Takkar, a lowly hunter. You live out your life as a prehistoric hunter, using your abilities to tame wild animals to move up in the world. I like to think of Far Cry: Primal as like some weird Grand Theft Auto-type game that just happens to take place during the Mesolithic era. You start off as a nobody, and you use your abilities to rise to the top, dealing with all different kinds of drama and battles along the way.

far-cry-primalOut of every other game in this article, I think that this game feels the most like ARK: Survival Evolved. Sure, there are no dinosaurs, but you’re out here running around this majestic, beautiful open world with stone tools, evading these different, dangerous predators. Still, there’s one big issue. This game doesn’t support any kind of multiplayer. If you’re someone who is looking for an ARK: Survival Evolved alternative to play with friends, this game isn’t the best fit. However, I think that Far Cry: Primal is a damn fine game, and that it perfectly sates the appetite of anyone looking to get their “caveman game” fix. It looks great, it feels great, and its story is actually pretty good. If you don’t mind playing single-player over multiplayer, I highly suggest that you give this game a closer look. You probably won’t regret it.

1. Rust

I really had trouble deciding where to place Rust on this list. I knew going in that it was one of the best survival-based multiplayer games around. It’s popular, it’s well-supported, and it’s a lot of fun. There are no gimmicks. You run around this area, and you survive. No zombies, no dinosaurs, no aliens, no nothing. Just you, a few friends, and the harsh wilderness around you. But like I said at the beginning of this article, I feel like the majority of ARK: Survival Evolved’s identity is surrounding a gimmick. One of the first things that you talk about when you discuss this game is the vibrant, prehistoric-esque island setting. Rust doesn’t have anything like that. Far Cry: Primal has the same general setting that people might be looking for, but it lacks that multiplayer aspect that I think a lot of people enjoy in ARK: Survival Evolved. So ultimately, my decision came down to this: What is more important to people who play ARK? The atmosphere, or the community? Call me a bleeding heart, but I think that a lot of people will choose community over atmosphere, every time.

rustUnlike Far Cry: Primal, Rust lets you have all different kinds of entirely unique experiences. Don’t get me wrong, Far Cry: Primal’s gameplay can be really varied. But you can’t play that game and make new friends. You can’t have forge an alliance with someone who lives on the other side of the world. You can’t stalk and kill a griefer who has been hassling everyone on the server all day long. I feel like, even though dinosaurs are a vital part of ARK’s identity, the player community is an even bigger one. With Rust, it’s pretty much the same thing. People love playing this game with friends. The developers work hard to provide regular updates, the game is fairly well-optimized for a game in early access, and the crafting/combat systems are surprisingly good. It’s one of the first games that started out in that survival/crafting genre, and I think that it has lasted this long for a reason. Sure, it isn’t flashy, but when you play Rust, you’re able to engage in a player community that feels much, much bigger than a couple of dinosaurs. I think that’s definitely something worth being a part of.

jakedbriscoe@gmail.com'
Jake Briscoe
Jake is passionate about everything tech, film, and gaming related. If he's not writing you can probably catch him at a local sporting event or coffee shop.
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