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Palworld vs. Ark: Survival Evolved demonstrates exactly how much survival games have improved in nine years.

NotPokémon against Dinosaurs: How does Palworld compare to the iconic survival game?

Palworld is unquestionably popular, despite ongoing dispute about whether its Pokémon-inspired creature designs are too similar, duplicated, or even stolen. Aside from those species, Palworld bears little resemblance to Pokémon—but it does resemble another survival crafting sandbox: Ark: Survival Evolved. You know, the one with dinosaurs.

Why are 19 million people rushing to play a smaller, less feature-rich version of a popular game from 2015? The Pals, obviously. When you compare the two games, there are a surprising number of factors that go beyond the Pokémon-like creatures. Let’s look at some significant similarities between Ark (the original Survival Evolved edition, not the new and still-expanding remaster) and Palworld.


Before you download either game, there is one significant distinction between the two: how much space on your hard drive you will have to surrender for it.

Palworld weighs only 19.2GB when fully installed. Small in comparison to most triple-A games. Part of this is due to the fact that there is less content overall (it was only released in early access), but it is not a large commitment to download or install.

As opposed to its prehistoric competitor.

The base game alone for Ark (the original Survival Evolved edition) weights an incredible 128 GB, and that’s with just the first playable map. Extending the main plot by six maps makes it a massive 223 GB. Also, this is without mods, thus installing all of the official maps would result in a half-terabyte of game, which would destroy your hard drive. Without a doubt, the most popular game ever.


Ark is more than simply a memory hog. It is well-known to be one of the games that puts a heavy strain on systems. When rendering large player-made structures, even the most state-of-the-art gaming rigs with 14900ks and 4090s ready won’t be able to run it at maximum settings with a continuously high framerate above 1440p.

Even if Palworld isn’t the most optimized PC game, a 2019 Geforce 2060 should allow you to get a fairly steady 60 frames per second at 1080p and maximum settings. For those who are ready to settle for merely “high” detail, a small amount of DLSS boosts the frame rate to 90fps. With all settings on maximum, a state-of-the-art computer will be able to achieve 120 frames per second.

If you’re okay with settling for a 30fps target framerate, both games can be scaled down to the Steam Deck. Ark requires even lower settings and resolution scaling, in contrast to Palworld’s competent handling of medium and low settings.

3. PVP

I think that the fact that Palworld did not debut with PvP contributed to its early spectacular rise. Currently, it’s only available as a cooperative game with up to 32 players per server; however, future updates will introduce group competition, which could make the game more enjoyable when played solo. This includes the data-mined possibility of stealing other players’ Pals using special Pal Spheres.

In contrast, Ark is well-known for its violent, no-holds-barred player against player combat. In public servers (which can often accommodate up to 70 people), newcomers who aren’t pressed into service by one of the local player groups are likely to be clubbed, captured, or griefed. Attacks on bases can happen even when players aren’t online. If you’re playing solo, you might wish to adjust the values for resource gain and stats while creating a new world, as they are also designed for an MMO-lite framework.


When compared to Ark, Palworld is much more welcoming in the way new players are onboarded.

Spread out across Ark’s enormous geographies are a number of starting points for your trip, some of which are designated as easier than others. A hostile dinosaur may still spawn moments after you start, even if you choose one of those, and you may need to experiment (and maybe even some luck) to find a spot where you can build a hut to hide your sleeping bag respawn point.

Palworld places all players on a plateau similar to Breath of the Wild when they begin the game. With few dangerous animals, an abundance of useful materials, and some level ground to construct on, this area is ideal for a safe haven. Along with a rudimentary objectives checklist, there is a tutorial NPC that provides brief assistance and cautions you that the Pals are lethal, ravenous monsters. First couple hours are relatively easy going, provided you don’t stray too far from the path.


Both games revolve around the concept of base-building. Like Minecraft before it, Ark requires you to manually gather resources, fashion them into building parts (e.g., foundations, walls, doors, ceilings, etc.), tote them to the spot where you want to put them, load them into your hotbar, choose the objects, and start building. Surprisingly heavy, with lots of back-and-forth between storage boxes; without investing heavily in weight capacity stats, gathering enough wood and stone to construct a building takes an eternity, forcing you to depend on domesticated dinosaurs to ease the burden.

The building process on Palworld is far less cumbersome. All the fundamental building materials you have stored in boxes will be at your fingertips no matter where you are in your control zone as long as you have a Palbox positioned at the center of your base. You can safely remove them from your inventory. You can save a lot of time compared to making each construction part separately by placing blueprints that use your resource pool. A maximum of three bases, each with its own Pal population, are also permitted. Some assembly is still required for buildings, but your tamed Pals should be able to take care of it. A bit more on that later.


The process of collecting creatures in Palworld is, unsurprisingly, very similar to Pokémon compared to Ark. At your base, you can construct Pal Spheres. Then, when the creature you choose is low on health, you can bean it in the face using an orb. If your damage was high enough and you were the lucky winner of the capture dice roll, you have a new pal! You can have five on hand at once, send out one at a time, and put fifteen (or twenty, if the server supports it) to work at each base. The process is easy, smooth, and entertaining. The ability to defeat them in a fight is all that’s needed to gather a small army of creatures.
Being more socially structured like an MMOlite, Ark takes a more long-term view. After you’ve stunned and confined a dinosaur, you can start to tame it by feeding it slowly, waiting for it to get hungry again, feeding it again, and so on, until you’ve gained its trust. You can ride some once you’ve tamed them, provided you’ve made the correct saddle. The lengthy procedure is necessary for many of the game’s more challenging conflicts, such as boss fights, in which you can summon up to twenty of your strongest fighting creatures into battle.


Fighting in Ark and Palworld is drastically different from one another, mostly because to the change in (default) camera perspective, even though the two worlds are fundamentally similar (juggling limited energy and resources).

You can take Palworld with you everywhere you go. Your dodge roll is solid, your enemies’ attacks are predictable, and monsters won’t likely suddenly pounce on you and break you in two. Ranged combat is given more attention, and a lot of Pals can launch projectiles. Ranged weapons that can be relied on include bows and, subsequently, firearms. On top of that, your summoned allies will be dividing up the fighting, taking damage themselves, and adding new dimensions to battle with their unique abilities.Though it may be more chaotic, Ark is easier to understand. Although you can switch to a third-person view when necessary, the majority of combat occurs in first-person, and the dinosaurs you encounter will eagerly charge into combat. Although arrows can deliver some initial damage, the majority of your attacks will be basic melee strikes as you rush to reduce a dinosaur’s health. A bit messier to fight overall, but if you have a summoned (or saddled) dino or two, ranged combat becomes more viable—a setting better suited to, again, that MMO-lite structure.


Using Ark as a foundation, Palworld smooths out most of the rough spots. Solo players will find it more accessible, as there are less barriers to entry in terms of building bases and gathering friendly creatures. There isn’t much to do in it at the moment, and the only goals are to level up and defeat world bosses, but now that developer Pocket Pair has raised more money than God, the sky’s the limit.

It depends on your definition of “cutthroat survival” whether that’s the kind of gameplay you’re after in an outdoor survival game. Despite its age, Ark maintains its massive player base thanks to its unique and difficult gameplay and one of the most savage PvP systems ever created. Interesting to some, scary to others, but unique all the same. The highly anticipated Ark 2 (rumored to feature Vin Diesel) may release at a time when some Palworld gamers are ready for a challenge.

No matter what you decide, you can count on devoting an excessive amount of your leisure time to it. These games may devour your time like a vampire if they get a hold of you. This is a warning to you.


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