Welcome to Tarkov. A massive online PVP shooter and survival game. This game combines Minecraft, Call of Duty, and The Long Dark into one hyper-realistic online game. Released exclusively on the Windows OS by the developer Battlestate Games in mid-2017 Escape from Tarkov is the home to a lot of things. Zero HUD gameplay, realistic wounds, and hundreds of videos of people rage-quitting. All from intense frustration because this game’s default death setting is permadeath.
Escape from Tarkov Premise
Set in the modern day, the fictional Russian city of Tarkov is now a walled-off failed state in the Norvinsk Special Economic Zone in Northwestern Russia between the years 2015 and 2026. You will join up as a Private Military Contractor (PMC) in one of two corporations. The first is the United Security (USEC), a Western-based company, hired by a corporation known as TerraGroup to cover up some not-so-savory, aka, illegal operations in the area. The other option is to join up with BEAR, a private company created by the Russian Government to investigate the USEC and its activities. There is a third option which is to be a Scav. Basically, just a Tarkov local that you can use once every 20 minutes or so to play a risk-free round of the game.
Besides the general lore surrounding Escape from Tarkov, there isn’t much of a story. As the player, you must go on raids to collect weapons and supplies. On Tarkov’s face, there isn’t much different about the game from other MMO raiding games. Once you dive under the surface, you’ll see that Escape from Tarkov isn’t even in the same ballpark as other online shooters. It’s an entirely different sport.
First, this game is hyper-realistic. There is no HUD, no ammo counter (if you want to see what you have left in your magazine you’ll have to physically remove the magazine from your weapon), and all wounds affect your player’s body in realistic ways. If you get shot in the stomach, your character will bleed out and you can’t move normally until you patch it and take painkillers. I you die during a raid, you will lose any and all equipment, resources gathered during your raid, and you respawn with nothing. Your movement is fine tuned to running and walking speeds, crouch and prone height, and even how fast you reload. This game is not for the faint of heart or anyone looking to have a casual gaming session.
Escape From Tarkov Main Characters
Because Escape from Tarkov is an MMO, there aren’t exactly characters, at least not in the traditional sense. A better way to think about Tarkov’s characters is as the various factors you can as and fight against.
United Security (USEC) – A Western security force backed by NATO. All starting weapons, armor, and equipment will look and be based on traditional Western fighting tools.
BEAR – As the Russian counterpart the start weapons, armor, and equipment will look and feel very Soviet in nature. Think AK-47s and old-school Soviet green flak jackets.
SCAVs – These are the local Tarkov citizens that you can play as at times and other times be fighting. Their starting equipment will be decades-old weapons and plain civilian clothes. Think Adidas tracksuits and running shoes.
Other Escape from Tarkov Games in the Series
Battlestate Games has made no other games. Only Escape from Tarkov has been developed and published. Instead, a little bit of the history of this game is going to be far more interesting. Tarkov started development in 2012 by lead developer Nikita Buyanov. Buyanov and his team started out by working on a game called Contact Wars. After gaining enough experience they set out to start building out Tarkov.
Buyanov even consulted with former Russian Spetsnaz members to get everything just right. The level of detail even goes down to the different sounds used in the game. Buyanov and his team shot all the guns in real-world environments. All to get the soundtracks as close as humanly possible to the real world. By 2020, this game had such a large community base that a series of crackdowns began, solely on cheaters and the real-world trading of money (the practice of trading in-game currency for real-world currency).
At the time of writing Escape from Tarkov has a little over 64,000 players. This number will change every time you sign in simply depending on the number of players currently online.
Escape from Tarkov Cheat Codes
Because Escape from Tarkov is an MMO only on PC, there are tons of options for cheats and cheating. Aimbots, auto-movers, and glitches that give you better equipment or unlimited resources exist. However, before you go out trying to mod your game let this story serve as an important warning. From February 2023 to March 2023 Battlestate Games made it their mission to ban and dox all cheaters. They posted this tweet on their official Twitter.
We recommend you don’t cheat in this game. While there aren’t direct cheats in Escape from Tarkov, here is a collection of strategies that might make the difference between life and death during your raids.
Resource farm as a Scav
In Tarkov, once every twenty minutes or so, you can go on a raid as a Scav rather than your normal loadout. You can still fight and collect as many resources as possible during the round but if you die you don’t lose anything you started with or went out into the field as. Sometimes you’ll spawn with better resources than you have in your base and it is simple as running to an extraction point at the start and keeping that sweet loot.
Organize, Organize, and Organize Again
Because Tarkov is hyper-realistic if you have resources in your backpack then you’ll have to stop in-game, open your inventory menu and take anything out of your backpack to use it. You will have limited space for everything, and weight will affect player movement. It will depend on your playstyle and loadout, but before you go into a raid or at your spawn point, get everything organized and ready to go. Are your magazines loaded? Do you have what you need for water, medical supplies, and explosives? Is the most important gear in your vest, pockets, or backpack? Every second counts in a firefight. Have a plan and then have a backup plan and know where everything is in your loadout.
Learn the Maps
There is no HUD or mini-map in Escape from Tarkov. You can’t just run around aimlessly and use a little dial on the bottom of your screen to guide you. Other players in the community have made maps for every map in the game and other players have spent time studying where things are. Learn these and learn these fast. Knowing where you are in-game can help you avoid or set traps, remember fast escape paths from unwinnable fights, and where extraction points are.
Invest in your Headset
With no mini-map or HUD in Tarkov, you will be heavily reliant on your hearing. Footsteps, gunshots, grenades, and even dropped shell casings make a sound in-game. The developers designed it this way based on real military experience. Your hearing is everything during a round of Tarkov so if your opponents have better headphones than you, then they’ll be hearing what you’re missing.
Escape from Tarkov FAQ
Is Tarkov coming to PS5?
The short answer is no, there is no official announcement that Tarkov will be on any other platform than PC. If you are so inclined or just prefer to play with a console controller, you can always custom-map the Tarkov controls to whatever controller you like.
Is Tarkov hard to play?
Yes, whole-heartedly yes, Escape from Tarkov is an insanely hard game to play. It is complex, at times confusing, and is designed to weed out the weak and uncommitted.
How much cheating is in Tarkov?
Unfortunately, there is a lot of cheating in Tarkov, hence why the devs put out a hit list of cheaters. One user reported over 60% of players are cheating in some kind of way. Battlestate Games claims that they ban thousands of accounts a day but have to balance how and when they ban users out so as to not give away how they know they are cheating. While this may feel like you should join the crowd and cheat as well, the only reward you will get is a lifetime ban from the game and your username on the wall of shame for all to see.