Escape From Tarkov, should really be called, Console Gamers need not apply, as this is truly a game that I am willing to bet will be the “Can it run Crysis” of this generation of games.
What is Tarkov? It is a loot based tactical FPS, where you go into “Raids”, to attempt to loot new guns or items from the world to bring back and sell to traders to slowly but surely improve your overall gear. The catch? If you die you lose everything that you had equipped, this is a game that…and I use this word with effort, a “HardCore Game”…ergh.
Let me go into a tad more detail, the game has two modes, SCAV and PMC, both of these work almost exactly the same, in both modes you go into the world to loot, kill and try to escape at the end, and in both you can play with your friends or others who are looking for a group, however the differences come from what equipment you have.
A SCAV is well, a scavenger, someone who is coming into the world to scavenge items and leave to sell them, each level is also populated by AI SCAV’s who will run around and scavenge, however they are openly hostile to PMC, not to other SCAV’s, so you are free to run around by them, and take items without them attacking you, however other plays will, and it comes to more of a, is that a person or AI debate, where finally if you are anything like me, you will just kill everyone. A SCAV play does not affect your level, or grant EXP, however it does let you take all weapons or items found in the raid, and store into your stash for later use. PMC is the same, but you use YOUR player, with YOUR items, now you can insure your items, so if you die or drop them, you get them back between 12-24 hours later, however this is ONLY if they have not been looted, got killed with your full kitted AK? Well that’s probably been taken, but your backpack probably will be returned to you.
This style of gameplay will not click with everyone, the SCAV runs are obviously there to limit how much gear a poor player loses, however they are time limited, you can only do a SCAV run once every 30minutes, I would love the ability to “Store” plays when not in the game, something like every 2-3hours IRL you can log on and store like 5 runs, so you can use them all at once, as at the moment if you DO lose all your gear, it feels like those who have limited time to play the game are at a disadvantage regardless of skill.
Graphically the game is phenomenal, this is not a game that your budget rig can run on high, or even medium, this game fully takes advantage of the PC’s much more advance hardware. I am willing to bet that this is the only game in a long time where I got excited about grass when running around forest. Textures, lighting effects all of them look amazing, and everything cleanly merges together, far too often you see a game with fantastic graphics, only to have certain objects in the game have a different colour pallet, or placed in the world in an odd angle to ruin the whole effect, not here though.
Oh god the weapons, the weapons in this game are beautifully modelled, with clear animations for drawing them, aiming and reloading, hell even when switching fire modes little details have been followed, did you know the AK’s full auto mode needs to you flick it upwards, and its much stiffer to switch to this mode? Well Tarkov does, and follows it perfectly with an animation that translates this well.
There are games that attempt to make it feel like you are in a combat situation, but one thing that always happens is player models stick out like a sore thumb vs the background environment, not here, sometimes unless a player moves you genuinely struggle to see them, making very intense situations where you finally realise you’ve accidentally been stalking upon a group of players, because you were nervously looking around and didn’t take the time to see their outline. Even worse than this is when walking through brush and trees, you will find it near impossible to see anything through a tree line, unless they are running, and even then it’s difficult, bushes are an actual tactical spot to lay down and hide in, even people at range can’t see, as there isn’t a LOD for grass or bushes to load in, meaning that for those of you that prefer a suppressor + scope kind of play style will find great pleasure in this game.
This game right now is intense and fun, however it is in beta, and it is not fully complete, and to some that may be a massive problem, there are only 4 maps, and the trading system with quests is not fully implemented yet either. However, for those of you who want a quick game with friends, this is for you, and honestly it is some of the most tactical fun I have had in a long time, 8/10, for a game that makes me equally excited when I find a suppressor as I do when I find a PC with 3 hard drives inside.