Escape From Tarkov - is it worth it?
Escape From Tarkov - is it worth it?
Today we will touch upon a subject of whether Escape from Tarkov is worth playing at the moment. Escape from Tarkov is a hardcore realistic first-person online looter & shooter game with elements of survival and RPG, it was created and is still being created by Battlestate Games on the Unity engine. There are still a lot of things that are going to be added to the game, as it's still an incomplete title. But does it really stop players from actually enjoying the game? Is it a good game that can be comfortably played at this moment? Is this game worth its price? Or maybe it would've been better to just wait for a better release? We're going to answer all of these questions, so you can decide if EFT is worth your time in 2020.
Not for everyone
Saying that Escape from Tarkov is an FPS for hardcore veterans of games like ARMA, DayZ Mod, S.T.A.L.K.E.R, and DayZ Standalone is an understatement. It's a true, hardcore militaristic experience when you will feel completely desperate, you will struggle to survive, you will have to develop somewhat of a sixth sense. You will be tense at all times, and you will never know who's hiding around the next corner. Don't even think about run-and-gun style from Call of Duty, and other mainstream FPS games. Speed kills you, especially in tactical games like EFT. Make a rash decision - get hit. That's the motto that you will learn over hundreds of hours spent in Escape from Tarkov.
If you don't like the experience of struggling, pure desperation, and sometimes, even terror, If you don't want to feel your heart rate skyrocket if you don't like the adrenaline coursing through your veins - do not touch this game. It's an entirely different feeling than other online shooters. In games like Call of Duty or Battlefield, dying has no real value. You spawn in. You charge in like a madlad you are, you cap quite a few enemies, that give you some satisfaction, you die in a process. You wait for a few seconds, and you are back in the game just like that. Escape from Tarkov is very different. Killing someone, or dying in a PvP encounter offers a range of emotions. It is thanks to the value of death in EFT.
In Escape from Tarkov, death has a meaning. Death in softcore shooters only forces you to go back to your respawn. In a hardcore survival shooter like EFT, you enter with your gear, and there is a huge probability of losing it. Dying has a clear consequence, and it's really punishing. It is exactly why hardcore veterans are clinging to games like DayZ Standalone and Escape from Tarkov. It's sporadic for a game to give you such feelings of reward and regret, it's somewhat bittersweet. Knowing that you've just killed somebody with a high-grade gear, somebody who spent hours on acquiring all of the stuff is one of the most satisfying things in online gaming. You can prepare for some worse feelings when you are at the other end of the stick cause you will go through the entire process of grief: anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And the feeling of your heart rate rising rapidly when you are cornered, or when you know that you are going to die if you make the wrong decision in the heat of the moment - is something truly wonderful. Only a few games can give you that sort of feeling, and Escape from Tarkov is one of them.
If you can't stand losing the stuff that you've worked for, and you want some casual experience, where you can run-and-gun recklessly, at no cost whatsoever, you should not touch this title. It's a little for big boys only, for those who see BF and COD as way too casual.
The difference in gameplay
Just for the sake of argument, we will describe a couple of scenarios coming from different games. We do this only to show you how certain games can make you feel.
Let's take a look at Battlefield 1, classic conquest map. You and your squad spawn on one side of the map with the task to take over points and hold them, pushing and pulling the line of defense until your opponents lose their credits, so you can win the game. There are constant waves of players, some charge in head-on, some prefer the sneaky way and get behind their enemies, bullets are flying everywhere, it's overall chaos. Then the tank shows up, and it's your priority to take it down to prevent an absolute wipeout. You mark the tank, so everyone sees it. You get air support. Some players are throwing anti-vehicle grenades, scouts are moving in with demo-charges. You destroy the tank, move in with your tank, you take the point, and you proceed to the next one. Enemies will sneak up on your points from behind, they will defend their zones, and they will try to sneak in a capture that is too far away from you to react. Rinse and repeat. While there is a lot of team play involved in Battlefield games, you rarely feel like you contribute much, unless you are a tank or plane player.
