Escape From Tarkov’s v0.8 trailer teases harrowing close-quarters combat

Yes, that is a fortified Ikea

While hardcore multiplayer shooters aren’t normally my thing, I find myself dipping a toe into Escape From Tarkov‘s pre-order beta once a week or so. It’s a STALKER-inspired (minus the supernatural bits) hybrid PvP/PvE combat sandbox where teams of mercenaries scour an abandoned city for resources as they clash with both NPC gangs and each other. The main draw for me is how intensely violent the gunplay feels, and the trailer for the next major patch looks to take that to new levels.

Developers Battlestate Games were kind enough to give me press access to the game some time ago. Having just finished an article on STALKER’s mod scene when they did, it was easy to draw comparisons between Tarkov and the more simulationist mods such as MISERY. While the full version of the game promises a PvE-focused story mode where you must work your way through the titular city in search of a way out, the current public beta is a purely PvP sandbox of murder and looting, which makes it great for streamers and groups of players, but not really advisable for solo, casual play.

Combat plays out very similarly to STALKER, albeit with a significantly more realistic damage model. If someone strafes your legs with SMG fire, you’re going to have to plug those holes and splint up any broken bones if you plan on doing anything more than crawling home on your belly. That said, it also means that nobody is invulnerable, no matter how expensive their gear. See, here’s the big twist: If you die in Tarkov, your entire inventory is up for grabs save for a small, special case that persists between lives.

The best way to take advantage of this easy-come, easy-go system is the option to spawn into battle as one of the roaming NPC scavengers. You’ll not have anything better than a pump shotgun, but that’s enough to kill someone if you sneak up on them. All you’ve got to do is loot the body and hoof it out of the combat zone and you get to add the ill-gotten goods to your personal stash, either to use in later sorties or to trade in for gear better suited to your personal playstyle.

Escape From Tarkov

The next update, which you can see in the trailer above and will be hitting servers soon, adds the dense, urban Interchange map, which looks to be a complex warren of potentially lethal environments (including an Ikea store), but also brings the promise of good loot within the map itself. There’s plenty of new guns coming in the update, plus more ways to modify your existing gear (if your gun has a tactical rail mount on it, there’s probably 20 different things to attach to it), and some exciting new gear like super-heavy helmets that can absorb direct headshots if you can stomach the disconcerting spiderweb cracks spreading across your field of view.

If you want access to the current beta build of the game, you can pre-order Escape From Tarkov direct from the developer’s site for 34.99€, although I would personally recommend against it at present unless you’ve got a good crew ready to roll with you. That said, I’m definitely going to be keeping a close eye on this one – even though it falls outside of my regular wheelhouse, it’s an oddly compelling experience, even in this early state.

27 Comments

Top comments

  1. Dominic Tarason says:

    The v0.8 update is apparently due to be rolling out in the next few hours. Apparently graphical and network optimizations are part of the patch notes, and as mentioned, the FoV issue is long since fixed, so you folks with silly ultra-wide monitors can play as normal.

    The game is steadily improving, although its high-stakes, inherently hardcore nature means it has niche appeal. That said, I'd rather play this than most Battle Royale shooters - there's something notable feeling here about scoring even a single kill and getting away with it.
  1. fragmonkey says:

    I would play this game if it would support modern resolutions. The FOV is narrow enough on 16:9, but is absolutely atrocious on 21:9 ultrawide resolutions. This has been brought up with the dev and he basically said deal with it, as he has no plans to support 21:9 resolutions. When pressed, he even brought up the silly argument of competitive advantage that 21:9 may have over 16:9, which I’m sure all reasonable people agree is total nonsense.

    No money from me

    • Elusiv3Pastry says:

      Thanks for mentioning this, I’ve been thinking of grabbing this for a bit but that makes it a hard NOPE for me as well.

      • BlankedyBlank says:

        I was also moderately keeping an eye on this, until… well, just a minute ago actually.

        Thanks for the heads up.

    • anon459 says:

      That is unfortunate. I thought we settled this silly FoV argument years ago… Guess I’ll have to wait for a Steam release so I can can refund if the game doesn’t support my hardware.

    • Twisted89 says:

      This was fixed a while ago, I can play just fine on 21:9 and there’s an FOV slider in settings.

  2. A.- says:

    Oh tarkov…
    Youtube is peppered with exciting although quite geeky-militaristic videos of really quite visceral battles in the game. The maps seem incredible, the minimalistic interface refreshing, the ai adequate and somehow even the griefing prone online fps experience seems to fit in.
    But this is on youtube. In reality the game is almost unplayable for a very large amount of people (check out their forums or reddit) with fps being under 20 on monstrous rigs (nvidia cards seem to suffer most) and the devs being not just unsupportive but downright rude (why is this always a thing with milsim/sim/realistic games btw?). There is no refunding and there is a number of systems implemented that imply a future (and partly already in present) of loot boxes and microtransactions.There is also absolutely incredible lag when the game is playable.
    If you really do want to try it out go the amazon pay way – it seems that you have perhaps about 12 hours to cancel the transaction before its processed.
    I would hold out till later if you really want to go down this toxic hole.

