Since its Early Access release a few weeks ago, Conan Exiles has been dominating the Steam charts. It seems the current reigning champion of survival titles, ARK: Survival Evolved, has some competition. Will Conan Exiles push ARK out of the limelight? Or do dinosaurs trump barbarians?
Science Fiction or Savagery
It isn’t surprising that Conan Exiles and ARK are extremely similar. Both games run on the popular Unreal Engine 4, creating visible parallels between character models, base structures, environments and in-game menus. Remember that both titles are also open-world survival games, so regardless of the time period or setting the basic premise is always going to be the same. You start off with nothing and must farm, fight, gather and craft until you’re king of the castle.
All that said, the games do have their differences. Its these interesting survival tweaks that could be the distinction between success and stagnance. To begin with, ARK offers us an extensive universe, spanning all the way from the Mesozoic era to Science fiction. This allows for so much player diversity and hours of character progression. Will you choose to fend off raptors with a spear or sniper rifle? In Conan Exiles however, you role-play a barbarian exiled in a era of sword and sorcery with extremely limited technological progression. If the developers of Conan Exiles continue to stay faithful to Robert E. Howard’s barbarian universe, then you’re not going to be crafting anything more impressive than a steel sword.
Building a Desert Dwelling or a Jungle Abode
So gathering resources, levelling up skills and crafting items all seem to be pretty much the same. What about base building? It looks as though Conan Exiles wins this one, with the ability to free-build pretty much anywhere you like. Find a spot that takes your fancy and put up some walls; why not build in a cave, or beside a mountain for extra protection against bandits. Conan Exiles allows for building integration with the surrounding environment, you can use everything to your advantage.
ARK on the other hand has some rules when it comes to building your base of operations. If your want to start construction of your very own Jurassic Park, then you better find some flat open ground. ARK provides its players with set foundations for building that unfortunately cannot be placed on uneven ground or too close to rock formations. If you’re looking to explore your creativity through construction, head on over to Conan Exiles,(or Minecraft).
Taming Dinos or Enslaving Thralls
Both games have a taming feature (so to speak). All the dinosaurs and crazy creatures in ARK: Survival Evolved are tamable. But don’t think they’re just pretty pets oh no. Your tamed creatures will fight and forage for you. They can carry items and the larger ones can even be ridden. Specific dinosaurs will gather certain resources in huge quantities, some are good for speedy getaways and others can take you up high in the sky. If two T-Rex aren’t enough, why not just breed them for some babies! ARK’s main selling point is its volatile yet versatile wildlife.
Conan Exiles does have an array of interesting and deadly creatures to hunt and kill, but not tame. Funcom developers have claimed that later updates may introduce taming to a handful of animals. Although we don’t think having a pet wolf quite lives up to a rideable Triceratops.
What Conan Exiles does have however, is a slave system. Venture out into Hyboria and abduct NPCs to craft, fight and dance for you. Who needs friends when you have an army of sword wielding slaves.
Sword or Shotgun?
The combat systems in Conan Exiles and ARK are vastly different. The barbaric brutality of Conan Exiles calls for a more up close and personal approach. The less distance between an enemy and your blade, the better.
ARK players, on the other hand, will normally perform better from a distance. Yes you can go gung-ho with a sword and shield, but you’re better off shooting that Tyrannosaur with a sniper rifle.
Will the Fun End?
Both Ark and Conan Exiles provide and promise enough gameplay to keep audiences of all ages interested. Ark has recently introduced boss battles with rare rewards that allow the creation of Tek Gear. Any hardcore, late-game players will appreciate this update. Who wouldn’t want to run at supersonic speeds and fly like Iron Man.
Conan Exiles has only just been born, and has a lot of potential for greatness. Still in Early Access, this barbaric title promises player tribes, challenging A.I. opponents and many more features involving Gods, monsters, myth and magic.
Whether Conan Exiles will take the number one spot and overthrow its sci-fi survival rival Ark is still anyone’s guess. Both games pursue the same goals and provide similar objectives: survive – build – dominate. ARK, however, is a nearly completed project whereas Conan Exiles still has a long long way to go. Will Conan Exiles’ savagery and slaughter only get better? Or will dinosaurs rule the Earth once more?