Now let's look at Escape from Tarkov. You spawn on a huge map, and you are free to do as you please. You want to get some valuable stuff, so you pick a weapon that will be decent enough to kill someone fast, but not worthy enough, that you choke every time that you can lose that item. So you hop in, and you start moving carefully into the center of the map. A few minutes in you hear shots, you decide to go with the flow and you move closer. You notice movement in the trees near one of the buildings. It's a player. You stalk him for some time trying to figure out where they are going. You don't have a long-range weapon, so you try to move in closer while staying undetected. You try to do everything to keep this man in your sight, so you know where you should move. You see him running into the building, so you move close to it, make sure you are concealed enough so nobody sees you, and you aim at the exit. Suddenly, this guy runs out, and you feed him some lead in his chest area. He drops down dead immediately. You run-up to the body all excited, seeing that this guy had some very valuable stuff on him. You loot the body, and you hear bullets hitting the pavement near you.
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You've been spotted, so you run inside the building. You hunker down in the corner, trying to listen for incoming enemies. You hear footsteps closing in near the entrance, sounds like 3 men, so you jump out of the window on the other side and run to the hills. You know that you've got all of this loot and you don't want to lose it. You try to locate the nearest extraction point, and you know that your enemies are right behind you. As you step into the woods you get shot in the leg. You are bleeding, you have to patch yourself up, you move slower, and you can't spring because your leg can get much worse. You make a split-second decision to change your direction in the bushes. But you're not quick enough. Even if you make a sharp turn, hunters will catch up. As you disappear into the forest, you lay on the ground behind a tree, praying that they will just run past you. As you close your eyes, you can hear three sets of footsteps, they get louder and louder, and then they fade away.
You want to fix your leg, but you are not safe yet, so you go back to one of the buildings to bandage yourself. You swallow a couple of painkillers and apply a splint. You are more careful than ever, the next few shots can kill you, and you will lose not only your newly acquired gear but the gear that you spawned with as well. So you play it as sneakily as possible, you exit the town, and you try to locate the safest route to the nearest extraction point. From now on, you are getting paranoid. Every sound in the forest can sound like someone walking on branches, and you don't know what awaits on the road in front of you. A few unfortunate decisions can lead you straight to your death, and maybe you will reach the extraction point without being engaged on in a firefight. Maybe.
It's just a few steps left, a couple of yards, and you'll be away with your loot safe in the hideout. Nothing breaks the silence except for your nervous breath. You made it. Once again, you cheated Death, the Goddess of Fortune, and a few deities more. Suddenly a single shot is fired. The bullet penetrates through the skull, and the dead body falls to the ground. The adventure has come to an end.
But not for you. It was just some poor bastard right next to you. Lady Luck is smiling as you remain unseen. Extract. Save. Turn off the computer. The next portion of thrills the very same day will give you a heart attack.
Great (but still incomplete) content
Escape from Tarkov offers this whole package of possibilities, advanced mechanics, gear customization, and exploring. But it's not yet complete. This game was announced as a free-roam online FPS, that would be very similar to DayZ, but instead Zombies, it would be based on some military conflict, where enemy players and AI-controlled military units can kill you. Offering you quite a large map to explore, lots of immersive locations to loot, and lots of breathtaking encounters in the open world, when PvP plays out without consent.
This description seems like the perfect online survival game. The good news is, is that it's coming, and this amazing game will show up on our SSDs in the future. The bad news - we will have to wait for some time for that to happen. Because currently - this game is based around a few maps that you can access. These maps are still being created. The entire pack is going to be somewhat expanded and connected. For now, you are free to join any of the available maps, to essentially enter gunfights against other players and AI Scavs on big and diverse arenas. All arenas are big enough that they seem like extensive playgrounds, like maps of their own. In general, each map is a size of a few of Battlefield maps together. And in the future, we will have a giant map with lots of diverse locations to explore.
Thankfully, Escape from Tarkov received a better early access treatment than DayZ Standalone (which was stuck in early access alpha for a very long time). The game has an honest and believable roadmap, the devs are working hard on improving the entire experience, the game is in its beta state currently, and it's very stable. There's a long way to go before this game becomes complete, as there are lots of things that will be either added or improved. However, you can purchase this game right now, at this moment, and you will receive a lot of joy by playing this game, even in its current state. Especially if you enjoy previously mentioned games, like DayZ, Arma, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
Immersion and gunplay
Imagine this. You are a soldier in a very dangerous warzone. A one that was abandoned by civils, where every building is crumbling, moss is starting to build up on them slowly. Every place is abandoned, but you know that the area you're in is swarmed by people just like you. Looking for some good firefight, with a strong will to survive, and not willing to lose precious gear that they've worked so hard for. You even customized it with different weapon-parts as well. You can hunt for enemy players all the time, but you have that thought in the back of the head, that you can be someone else's prey at the same time. Not a single step is safe enough for you to move around the map freely, and you have to take the tactical approach to everything. Showing yourself in the open can be the last mistake that you can make with the gear that you have on you at that exact moment.
