Escape From Tarkov
My friend and I had originally been against four Russian BEAR operators, but we’d whittled that number down to two. We were playing as Western USEC mercenaries, which stood for United Security, a sort of Blackwater outfit on steroids. Since we’d wanted to try out the new Escape From Tarkov closed beta map, Shoreline, we’d hopped into a raid.
The first thing we noticed about EFT’s new Shoreline map is that it’s pretty big—certainly larger than the handful of maps already available. It also featured a nice mix of rugged countryside and industrial areas. We’d utilized the more open rural zones to our advantage, taking out our first two enemies since we had some pretty advanced scopes on our rifles. But when one of the remaining BEARS began firing at our position with a light machinegun AKA LMG, we had to get the hell out of dodge.
We successfully infiltrated a large warehouse in a nearby industrial zone after killing a couple of SKAVs (basically desperate Russian citizens armed with whatever they could get their mitts on). Then we spotted our two remaining BEAR foes entering into the same area before quickly disappearing from view. They were heading directly for our building.
“Let’s ambush them,” my battle buddy said.
We immediately holed up in a small office room on the second floor of the warehouse, and waited. Using EFT’s brilliant sound design, we lay in wait and listened. It didn’t take long for us to hear the telltale sound of boots clomping on the stairwell leading up to the second level. We positioned ourselves on either side of the sole door which led into our room, but were careful to do so in a way which would prevent crossfire.
The creaking sound of our adversaries’ steps ended in front of our door. Instead of smashing the door in with a boot stomp, the BEARs took the more cautious approach of gently sliding the door open. Because there were a couple of tall pieces of office equipment flanking each side of the door, we wouldn’t be able to see our enemies until they moved further into the office.
The lead BEAR must have gone into silent step mode because I couldn’t hear him—I could only see the barrel of his rifle as he furtively moved into the office room. I was just preparing to fire when I suddenly saw him back out of the room.
“Let’s rush them when they continue back down the hallway,” I said to my comrade.
Just as I was saying “comrade,” I heard something metallic hit the floor. Looking down, we both spied a live grenade not too far from our positions. It seemed as though our Russian friends had outwitted us.
As you can probably tell, this description of one of my recent EFT games almost reads like a movie. Indeed, each game plays out like one. EFT was designed to be a cinematic, free-roaming experience, even if you as the main character die quite often.
You see, EFT is a return to the classic hardcore shooter games of yore. The ones that have given way to the more arcade-y shooters as of late. Much like the original Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six titles, it’s a game that rewards careful planning and cunning tactics over brute force and who has the biggest guns.
EFT’s developers, Battestate Games, recently offered select folks access to their closed beta of the game. One of the most important aspects of the beta is that it is much more optimized than their previous alpha build. That means that most of the desync issues that plagued the game in the past have been taken care of.
The closed beta also features:
- The first part of the largest game location—Shoreline
- Reworked the balance of existing locations, in addition to new spots to explore
- More useful items, medicines, and equipment
- Advanced arsenal of weapons and weapon modifications
- Balanced the economy and insurance system
- Added general chat to search for info or raid companions
Personally, one of the key draws of EFT is the amount of weapon customization available. You can literally kit each assault rifle, LMG, SMG, shotgun, sniper rifle, or pistol out with so many accessories that it’ll make even the most ardent gun nut’s head swirl. Battlestate also announced that they’ll be incorporating a hideout system where players can plan their strategies (and hopefully trade weapons and equipment) before each match begins.
I also noticed a new insurance system. Before a match, you can insure either individual pieces, or all of your weapons and gear, so that if you die during that session there is a chance that you’ll get them back. This is an excellent addition, and can lighten the sting of losing your stuff after going down on the battlefield.
As it stands, Escape From Tarkov is shaping up to be an impressive combination of a MMO, hardcore shooter, and RPG all in one. There simply isn’t anything like it on the market, and combined with its unique weapon customization features and gritty, high stakes action, could make it one of the most standout shooters when it finally debuts.
Escape From Tarkov features outstanding graphics that make its hardcore shooter gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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