This Game is F*#%ing Terrifying: Escape from Tarkov [Review]


– Strap on those carpel tunnel bracers and grab the Mountain Dew, fellow gamers. Today we’re talking
about Escape from Tarkov. (relaxing music) What is up, guys? My name is John with Pewpewtactical.com, your definitive source for
gun reviews, gear guides, and all things that go
bang, even digitally. If you’ve been with us
for any length of time, it’s probably pretty obvious by now that we are a brand aimed at a demographic that looks a lot like us, being in the younger 20
to 30-something crowd, and for the firearms industry,
that’s a little bit rare. It’s also probably fair to suspect that those us from the
generation that ruined everything with avocado toast probably
first developed an interest in firearms through video games, be that GoldenEye 64, the
Battlefield franchise, the early call of Duty games. Take your pick. But when was the last time
that you actually felt that early childhood sense of magic or that rush, the
butterflies in your stomach, that palpable sense of
fear while playing any kind of modern first-person shooter? Although this is obviously
a slight departure from our normal content on the channel, today we wanted to take
a little bit of time to introduce you to the
absolutely terrifying world of Escape from Tarkov. (gun firing) – [Player] God damn it. – [John] Tarkov is an
incredibly realistic, first-person shooter produced by a small Russian indie
studio named Battlestate Games, and I don’t think it can be understated just how stressful this game is. Rather than the dolphin
diving, ‘nade spamming, unlimited stamina clusterfucks
you’re going to find in more arcade-y first-person shooters, Tarkov really rewards
players who check corners, creep as silently as possible, know how to avoid
disadvantageous fire fights or pull off complex ambushes and maintain an overall sense
of situational awareness. (gun firing) – [Player] Dropped him. Hold, hold, hold
– Yep, holding. – So a little bit of setup. You’re playing as either a Russian or Western private military
contractor operating within the general Tarkov Economic Zone located within Russia. Due to some unspecified off-screen events, the entire region has gone to shit and is now overrun by
patrols of other PMCs, XSoft personnel, and local criminals who have taken to
looting whatever supplies may have been left behind in the wake of whatever disaster occurred there. Probably one of the main differences between Tarkov and the sea of
other first-person shooters out there is that there are
actual consequences for dying. Essentially your goal on your main PMC is to raid an individual
area, kill other players for their gear, loot any
valuables you might find and hit a randomized but predetermined extraction
point successfully. If you’re killed during the raid, you’re going to lose every
piece of kit on your person, which considering how
often you probably die in a standard first-person shooter, is a bit of a big deal. As you might imagine,
losing your kit and guns sets back your ability to operate in a future raid successfully quite a bit, and you’ll obviously want to avoid that. You can also play as one
of the criminal scavengers that plague the Tarkov region, and the game will spawn
you with some randomized but appropriately shit-ball gear. Playing as a scavenger is
a great way to farm gear with relatively little to lose. As if you make it out alive, you get to transfer
everything you’ve looted back to your main PMC. So if your entire kit locker gets wiped on your main character because you suck, you’ll always have a
way to get re-equipped. The end result here is tension, tension that I personally
have not experienced in any other first-person shooter, tension that’s going
to make us second guess every single move that you’re making because the penalties for making
wrong moves are so severe. At times, the game feels
more like a horror title than a first-person shooter, and a huge part of that is due to the incredible sound design. This is a game that absolutely
requires headphones to play as picking up on audio
cues is often your best way of assessing nearby threats. (footsteps approaching) (gun firing) Every type of movement produces sound, from low crawling to creeping in a crouch to the thunderous thunk of footsteps created while sprinting. Walking through brush creates
the distinctive rustling noise of branches scraping on nylon. Taking your mag out to
check your ammo count has a unique click to it. Even raising your gun to
aim down your sight or optic creates a small amount of noise, and you’d better learn real quick how to identify those noises and the direction they came from because it’s almost a guarantee that other players have and are. The game’s atmospheric
noises are dense, as well. The wind rustling through trees, the ambient, vague industrial noises found inside a rotted and rusting factory, the blaring alarms of a
bay door being opened. (gun firing) – [Player] Dropped him. (siren blaring) – [John] All of these things
obscure and mask sound and can be used to your advantage if you know what you’re doing. My point being there are so many instances in this game where I’ve gotten
unintentionally jump scared while using sound to
stop players that were, in fact, listening to me, just waiting for me to round that corner. You’ll find yourself so
concentrated on moving covertly through an urban area and not stepping on loud-ass broken glass
only to hear a very loud and audible phrase mumbled in Russian by the game’s AI controlled scavengers. I guarantee if you take the
time to get into Tarkov, you will absolutely have your share of pulse-pounding surprises
that, in my opinion, you won’t find in any other franchise. Speaking of enemies, as I mentioned, there are computer controlled opponents that populate Tarkov, as well, and though the cunning of a human player is always going to be your biggest threat, the AI Scavs will definitely ruin your day if you’re clumsy. From start to finish, you actually need to be really switched
on about how you move through cover and concealment, the amount of time you spend
being distracted by looting and deciding whether it’s
time to bail and head for your extract or try and
grab a few more handfuls of gear at the risk of losing everything. – [Player] Gimme this GlOCL18, bitch. Why did you not have armor on? (character speaking foreign language) (gun firing)
– Whoa! (character speaking foreign language) (gun firing rapidly) Got him. – [Player] Ooh, are you all right? – I’m good.