Gunplay is realistic and satisfying. Guns have absolutely amazing sounds, whether they are silenced or not. Your character will operate various types of weapons depending on their skill set, and since your leveling is based around progression and actually using your skills, the longer you hold onto your sniper rifle, the more familiar this type of weapons will become to you. You will use it more efficiently, and it will make your day much easier. With the number of attachments available in the game, you can, in theory, create your own weapon that will be somewhat unique. It's ultra-rare to find another player with the very same copy of your gun, as long you customized it to some degree.
EFT can take you above and beyond when it comes to immersion. The atmosphere that just the locations create is genuinely incredible. Combine it with foggy or rainy weather, and you've got yourself a pretty haunting experience, as players become less and less visible, that's when the sound coming from players is extremely important. Hearing footsteps coming from one of the buildings near you can send down some major chills down your spine. On the other hand, there's rainy weather, which makes it more forgiving for you to make some sound around you, whether it's weapon usage or simple footsteps. Due to the constant sound of water drops hitting the pavement, it's much harder to pinpoint the exact direction of incoming shots, some player sounds will be tough to hear, and your vision will be your best friend.
Not your casual fast-paced FPS
Your character is not the terminator, or a soldier from whom you would expect, to answer to the duty calls. You're controlling a fragile and human, pixelated, but a human being nevertheless. Each part of your body has a separate "health-bar," each one can be damaged, turning your very useful limbs into a significant inconvenience. You ruin your leg too much by receiving some major shots to your leg area? If you don't have a splint, you will have to loot it from dead bodies, or you will have to limp slowly towards the extraction point to survive.
You have to take care of your character, not only when it comes to gear, body parts, or health. You also have to manage the energy that your character receives through food and water. Getting dehydrated in a world of Escape from Tarkov is a big no-no. Throughout the game, being dehydrated will result in disabling some limbs and making you less effective in combat, movement, even in using items and opening containers, eventually leading to death.
Your character can bleed; they can receive a Contusion effect that dramatically reduces vision. Being in Pain will do that as well. Are you stunned from a certain grenade? Prepare to hear constant tinnitus-like ringing in your ears for the next 10 minutes. Everything adds up, making the player pretty much mortal and fragile. Everything adds up to create a very realistic experience, so each and every one of you can feel the tension of being shot at, being desperate for survival, and a pure terror of knowing that your vision is incomplete, your eyes are ringing. You just got shot in the leg so you can't run, and most likely, you will have to stand up and fight to get out of the firefight alive. It's an experience that is unique to survival loot shooters like Escape from Tarkov, and when you go EFT, you will never go back to your casual children's playgrounds. You will stay with real men who love to play dangerously.
In Escape from Tarkov, you will have to take things slowly. It is why players that are transferring from Arma, R6 Siege, or DayZ have it easy, while players from games like Apex Legends, CoD, or Battlefield will have to change their mindset to transition into this game properly. Of course, you can take things a little bit faster, and run around like an absolute 360 no scope madlad you are, but don't come crying to game forums, to post how much this game sucks because you got spotted and killed in a few shots out of nowhere.
EFT is all about smart movement, tactical gameplay, and well-placed shots in quick bursts. Especially when you are all alone, lone-wolfing on one of the maps, when you are not locked in close-quarters, is a hazardous thing. In theory, people can observe your movements and line up their shots when you are not expecting it, which makes it essential to stop only when needed and in the best case scenario - when you are protected from all sides. However, maps contain a lot of players, that will ruin your plans of keeping yourself safe.
Losing hours of progress
Nobody wants to get robbed of items, especially if they've worked for them for hours on end. Unfortunately, hardcore games (and hardcore game modes in some games) are like that, and you have to deal with it. Some games call it hardcore, some call it Ironman Mode. But the outcome is the same. You can spend a lot of time perfecting your gear, getting the best attachments, killing players in every possible encounter. But it takes a single moment, like you making a mistake, making too much noise, or even your enemy just stumbling on you out of pure coincidence, and you will lose every item, and every attachment, every weapon you have on you. Literally everything but your skills on a character. It creates an interesting dynamic, where even the weakest player can kill you and take your gear, granted they are lucky enough to get behind you, never even expecting that you are going to be there. Which means that you can be that guy with low-tier gear as well, get a jump on a player with top-tier gear, and get everything. But that's not the end, as you can still lose the newly acquired gear before you can extract it.