    • DeepFried says:

      To be fair its in beta (frankly i’d call it an alpha as its not feature complete or optimised) and they are making significant improvements to performance in patches as the beta goes on. Right now the game feels a little sluggish to me and I’ve got it on just a bit under ultra settings, but its totally playable. (this is on a 1080gtx).

      The bigger issue is that your tick is bizarrely linked to your FPS, meaning if you have a low FPS some shots may not register.

      Another big issue is that the server stops updating your client when you stop moving, resulting in a ‘peekers advantage’ i.e. if you’re not moving you’re getting latency on seeing another player but if they’re moving they wont have that latency.

      • A.- says:

        Always a good sign when the game is “playable” on 1080gtx :) I’m on 1060 here and no changes to any settings have managed to lift the fps above 18-20. And then on the forums i found out this to be a very common problem and complaint along with people asking for a refund that seems to have only a “let this be a lesson to you, noob”. I wish no ill to the game or developers, but if there was a lesson not to to access early – that’s the one.

  3. Avus says:

    Does this game has PvE?

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      The final game will. Right now it’s PvP-only with neutral NPCs wandering around, and sometimes those NPCs are human players in disguise.

      • sp0q says:

        That’s not quite correct – the NPCs (SCAVs) are neutral only when the player comes in as a SCAV. When you play as a PMC (main character) the NPCs will shoot you on sight.

      • DeepFried says:

        The opposite actually, there is PvE right now in an ‘offline’ mode, but that is for the beta test only and will be removed from the final game.

    • Pieclone says:

      There’s offline PvE for practice and there will in the future be offline Team PvE as well.

      • sp0q says:

        It’s worth noting that those are not supposed to end up in the final version of the game as far as I remember.

        • Pieclone says:

          Both are confirmed as being in the final edition of the game by Nikita himself.

    • Cloak says:

      No, you cannot progress or pass a level because dev’s said it would be unrealistic to have such a thing in the game. So tactically NO.

  4. the_fanciest_of_pants says:

    Strange that there’s so much negativity in here, I’ve had an absolute blast in Tarkov and would highly highly recommend it to anyone who likes Stalker, DayZ, or even Battle Royale games.

    The mix of permadeath and super deadly tactical shooting with a persistent stash outside the game and the frankly incredible depth of weapon customization really makes this a really unique game.

    Definitely not perfect, but it’s been improved and expanded at a steady pace.

    • Artist says:

      Whats strange about it? That not everybody shares your opinion or experience?
      Strange.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      So much negativity? There’s 2 negative comments. One complaining (rightly or wrongly) about the FOV options, and one complaining about performance issues and lag.

    • DeepFried says:

      My experience is the RPS crowd are mostly single player gamers, and they may have liked stalker so will naturally be a little salty that Tarkov the spiritual successor is PvP.

  5. Dominic Tarason says:

    The v0.8 update is apparently due to be rolling out in the next few hours. Apparently graphical and network optimizations are part of the patch notes, and as mentioned, the FoV issue is long since fixed, so you folks with silly ultra-wide monitors can play as normal.

    The game is steadily improving, although its high-stakes, inherently hardcore nature means it has niche appeal. That said, I’d rather play this than most Battle Royale shooters – there’s something notable feeling here about scoring even a single kill and getting away with it.

  6. Masterlitchuk says:

    Oh, and it’s Not 35.99 it’s over £50 when you add the tax and extra for paying with a credit card. Now, this I find that a joke and a rip-off! No other early access game has ever tried to rush me both tax and then extra to pay!

    Give me the real price not the sort of price and it’s a nope at £50+ UK pounds!!!

    • DeepFried says:

      I hope its just a beta access price tag, i.e. they want smaller player numbers for testing and are keeping the numbers low by having the price high. Otherwise its going to struggle to get anywhere on launch I think.

  7. Blacksilver65 says:

    Everytime I try this game I find myself thinking it would be a lot more than if I could just play Team Deathmatch with some friends. Tried to play 5 or 6 times but everytime I do its just a buggy boring mess. Maybe one it’s done it will be more fun, but I have been unable to have fun anytime I’ve tried this game. Most exciting moment I had was finding a squad that was geared to the teeth, only to be ruined by the fact that they were completely frozen and couldn’t shoot or be killed. The only map I’ve encountered what I think might be other players is the factory map. I would personally recommend avoiding this game till it’s done. I think it could benefit from a team deathmatch mode where you could at least be guaranteed some action on the awesome maps for now.

  8. cniinc says:

    You know, I’d love to play this as a taught, 6v6 game with a handful of friends in a CS-style closed world. I love the idea of hyperrealism in gunfights in an abandoned mall, but hate the idea that realistically I’ll be going it alone against a bunch of 12 year olds that have tons of time and will probably teamkill me for my gear in the first 10 seconds.

  9. Cloak says:

    Meh, this game a total let down and a waste of money. It’s empty, boring and repetitive. Nothing innovate or entertaining at all about it. Hunt:Showdown probably would have been a better investment seeing its the same concept but at least it has some interesting enemies and incentives. But personally I don’t like whole Hunger game experience rush everywhere experince. Maybe if I had ADHD I would but I don’t which sadly leaves me not liking many games now and days cause I like to saver my experience in memory from either a good story line or just pure entertainment and fun. EFT is none of those. Anyways, anyone still playing Stalker? Good, cause your not missing anything here.