This summer brought forth one of the most anticipated releases for many as ARK: Survival Evolved made its world debut and was met with open arms as its massive landscapes and numerous monsters offered players the hunter-gatherer experience that they have been craving for. Now comes the newest chapter in the series with a new expansion which brings in new, deadlier creatures in an even more dangerous landscape. ARK: Survival Evolved: Aberration offers many new bold ideas but still fails to correct the issues that were found in the main game.

The story takes players on a damaged ARK, where its contents have started drastically changing the environment and the wildlife within it. The elements and radiation have altered the landscape completely as the land and creatures have mutated and evolved into a harsh and deadly world. Those bold enough to venture through it will be pitted against fearsome beasts, hazards, and nature itself in order to survive this strange and dangerous environment.

This horror-sci-fi take is far more appealing than anything else that was ever offered from ARK: Survival Evolved and the game truly makes you feel as though you are lost in an alien world. While there is still some forest life to roam about through, the vegetation and its surroundings are vastly different than anything seen previously. On top of that, some areas, like the underground areas are decorated with a neon-purple that illuminates that decorate its fungal and crystallized caverns.

It isn’t only for show, however, as ARK: Survival Evolved: Aberration makes these alien-like locals rise up against you in your attempt to thrive in the strange land. Earthquakes, hallucinogenic spores, radioactive exposures and many more deadly disasters will impede you on your quest to conquer your surroundings. This, mixed with the batch of powerful monsters that lurk about will truly test your skills and see if you are able to brace the elements and a true survivalist.

It quickly becomes apparent that ARK: Survival Evolved: Aberration is definitely tougher than its previous iteration and will test even the seasoned players to their fullest of potential, which will most likely be met with a few deaths. While it is frustrating to die in any game, ARK: Survival Evolved: Aberration does allow you to learn from your mistakes and adapt to your surroundings, much like how the game’s creatures have had to do on their broken ARK. It is fun to learn from one’s mistakes, but the game can be punishing at times and will force you to be vigilant each and every turn you take.

The game won’t leave you empty-handed, however, as it offers many new tools and resources at your disposal to tackle this harsh new land. From bio-suits to protect yourself from radiation, to rock climbing gear will help you traverse the harsh landscape that ARK: Survival Evolved: Aberration puts you up against. These new tools and crafting items help to add to the already inventive list of gadgets that are found throughout the game as well as to enforce the idea to tackle on each scenario with a different point of view.

While its gameplay, content, and locals have surely developed over time, the game does still have persisting technical flaws that can be bothersome for the entire experience. Glitches, bugs, frame drops and a cumbersome UI are still found throughout ARK: Survival Evolved: Aberration and while there have been some improvements, they tend to be minor in comparison to what has been seen and experience. Those who have been playing for some time will see these issues far less than others but could deter newer players who may have just started their adventure.

This expansion to ARK will only set you back $24.99 CAD in which can be considered a steal for the die-hard fans who have already invested numerous hours of playtime in the games first iteration. That said, it is recommended to familiarize yourself with ARK: Survival Evolved before jumping into the ARK: Survival Evolved: Aberration expansion as it is a far more challenging than its predecessor and plays by a whole new set of rules that will even be difficult for seasoned players to master. For those who do plan on picking up ARK: Survival Evolved: Aberration will be met with a new extensive chapter to a game that offers limitless potentials and endless hours of playtime.

Fans of the hunter-gatherer franchise will find many things to get excited about with the Aberration expansion as it offers new ways to play and things to do on as well as many new and exciting monsters to hunt on the broken ARK. The game has come a long way from its initial release, but there are there are some quirks that still need to be worked out. Still, ARK: Survival Evolved: Aberration delivers where it matters most, by offering players a daring new adventure that will challenge newcomers and veterans alike.

A copy of ARK: Survival Evolved: Aberration was provided to Link-Cable by the publisher for the purpose of this review.