It's one of the things that shapes Escape from Tarkov in what it is. You can start on any map as an underdog, with weak weapons and attachments, weaker body armor, less utility items that will keep you in shape, and you can get a lot of items for a very little investment. You're literally going in investing close to nothing, and come out victorious with top-tier gear. However, your battle prowess is really weak, and if you were to stumble upon your enemy in a direct firefight, your chances of survival are pretty low. Take two players with the same skill - the winner of this firefight will be decided by who has better gear, or who saw the other one first. On the other hand, when you are going in with some proper equipment, you can gain the upper hand in a lot of encounters.
But the idea of losing your items still lingers. It's present, and it always will be. Is it a fun mechanic? Not really, no one likes to be brought right to the start after they've finished the race. But it's necessary. It is the EFT's way to show you the actual value of tactical gameplay, where survival is the most important thing. You can beat players all you want all over the map, you can be amazing at FPS and you can have insane reactions. If you can't move properly, and you don't pay attention to your surroundings and your statuses - you will never be successful in Escape from Tarkov. If mechanics based on losing progress when you die, like on a special mode in Diablo 3, or in Ironman OSRS make you angry, this game is not for you. It's a widespread occurrence in EFT. You can acquire some good stuff very quickly, but losing it is a matter of a few bad moments. And your decisions won't always matter, as you can just get jumped on out of nowhere. You can reduce the chances of that scenario happening by playing stealthily, by focusing on survival and picking your fights, but you can never nullify them.
So is Escape from Tarkov worth it?
It depends on how you respond to the game that you are playing. If you like fast action and the spectacle, you should play Titanfall, or Call of Duty. If you want to feel like an absolute powerhouse, brutally killing enemies left and right - stay with Doom. If you enjoy some slower gameplay tactical gameplay with your squad, doing military missions if a world of military pseudo-realism - play some Arma. And if you like to be cautious at all times, you wish to focus on the gameplay, you like the struggle of trying to survive in a hostile environment, and you want to feel like your every action can bring inevitable consequences - Escape From Tarkov is absolutely for you.
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There's only a handful of games, that are powerful enough to make you more cautious and self-aware. TTK is small, guns have a huge recoil, and you have to learn them to be successful with them, you will always be watching your back, you'll be moving carefully, trying not to produce much sound, and you will do everything to keep yourself safe at all times. And in the end, even that might not be enough. You can be surrounded by 5 players, not even knowing about it. So basically, your skill is a huge factor, but you can't go flawlessly without a lot of luck.
It's also a fantastic game that you can play with your squad. Take 4 of your most loyal friends with you and cover your backs. Escape from Tarkov is a perfect game for squad play, it makes you feel like a squad of soldiers who try to escape the most hostile environment. It's an entirely different experience depending on your style of play. You can be a lone wolf who stalks people and kills them to get the best outcome. You can be a scavenger, and search for bodies, or stalk people, waiting for them to win/lose a firefight, and you finish off the one who survived. Or you can try to be an aggressive raid boss, but after visiting Escape from Tarkov for a couple of hours, you will know that this is not viable.
Escape from Tarkov is an excellent game. However, due to its nature and mechanics, this title will never spike in popularity, it will most likely always stay in its niche, similarly to Arma and DayZ - games that were a huge inspiration for creators of EFT. But for those looking for something beyond mindless run-and-gun, looking for real emotions of hopelessness, desperation, and in the end - ultimate satisfaction. Escape from Tarkov is a good title at this very moment, and there is plenty of additional content to wait for. Buy EFT right now, and you will never want to escape Tarkov.
When will Escape From Tarkov escape Beta?
It's tough to specify the time. There are still a lot of things that can or have to be added to increase the amount of fun that hardcore fps veterans can get out of this game. In theory, it shouldn't take longer than it took DayZ to escape alpha. But you never know, EFT can escape beta in a year, two, maybe three, but we are pretty sure that you will get to play the full release somewhere in 2022.
Is Tarkov worth its price?
Judging by the updates, in our opinion, Tarkov is worth its price, and if you know that you want to play it, you should purchase it before the price increases (which is possible). Look at DayZ Standalone, it released as a buggy mess, updates made things worse, and then after a certain point, it became the best survival shooter, and it still is. EFT has a lot of potential to do even better.