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Escape from Tarkov: A Review

Escape from Tarkov is a realistic and very hardcore first-person shooter.  It has some RPG elements and a story driven walk-through.  It is an online game that pits you against AI and real players.  The game is set in the fictional city of Tarkov, which is located in the Norvinsk region of Russia.  Be warned, this is not a game for the faint of heart, and it is one of the most hardcore games I have ever played.  This is a survival game that will satisfy even the most hardcore adrenaline junkies.

The game is currently in closed beta and the only way to play is to purchase the game in its current state.  The developers are very active at making improvements to the game and releasing new content, as well as battling with cheaters.  Unfortunately, every game out there has cheaters, and this is the price of playing online games.  Let’s get into the details of the game shall we?

There are three factions, but your main character can only be one of two, USEC or BEAR.  USEC – United Security is an English speaking private military company (PMC).  BEAR – Battle Encounter Assault Regiment is a Russian speaking private military company (PMC).  The third faction is Scavs, which is short for scavengers.  These are AI that represent the people that live in Tarkov and scavenge for anything useful left over from the Terra Group.  More detail information about the three factions can be found here:

The realism of this game is incredible.  Being injured in different parts of the body has appropriate effects on your game play.  Such as not being able to hold your weapons steady during a gun fight because you were shot in the arm.  If you get shot in the leg, you walk slower. You won’t be able to run or jump without causing more injury to yourself.  If you get shot in the stomach, you lose fluids and can dehydrate and die before reaching the extract point.  Obviously, if you get shot in the head, you are dead.  Oh, by the way, did I mention that if you die while in a raid, you lose all the gear that you took into the raid?

This game can be brutal at times and you will find yourself with no gear and no money to buy gear.  As such the developers gave you two options when playing the game.  Either play as your PMC operator that you created, or you can play as a Scav.  When you play as your PMC, the gear you take in the raid comes from your stash and will be lost if you die while in the raid.  The second option is to play as a Scav which lets you go into a raid with a random set of equipment determined by the game.  There is a time limit as to how often you can play as a Scav, so you can’t play as a Scav back to back.  You will have to risk your hard-earned gear if you want to play the game.

Your PMC operator has nearly 100 skills that must be leveled up.  Things such as stamina and health.  Stamina determines how much gear you can carry and how long you can run before becoming exhausted.  When your stamina is gone, it is very difficult to hold a weapon steady and will cause you to miss shots.

The level of detail of this game is second to none.  You can modify weapons and make them unique to your own liking.  There is a plethora of choices with each weapon.  From the optics to the magazine, the stock to the barrel and even down to the tiniest of parts like the charging handle and gas tube.  It amazes me at how much time and detail was put into this part of the game.

The game is not without its problems.  It still feels a bit clunky when moving around the map.  And for a long time, the game was plagued with minor lag spikes and mini freezes that could get you killed if it happened in the middle of a fire fight.  The developers have made vast improvements on these issues and I’m sure will continue to do so.

The hardest thing for me to overcome while playing this game was “gear fear’.  This is the fear of losing your gear while in raid.  Gear fear can be rough.  It will make you want to hide like a scared little kid when you hear all the explosions from grenades and bullets whizzing by your head.  If you can find a way to get past this phenomenon, you will enjoy the game a lot more.  The second biggest thing to overcome is the size of your stash.  This is where you keep all your money, guns, armor, ammunition and containers.  There are three different versions of the game that can be purchased and the only real perk that you receive from the more expensive versions of the game is the stash size.  When you are successful in this game, your stash will fill up quickly and you will find yourself spending more time playing Tetris in your stash than raiding.  But don’t worry, eventually, you will hit an unlucky streak and all that hard-earned gear and money will quickly disappear!  However, I would still recommend buying the Edge of Darkness version of the game.  This is the most expensive version and it comes with the largest stash size.

If you live for the rush of adrenaline and heart pounding action of a hardcore survival game, then look no further, this is the game for you.  But if you like constantly dying and getting right back into the action with pre-made gear, then you are looking in the wrong place.

Check out the video below for a look at some of the game play.  Be sure to pay attention near the end of the video to get a feel for just how scary this game can be.