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Review: Escape from Tarkov – Escape might not be possible.

Escape from Tarkov photo by Jarret Whitenack

Escape from Tarkov (EFT), a not quite released game has captured the attention of the gaming world. A realistic survival shooter is not a new concept, however EFT has gone above and beyond anything that has come before.

This game exploded in popularity in the last 3 months. Some of the biggest streamers in the world started to play EFT, like Shroud, TimtheTatman and Ninja. This drew attention to the game. 

Right as the game started to gain a substantial player base, COVID-19 brought the world to a standstill leaving many people at home with nothing to do. This led more people to search for new entertainment. 

The realistic survival shooter is being developed by the Russian company Battlestate Games. It takes place in a fictional city in Russia called Tarkov. This city is the epicenter for a war between an International Corporation and the Russian Government. 

Both sides employ private military companies, USEC and BEAR. When you first launch the game you are prompted to choose a side; at that moment the decision does not affect the gameplay and only changes your character’s look and what language they speak.

Player character after a raid. Photo by Jarret Whitenack

The game is based around a risk reward system of loot. This system has made this game very addicting when you are playing well and makes it hard to quit playing when one good round could turn it all around.

The main component of the came is an out of match storage. When you go into matches, called raids by the community, you gather loot. When you exit a raid successfully you get to keep everything you found. 

However, before a raid you equip your character with weapons, armor, backpacks, food and drinks. If you die you lose everything you found and everything you brought in with you. 

There are two types of raids, scav raids and  PMC raids. A scav raid is a randomized loadout with usually low tier gear, but no risk of losing anything. A PMC raid is when you are on your main character and you put your own gear on the line hoping to find loot in the raid. Both types have their benefits, however if you really want to make progress in quests, gear, or loot, PMC raids are a must.

Gearing up is the first decision you make in a raid. How geared up you are can also mean you will survive longer, but there are no guarantees in EFT

Go in geared to the teeth and risk a lot while knowing you have better chances, or go in very light, risk little and hope you get the drop on another player.

Player’s out of raid stash. Photo by Jarret Whitenack

Each raid has between four and twelve players that are fighting over the loot on the map and trying to kill the other players to take the gear they brought in. The risk-reward system makes every firefight intense. 

Playing this game is extremely addicting. It’s like gambling. You could be having a bad day of games and lose a ton of gear that took you a week to gather up, but it can all turn around in one raid. You get the drop on someone that has better gear then you and it makes up for all the losses.

Outside of loot and fighting there are quests in the game. These quests can be anything from fetching an item or killing other players wearing certain gear. These quests lead towards items called secured containers. These containers are safe boxes that you take into raids. Anything you put in them can be taken out when you exit the raid even if you died, thus giving you some leeway on finding the loot you need.

The game is not perfect and has difficulties even with how addicting it is. Since the game is based around gearing up with stuff you’ve found, the more you play the more you outclass people that don’t play as much. This is fine to some extent but when some things give you such a large advantage it creates a rough start for new players.

Other than playing more, giving you a disproportionate advantage, there are tiers for when you buy the game. The lowest tier is the normal price and it gives you the normal items to start the game. However, every tier you go up and pay for, you get more gear. The highest tier gets you a secured container that is a little more than two times the size of the base one. Allowing one to always get more stuff out no matter what creates an unequal gap at the beginning of the game. 

In game menu, with bonus from paying more money. Gamma Case bottom of middle column. Photo by Jarret Whitenack

And on top of the disadvantages you have at the beginning there are bugs that can ruin runs and make you lose your gear no matter how much you play. Server problems, invisible players, silent grenades, and many more can end your run prematurely. Ending you run this way leaves a sour taste in your mouth. 

Bugs and unbalanced gameplay can be fixed, however, one of problems the community around this game complains about the most are hackers. These hackers aren’t going around trying to get into people’s accounts but they are cheating in game so they can sell ingame currency for real world money. BSG has been working to solve the problem and in the next big patch for the game they are changing the system of trading in game to make it harder for hackers to make money. 

This game is sitting in a niche that has been missing a good game for a long time. And it hit the mark. It may have its problems but the gameplay provides more positives than it does negatives, making it so every time you launch the game you are bound to find some enjoyment.

I would give this game an 8/10. There are things that can be improved and fixed, however, as it is right now the game is worth the money.

Escape from Tarkov can be purchase from https://www.escapefromtarkov.com/.

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