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ARK Aberration – Why ARK: Survival Evolved Was My Most Played Game on Xbox in 2017

According to my stats from Xbox Canada, I played a lot of games on my Xbox One in 2017, some on the original Xbox One, some on the Xbox One S, and a TON on the Xbox One X! One of those games that got an uptick in play time near the end of the year was ARK: Survival Evolved. This was for two reasons: first, ARK developers released a 4K update for the game which I wanted to see for myself on the Xbox One X; second, the latest expansion for ARK was recently released. Titled Aberration, this new DLC pits you against the radioactive world, deep under ground. Think you have what it takes to take on a blue Trike? Let’s take a peak!

From the developers,

Waking up on ‘Aberration’, a derelict, malfunctioning ARK with an elaborate underground biome system, survivors face exotic new challenges unlike anything before: extreme radioactive sunlight and environmental hazards, zip lines, wing suits, climbing gear, cave dwellings, charge-batteries, and far more, along with a stable of extraordinary new creatures await within the mysterious depths. But beware the ‘Nameless’: unrelenting, Element-infused humanoids which have evolved into vicious light-hating monstrosities! On Aberration, survivors will uncover the ultimate secrets of the ARKs, and discover what the future holds in store for those strong and clever enough to survive!

Aberration is definitely the hardest environment to traverse and make your own, although it’s wildlife difficulty is still dwarfed by Scotched Earth. But unlike the other expansions we’ve seen from the developers, Aberration is something completely different, with a whole new set of items to craft, and environmental puzzles to solve. Very few textures were reused for this expansion, and when you load it up for the first time, you are bound to think you are playing an entirely new game in the ARK universe.

To that end, hats off to the developers on giving players something distinctly different, prolonging the life of this survival title for another year, if not more. If you should be so lucky as to own an Xbox One X – which we have, thanks to Xbox Canada – you’ll be in for an even bigger treat. ARK: Survival Evolved – Aberration looks absolutely stunning in 4K. When playing with my brother, we often set up two TV’s side by side in the office, me on my Xbox One X and him on his Xbox One. The difference between the two is mind blowing, both in load time upgrades and graphics. The textures on the Xbox One X are outstanding, giving that extra layer of detail to Aberration that you won’t find playing on Xbox One or Xbox One S. To be sure, the game looks and plays fine on the original Xbox One or the S, but that experience is heightened when you harness the power of the Xbox One X.

Of all the additions to ARK: Survival Evolved – Aberration, my two favorites are the environmental hazards and the zip lines spread out around the world. The zip lines make for fantastic get away opportunities, especially when facing a tough opponent. Strategically luring a much larger dinosaur towards a zip line to give yourself a way out if necessary is an extra strategic move I was happy to work with. In the past, I had a ‘run like hell’ mentality when things worked against me; now, I feel like I have a bit of control over the battle, strategically planning my escape route, if necessary.

It is the environmental hazards, however, that bring the biggest difference to the game for me. In the previous versions of ARK, your greatest enemy is the dinosaurs roaming around you, or the bugs that can be a nasty, constant problem. It’s all about he wildlife there, but not necessarily on Aberration. Like I said before, this environment is definitely the hardest to traverse, and the sooner you familiarize yourself with the flora around you, the better off you will be. Take those patches of red mushrooms, for example. Steer clear, or begin drowning on dry land…literally.

It is these changes to the experience that make picking up the latest ARK expansion completely worth it. Instead of playing ‘more of the same,’ you will be getting a fairly new, phenomenal experience. If you can link up with friends, it is even better. Grab your copy of ARK: Survival Evolved today, and be sure to snag that season pass to get access to Aberration, Scorched Earth, and Ragnorock!


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Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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Twitter: @AdamRoffel   


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