ARK: Survival Evolved hit Xbox One storefronts this past Wednesday, and the excitement was palpable with its imminent release. The PC darling which has sold over 2 million copies on Steam had long been teased to come to the console, though not until next year. However, as the Inquisitr previously reported, Studio Wild Card, the developer of ARK, surprised fans by making their human/dinosaur survival game available via Xbox One’s “Game Preview” service, akin to the early access service ARK is still currently in on Steam.
But the question remains: How does the Xbox One performance and experience compare to that which is already available on PC? Throughout its short life, ARK has been known as one of the prettier games to hit the PC this past year, thanks to its use of Epic’s Unreal Engine 4. However, it’s also obtained an equally known reputation as one of the more unoptimized PC games on the market to date, though recent patches have improved this tremendously. Now neither the PC nor Xbox One releases are the full release of the game, yet those performance issues should still be discussed, especially when the studio is asking players to spend real money to play their games in this state.
The Xbox One version of ARK: Survival Evolved runs at a variable framerate, going from 30 frames per second capping at 45 FPS. This means it’s one of the few games not capped at 30 FPS, a benchmark that this current console generation seems incapable of truly shaking off, yet it also provides certain issues with how the game is presented. As a result of such a varying framerate, ARK on Xbox One doesn’t seem to be using any sort of variable vsync, which is used in games to match the framerate with the displays refresh, resulting in limited or no screen tearing. However, screen tearing in ARK: Survival Evolved is one of its major and most noticeable issues. With every turn of the camera, multiple places on the screen tear, leaving the image with massive streaks where the frames are clashing. This mars the current performance of ARK and really takes away from the player’s ability to truly experience the world unhindered.
These performance issues likely could be patched and fixed as the game’s development progresses towards its June 2016 release; however, the experience today is being marred by those issues. Couple this with pockets of extended framerate dips below 30, especially when wandering inland from the beaches on the island, and you’re going to be in for a slogging experience. The developers warn of performance issues. After all, this is a game preview and not the finished product. But for $35, prospective players should know what they’re buying. Multiple times I have come close to dying, or have succumbed as a result of performance glitches: freezes, crashes, framerate drops, and screen tearing are all issues that mar the player experience, something that should be accounted for when buying the game in this state.
However, ARK: Survival Evolved beautifully laid out on the gamepad, with each action mapped rather intuitively. Moving your character, chopping wood, placing settlements and so on are done with ease thanks to the way Survival Evolved has been mapped to your controller. In fact, as someone who has played the PC release extensively, I may start to use the gamepad on that system, as I feel controlling my character and exploring the world feel better using the Xbox One gamepad. Console-wise, though, the menus seem to be the exact UI menu system tailored to a mouse and keyboard, meaning they can sometimes be a real pain to navigate. Hopefully, as the development process continues, the UI menus might evolve into something a bit more console-friendly.
Thankfully, the gameplay that has made ARK a smash hit on the PC is completely intact. There is nothing left out content-wise from the PC version to the Xbox One port, and by the rate the Steam version is updated, players can be assured that the developer will continue to evolve ARK as time goes on. All the performance issues could be ironed out by launch as well, as the amount of people playing the game now could help the development process moving forward. ARK: Survival Evolved launched on PC in a pretty unoptimized state, yet it’s night and day different today. Hopefully, the Xbox One version will become more stable as time goes on.
Playing ARK: Survival Evolved on Xbox One? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.