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Ark: Survival Evolved is an Ugly Mess on Switch

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Survival games are all the rage these days, and Ark: Survival Evolved is one of the more popular ones, with over 5 million copies sold. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports of the game don’t run nearly as well as the PC version, but that didn’t stop Studio Wildcard from porting it to the less powerful Nintendo Switch as well. It probably should have.

Following its launch two weeks back, Digital Foundry took an extensive look at the game’s visuals, frame rate, loading times, and more. In short, they determined that the game is an ugly mess that required “more sacrifices than any other Switch port to date.” Much of the game’s grass and foliage has been removed, leaving what’s meant to be dense, forested areas largely barren. This problem is worsened by the fact that textures are blurry and lacking in detail, and shadows are ugly and inconsistent. Ark also suffers from extremely poor draw distances on Switch, with trees, animals, and more frequently popping in just a few feet ahead.

Despite all of these sacrifices, the game still utterly fails to achieve anything remotely resembling an acceptable resolution. Digital Foundry described it as having not only the lowest resolution of any Switch game, but of “any recent console game” they’ve played in years. Their analysis found that the frame rate was often worse than most PlayStation 2 games. To top it all off, this mess of a game has obnoxious loading times that can go as long as three minutes.

Switch hardware can’t compete directly with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but developers like Panic Button have managed to achieve impressive ports regardless. This port of Ark is not one of them. If you’re looking for a good survival experience on Switch, you should probably look to another game.

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