We’ve all come across some games that seem to have a lot of promise because of what’s been portrayed to us via game trailers, screenshots, etc. You have this high expectation of what the game could potentially be but without concrete hands on experience you’re often left guessing as to what’s about to unfold. Escape from Tarkov is labeled as a hybrid FPS/MMO in which players can experience realistic scenarios where you’ll need to gather resources to level up your character, take part in quests to receive new items, but there’s also a raid system where you and a group of other players can take part in.
What to Expect
As this is a beta version, we can expect there to be a great deal of changes regarding the game, but at this very moment, we’re so confused as to how to actually play it because the beta doesn’t even have a tutorial. One of the great things about RPGs in general is how they provide players with a tutorial on how to play the game in the way that it should, but Escape from Tarkov’s current beta does none of that and so, even if you’re experienced with the genre you’re literally lost in the woods with no direction whatsoever. We’re not sure if they expected players to just learn by trial and error but if that be the case, we would kindly ask to rethink that strategy because for a game that seems to come with a lot of depth, we need to know how to properly play. We honestly don’t know what to expect from this game because quite frankly the beta version we have in our possession is so bare bones, that it doesn’t really feel like anything at all. Great, there’s a quest system and super realism, but how is one to truly enjoy a RPG experience when there’s really none of that at all to even dive into? There are so many elements missing to truly call this game a real hybrid. For example, where are the NPC characters? What type of role do the dealers have within the game? So much of the features in the current beta were locked such as the Handbook (which we assume is a tutorial so why even lock it?) along with the Flea Market among others. It’s really hard to explain the game in great detail when so many of the game’s features don’t provide a detailed description on how things are supposed to be used.
At the moment, Escape from Tarkov feels very bare bones and for that reason it makes playing the game very hard in the sense that you’re left scratching your head as to what you’re actually supposed to be doing on each stage. There are no set conditions for players to follow. You just simply load up weapons, ammo and other materials into your bag, choose your party (USEC or BEAR) and then hop right into a very open world with nothing there. We spent a good deal of our time just running around hopelessly with our gun in hand, with no true motive on our hands. We had no real missions to fulfill, no side quests to partake in or even other people to communicate with. The game at least to us feels nothing like a RPG or MMO experience because neither of those games true elements have been implemented correctly, or just don’t exist all together. It feels more like a survival game but even so, it lacks severely in that area as well because as you’re running around in this open environment there’s no ammo to retrieve, no health packs to pick up, it’s literally just you running around without a main goal.
We came into the game expecting to have a unique experience and left the game feeling robbed of our experience because truthfully, there wasn’t much to experience at all. We’ll certainly give the team a thumbs up for creating very detailed and lush environments that feel real and immersive, but all of that becomes null and void when there’s no action to even reel you in. The features of the game aren’t explained at all so you’re left guessing as to what needs to be completed, and when you eventually do run into someone at random you realize just how rigid the character animations are.
Escape from Tarkov puts you into a world where you feel like you actually can’t escape at all, at least from what we’ve experienced. What are the motives of a raid? Why do we lose all of our items when we die? If we insured our items prior to a raid how do we get them back? None of this is even explained to us which is a huge turnoff from the get go. With so many of the features locked it didn’t give us a great deal of options to work with and so we ask ourselves, “what is this game even about?”. Is there going to be a story mode implemented as promised? If that be the case why not give players a chance to perhaps play a part of the story to get a feel for it? It’s not that we’re annoyed with the game it’s more confusion than anything because there’s nothing to guide us around.
Furthermore, the game lacks one important aspect about a FPS and it’s that there’s no UI that tells us just how much ammo is left in the clip, or our health gauge to let us know just how little or how great our survival chances are. You’re only left with this small indicator on the bottom left corner of the screen that shows a stamina bar so when you run, you can see it deplete. Other than that there’s nothing else on the screen and again it’s just a very open world with no life to it. Until the team can somehow implement some sort of feature to better explain how to play, we really can’t go about recommending it to anyone at this moment. Yes of course, it’s a beta and it’s clear that features are meant to be left out for the purpose of testing, but it’s never good to leave out the features that are meant to help players better understand the purpose of the game. We had players to play with but even they too seemed a little lost as to what they were supposed to do, and that’s never a good sign. There’s certainly light in the tunnel but not enough to carry us all the way through.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
On that note, we were left empty handed in this beta and to be quite frank, it disappointed us. We were excited to hop in to experience something unique but instead we were bereft of all of that. If we were to go into some forum and ask how to play that’s perhaps the one thing you shouldn’t do, because truthfully we shouldn’t have to go outside of the game to learn about it. What’s the point of showing us options in a game when we can’t even test it out? It’s a beta so the very least the team could’ve done was just give us a snippet of each mode or again, provide some form of explanation so that when that said feature does go live we’re better prepared.
The game’s environments are highly detailed and beautiful.
Very little framerate issues even at the highest settings.
The game lacks severely in any sort of in game tutorial for players to learn the perks of the game.
Where’s the RPG element? MMO elements? None of that was experienced while playing.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We understand that from a game developer's perspective it does take a very long time to really prepare a package that can be shown to an audience. We’ve been there before because we too developed and designed games in the past. However there should be no excuse to leave players hanging and not provide the essential tools to help them understand the whole premise of the game. We hope that the team can fix up these issues and release a more fleshed out beta to play with, but until then we can only say that Escape from Tarkov lacks a lot of appeal really is bare bones.
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!