Ark: Survival Ascended is the worst optimised Unreal Engine 5 game we’ve seen on console

June 13, 2024
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We’ve seen some poorly optimised Unreal Engine games over the last few years, especially on console as developers try to implement new and impressive visual features within a limited performance budget. Ark: Survival Ascended, a UE5 remake of 2015’s Ark: Survival Evolved, might just be the worst to date.

In remaking Survival Evolved, originally an Unreal Engine 4 game, over to the new UE5, developer Studio Wildcard opted to tap into as many new cutting-edge rendering features as possible while also shipping the game on Series X and Series S (via Game Pass) plus PS5 and PC. There are no last-gen versions, thankfully, but even on current-gen machines it’s clear that the game provides a stern performance challenge.

After all, despite the original island from Survival Evolved arriving intact, the difference in fidelity is staggering, with UE5’s Nanite used to chisel out fine geometric detail across the landscape, with rocks and foliage alike benefitting. There’s also UE5’s Lumen lighting, using a hybrid ray tracing technique to simulate global illumination and reflections on water. Beyond this, there are volumetric cloud systems in play, fog in woodland areas, dynamic water, improved physics, a better third-person camera and a lot more – a hugely feature-rich offering that at times looks spectacular.

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