– Yeah. – Given how much you all generally seem to enjoy shrieking about
what am the bestest cartridge or caliber into the void of the internet, I’d imagine you’re
probably gonna have a lot of fun geeking out on
Tarkov’s ammunition system as it’s pretty unique and
I haven’t really seen it replicated anywhere else. Long story short, you’ve got
a bunch of different calibers, and for every caliber in-game, you’re gonna have a bunch
of different cartridges, and those cartridges
essentially have to square up against different levels of
in-game threat protection. Different calibers are all going to have their one intrinsic damage and armor piercing properties, but as a general rule of thumb, ball ammunition is going
to be mostly worthless against anyone wearing decent armor, and the vast majority of
human players will be. Keep in mind Tarkov is a
game in which one or two taps to an un-armored chest will
definitely put your ass in the ground, and armor is
basically going to buy you a few extra seconds in a
face-to-face fire fight if you can keep it together and not panic. (gun firing) (gun firing rapidly) Armor piercing rounds are fantastic for destroying your enemy’s plates and punching through ballistic helmets, but they also do relatively
weaker damage to flesh than other cartridges and
are super pricey to boot. Combined with an in-game
economy that tends to limit the overall availability of top tier ammo and
you’re definitely going to have to make some decisions about whether going into a
raid with Gucci ammo and armor is worth it every time. The entire system creates a
really interesting play mechanic where you’re going to want to be conscious of what rounds you’re
loading into your magazines as you even have the
option of mixing your loads if you’re inclined to. Some folks will run something like 10 to 15 armor piercing rounds
at the top of the mag, followed by a series of
high damage hollow points with maybe the last five
rounds in the mag being tracers just to indicate that you’re running low. You can really go wild
with it if you’d like and do cool things like have
the point man in your squad run mags entirely full of
tracers if you so desire so that when you get into contact, the rest of your group immediately knows where to train their guns. Additionally, the damage
and trauma systems are pretty intricate, as well. Shot placement and ammo type will dictate whether you’re going to
start bleeding once hit, whether a round passing
through bone creates a fracture or whether your limbs have
sustained so much damage that you can’t accurately aim your rifle. You’ll absolutely want to carry
a host of medical supplies in your kit to deal with
any one of those situations as trying to limp your ass out of an otherwise successful
raid on a fractured leg is a great way to make sure that you don’t actually make it out. You’ll notice pretty quickly
that both positive target ID and effectively communicating in a fight are going to be crucial
and a bit difficult when you’re new. Memorizing the gear that
your teammates are wearing is going to mean that you don’t have to waste precious seconds verifying that you’re not looking at a friendly in the tense moments
right before a gunfight. Learning to be in more or
less constant communication with your team while
executing flanking maneuvers and keeping a mental note
of teammates’ positions in fields of fire are critical, as well, as there’s absolutely no mini map or anything of sort in-game. – [Player] Closing door. In.
