Escape From Tarkov has flown under the radar for the most part, in the past few years since the emergence of DayZ the Hardcore Survival genre has flourished and led to an over saturation that waters down the greats and worn out the fans. Personally, I dislike these type of games. ARK, Rust, Conan: Exiles none of these interest me. Their concept always grand and mechanics intuitive, but are often plagued with janky gameplay and toxic communities. So why is Escape From Tarkov different? What’s made me so excited for this particular Indie game that helps set it aside from the rest?
The answer’s is simple. What the others packed in with quantity and grandiose, they lacked in quality. Escape From Tarkov on the other hand oozes with it. It’s the games bread and butter, there is a depth of quality that can be viewed in almost every single detail within the game world. But before I go in to too much detail I’ll answer another question. What exactly is Escape From Tarkov?
Well it’s many things. Officially it’s a Hardcore Survival Military-Sim First Person Shooter MMORPG. Bit of a mouthful. I was initially worried when hearing this long description. That’s a lot of different aspects and genres to get right. Many games preceding have tried to execute the same idea and most have failed. For now the only game mode available to EFT is the raid mode in which you enter a large map with other players at the same time, the aim is to find enemies kill them, take their stuff and then extract. What makes it hardcore is its permadeath system, if you die all the stuff you deployed with will be lost to the enemy players looting you. .
Many other games modes have been promised such as a PVP arena, free roam and faction wars but since this is simply an opinions article on my first impressions of EFT, I will wait for my full review to comment on such things.
Any way, back to my main point on the quality inside EFT. Every little detail has been thoroughly looked at, worked on and advanced to the point of precision. Mostly within the games weapons and animations. For starters this is a hudless game. Checking your ammo can be done in one or two ways, either checking the magazine in which you will receive a message stating you have “about half” or a “full” mag, or popping up the inventory, however in battle this can be dangerous. Trying to break old habits from other FPS games in which reloading a magazine after you fired two shots shall allow you to retain the rest of the ammo in the magazine is a big thing for EFT, it took me a while to realise that every time you reload your magazine it actually drops on to the ground or gets put in to your bag, depending on your skill rating with the weapon.
Or maybe the individual loading of a bullet straight in to the chamber, while adding a singular bullet to the chamber slot of a gun in your inventory screen a short animation is played out in which you actually place the bullet in the well and then cock it ready to fire.
This is only one of the myriad of features within EFT that amazes me and many more are being worked on, the extensive modding system destroys any other of its rivals with the ability to mod a weapon in any way you desire, replacing everything from the stock to the mount or add a laser sight and an acog scope with a red-dot attached to the side. Or maybe remove the stock to allow easier use in tight situation, which brings me to another crazy detail. Each model, whether human or weapon, in the game has its own space and geometric shapes that exist within the game world in a realistic capacity. Using what the team at Battle State Games describe as procedural animation, the results are extremely refreshing. For exampleif your weapon is too long for a space, you will enter an animation that realistically pulls the weapon up, down or to the side in a bid to stop you smashing the weapon’s barrel in to the wall.
While many of these mechanics are subtle, what gets me even hotter is the promises that BSG have made and examples in their dev diaries. From what I’ve seen it looks like they’re spending an exuberant amount of time in researching to create the most authentic experience humanly possible, at this point they all probably know exactly what an AK-47 sounds like.
Finally I just want to say that although I know that BSG are going for a more realistic experience leaning towards the more Mil-Sim type of shooters we’re not used to seeing since the days of Spec-Ops and Delta Force, I get that these kind of mechanics are not welcome in many big AAA Games. But the team at BSG are relentless in adding as many innovative systems in to their game as humanly possible. Weather systems, night and day cycles, bullet ballistics with glowing tracers that can be seen whizzing through the night, survival mechanics and realistic injuries, game modes in abundance, faction wars, quests, a ridiculous amount of weapons with mods to boot, new animations including a first person blind fire, volumetric lighting and that’s just getting started.
While the beta may have a bunch of kinks right now such as bugs, memory leaks and server instability, the future looks bright for Escape From Tarkov, a game with so much in terms of sheer horsepower that the hard work, blood, sweat and tears from BSG are evident in their product. A sentiment which I believe makes AAA studios with bigger teams and bigger budgets appear lazy.