In 2018, the Switch received one of its worst and most unplayable ports in console history, a notable distinction given how many badass games there are on the platform. You might be aware of this as it is quite a popular first person open world survival sim called Ark: Survival Evolved. Now, four years after its initial release, Ark has a new Switch port that uses a newer version of Unreal and it might be one of the most impressive updates to a Switch game I’ve ever seen.
There have been some miraculous ports on Switch. games like the witcher 3 Y fatality 2016 it not only looks good on the old handheld hybrid console, but plays well too. That’s not easy to do, mind you. The Switch is old and not very powerful, so it’s a challenge to get it to run modern, big, slick-looking 3D games. I mean, even games published by Nintendo like the new pokemon fight in it. So it’s no surprise that for every miracle port there are a dozen bleh ports of great games. But then there are the truly abysmal ports, the ones that make you wonder why they were made. And perhaps the worst of the worst is 2018 Ark: Survival Evolved.
Ark on Switch in 2018 it wasn’t just bad, it was downright terrible. many websites Y critics have called it one of the worst ports released for the Switch, if not the worst. It featured incredibly low resolution and horribly bad frame rate, with tons of stuttering and jerkiness.
Even when it worked fine, it looked like crap, with lots of blurry objects and blurry shapes floating around. Some of these, apparently, were meant to be dinosaurs or trees. It was hard to say. East digital foundry 2018 video It’s a great look at the port and how poorly it was played. Fast forward a few years later and now this month a new version of the popular survival game is available on Switch. And friends, it’s kind of amazing how much better things are.
eurogamer Y digital foundry took a look at this new port and talked to the developers behind it. The entire game has apparently been rebuilt from scratch in Unreal 4. In fact, according to the developers, nothing remains of the original game. Instead, this port is based on a newer version of the game for the Xbox. New port developer Grove Street Games (yes, the same people behind the hated, clumsy G.T.A. Trilogy remasters from last year…) is also using dynamic resolution scaling to help things look sharper and work better on Switch.
The new port of Ark features prettier shadows and less pop-in thanks to the new tools available in UE4. Even better, the infamously long load times have been reduced to only around 30 seconds. It’s still a lot, but consider that in the original port it could take up to almost three minutes. So yeah, big improvements all around.
To be clear: this is still a difficult way to play. Ark: Survival Evolved compared to more capable platforms. Of course, playing the game on newer, more powerful consoles or a beefy PC will provide a much better experience. But for people who prefer portable gaming or only have a Switch, it’s nice to see a publisher go back and spend the money and time to completely repair and replace a bad port with something much better. This is not something you see very often and even if the new port still has its own problems, the new version is a constant improvement that should be applauded.