– Okay. – [Player] Watchin’,
I’m watching that door. – [Player] Going to the right tight here. – Tarkov is, however, one of those games where rolling with the
same crew repeatedly will lead to moments where your squad just flows through areas. This sounds, admittedly, nerdy as hell, but there is a particular
sense of satisfaction derived from situations where
everyone is automatically pulling security towards a threat area while one person loots or you wind up pulling off
successful pinching maneuvers that catch enemy players on a flank. While the game can
certainly be played alone, it is both way more fun
and way less stressful with a familiar squad. And in a game as stressful as this one, anything that’s gonna bring
that heart rate down is welcome. (gun firing)
(man groaning) But where this game really
shines, in our opinion, is its insanely customizable
gun modification system. I think one of the first times I realized just how minute and specific this game’s gun modding system is came when I was looting
through a weapons crate and pulled out a first generation
SIG MPX Upper Receiver. This was reinforced a
little bit down the road when I tried to throw a
magnified optic on a gun only to find out that it was
mounted a bit too far forward, and my sight picture
was negatively impacted by simulated eye relief. Again, this is all insanely nerdy, but I’m a total sucker for details, and that is obviously a
microscopic level of detail. Realistically, a good portion of us are probably into firearms
on the nerdy-ass level that we are because they’re
basically adult Legos. It’s cool and fun as hell
to trick our your gat piece however you might please. And having the ability to build out a gun that you’ll likely never
be able to own in real life to be as practical or as
stupid as you could ever want is just a total blast. You’ll probably become a bit attached to whatever gun build you’ve got set up once you get through a few
raids successfully with it, which, in turn, in my experience at least, makes it that much more important that you don’t make
stupid mistakes and die. It’s legitimately kind of a bummer when you lose something
that you put some time and thought into building. – That guy.
(gun firing) – [Player] Dude, I got fuckin’ one path. – Conversely, it’s endlessly entertaining to deck out a gun with some
straight up idiot accessories and then actually wind up
killing people with it. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how practical it would
be to use any number of the dumb Bubba-ed out guns we post on Facebook constantly,
in an actual gunfight, this is about as close
as you’re going to get. Why, yes, I do think my
Obrez needs another PEQ-15 and a surpressor and a thermal
optic and six flashlights, but thank you for asking. (gun firing)
(man wailing) The game’s newest content
update has also brought with it a ridiculously large
amount of mundane items that you’ll need to
collect throughout raids to upgrade your character’s
base of operations as you’re living through some sort of non-specific apocalypse. We’ll spare you the details of this more RPG oriented mechanic, but let’s just say that
you’ll know your deeply hooked on Tarkov’s weird magic when
you find yourself excited for the chance to sit through
digital filing cabinets in the hope that you might
find corrugated hoses or a specific brand of
cigarettes within them. Now, that’s isn’t to
say that the game isn’t without its issues. Bugs are relatively common, some of them more game
breaking than others. Server de-syncs can happen
somewhat frequently, and the game has a
tendency to stutter frames in a way that will
absolutely get you killed if you’re in a critical
moment of a gunfight. For a game in which the
stakes of dying are so high, it’s definitely frustrating to get clapped for total bullshit reasons. But overall, it’s pretty damned impressive to see what a small studio
from Russia has built and continues to build with this game. And when the game works,
the payoff has led to some of the most wild
and memorable moments I can ever remember experiencing through entertainment in a digital medium. If you’ve made it this far, I’d absolutely recommend
checking the game out as you’ll probably get the
same sort of pulse-pounding, completely unapologetic
gun nerd satisfaction from it that I do. Overall, I’ll gladly take
an ambitious indie game with a good amount of issues but some legitimately
solid heart and character over the umpteenth iteration of Tom Clancy’s modern,
special ghost war cop any day. Again, this is a pretty big departure from our normal content,
but we’re never going to be a gaming channel. Don’t freak out, but it is
occasionally a little bit fun to take a break and do
a video on something that we’re actually just kinda stoked on. And we feel like if you’re like us at all, you’ll probably enjoy it, as well. If you guys have any sort of interest in us occasionally jumping outside of the normal gun and kit
reviews and stuff like that, let us know down below because we’re nerds about
plenty of other things, as well. All right, guys, that’s
gonna do it for us today. Thank you so much for watching. As always, if you enjoyed the content, please go ahead and
subscribe to the channel as we’ve got lots more weird
stuff on the way, maybe. My name is John with Pew Pew Tactical, and we’ll see you next time. (relaxing music)

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