Ark: Genesis Season Pass has released part one of the DLC which introduces missions to Ark Survival Evolved delivered to you in the form of a new companion HLN-A. Your survivor is teleported into the Genesis simulation and you can choose which biome you spawn into. Does Studio Wildcard succeed in introducing missions to Ark? This is our Ark: Genesis Season Pass – Part One review.
First, the new biomes look great. The Ark: Genesis map includes bog, arctic, lunar, ocean and volcanic biomes. When first creating your survivor, you pick which biome to spawn in and they all look spectacular. The bog is listed as “easy” and that is a lie, it is only “easy” because you don’t have to deal with environmental effects and some of the most hostile dinosaurs are not on it. There are still lots of things to kill you though and the insect swarms are annoying until you can make some repellant. When I first spawned into the Genesis simulation I gazed around in wonder at the flora and fauna for a whole 15 seconds before I was eaten, round two took 10 seconds.
Once you do get a decent random spawn point it is your typically starting Ark experience, gather resources and build a shelter. Continue progressing in this fashion to slowly build up your strength and explore the map. This is where things get a bit different as you gradually explore outward and tame dinosaurs along the way you will begin to find some of the new content that includes glitches and missions. One thing I will say is that Genesis doesn’t have the same grand feeling of exploration that earlier maps had, The Island, for example, felt immense when first exploring it. The different areas feel more compact/dense, you can see this when it comes to how closely packed the dinosaurs are in certain areas as you trying to explore. It didn’t take much for me to run from one hungry creature right into two or three more.
To help you along HLN-A is your new companion and she is great. If you find her floating around you all the time to be annoying though you can open the radial menu and have HLN-A only appear when she has something to say or you need to access the shop. There are also options for her to display the areas where the new missions are located, this will appear visually as large pinkish boxes when exploring the map. The voice acting is top-notch and she seems to have a comment or interesting bits of information every time you close a glitch.
Hexagons are the new currency you can acquire by saying hello to HLN-A every so often, closing glitches on the map, and completing missions. You can then speak to HLN-A to open the in-game shop and spend hexagons on resources you may be short of or on lockboxes of gear, don’t worry it is not a cash shop just an in-game currency you collect. I found this to be a great addition to the game as I could pick up resources that I was having trouble finding to help make the one piece of gear or crafting station that helped with my progression.
The new missions are for the most part a great addition to Ark. They play well except for the races which at times can be a pain to complete. If you a purist though who only wants Ark to be a sandbox-style game where you create your fun, then this new feature will likely not be for you as it is a more guided experience. I enjoy more PvE content in my games and mostly play on private servers so it ended up being a great new experience for me. When it comes to Ark specifically I have 540 hours played at this point, all on PvE servers.
Unfortunately, Ark still has bugs that have existed for quite some time and with the release of Genesis, some are still appearing on the new map. While I have noticed that performance seems improved somewhat issues with teleporting between biomes, dinosaurs getting stuck at time, and your pets occasionally vanishing only to reappear a short time late at a random distance away from your location or around a corner break up the gameplay. I would have also really like to see an update to the survivor models, they are awful.
The Ark: Genesis – Part One DLC is a good addition to the game if you are looking for more PvE content and something new/different to try. On the other hand, if you are looking for another large map and/or a “pure” Ark Survival Evolved experience then you may want to wait for Part Two of the DLC that releases later this year to see what the developers have in store. Overall, I have enjoyed my time with this DLC, however, I would not recommend it for players new to Ark unless you are familiar with other survival games and enjoy them, even the “easy” area can be pretty rough in comparison to other maps. The biomes of the new map all look great but, old bugs are still an issue and your character model is still pretty horrible. The developers have done a good job implementing missions, the new in-game currency, and HLN—A.
A game key was provided for the purpose of review.
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