This is both a dig at EA Games the company, and a spotlight on excellent Early Access Games done very well which deserve our support.
I’m finding more and more that I’m enjoying games in early access over triple A games, especially EA games who are notorious for releasing broken games and then fixing them at a later date.
Which is disappointing as one of my most anticipated games for this year is EA’s Anthem, a brilliant take on a shooter / light mmo (massively multiplayer online game) where you are an elite pilot of a mech suit called a Javelin whose job is to protect the last human city.
Already reviews are mixed, the gameplay looks amazing but it looks like EA have skimped on the infrastructure and the servers drop you frequently. I still give this game my tentative approval, but I would wait and see if they fix the ground works before investing.
Before we get on to the main early access game I want to talk about in this piece, lets revisit a game I’ve covered in the past – Subnautica. Recently they released the new chapter, ‘Sub Zero’. Where we all thought it would just be an add-on to the existing game, they surprised us by making it a complete new chapter of the game where you start from scratch in a whole new world.
Subnautica is a very fun survival exploration game where you build equipment and environments to aid in your survival against both the world itself and the huge scary monsters that want to take a bite out of your behind.
If the new chapter is as good as the last, I seriously recommend you go pick it up.
The main reason why this is an EA game done right is the reporting system. They have an integrated reporting system in game for the players to highlight all issues found in the game as they play which also automatically grabs the game logs to be able to work out the problems quicker by showing them what caused it.
Now to the main game. Escape from Tarkov.
This isn’t a game for the casual gamer, it is punishing to say the least. The basic premise is that it’s a looter shooter game.
You enter a map, try and kill some people, (Definitely not a game for the kids – rated a hard 18 for sure) take their stuff and stuff you find around the map and try and get away with it.
The punishing part is that if you die, you lose EVERYTHING. Your weapon, your armour, the contents of your bags and they even shake out your pockets. If you were wearing underwear I’m fairly certain the game would take that from you too.
You start with a modest collection of equipment depending on what tier of the game you buy and have to build up from there.
To help fund the development of the game there are multiple versions of the game you can buy, with the more expensive obviously giving you perks the cheaper versions don’t, but in general the major difference is your storage capacity.
The more you spend the more room you get in your stash. It doesn’t sound like much, but the more room to store quest items you have soon becomes very apparent. But you can counteract this by earning storage containers in game which eliminates any pay to win value you might expect from paying more.
The game aims for a more realistic experience of combat with there being side-effects from using medication, repercussions from taking damage such as a damaged leg making you limp and how the weapons are constructed with modifications etc.
There is a great deal to learn and learn you must. The game doesn’t give you any instructions. It doesn’t hold your hand through the first few games, it doesn’t give you any tips tricks and more. They put a gun in your hand and a boot up the butt and dump you into a
post-apocalyptic Russian wasteland.
Fortunately you can practice in an offline mode to learn the maps that won’t take your stuff should you die, but at the same time you don’t keep anything you find. I thoroughly recommend putting time into offline for each map to learn your way to the more common exits at a bare minimum. The last thing you want to do is find something expensive then die whilst getting lost trying to leave.
Playing with friends is really good fun, but be warned, unlike in most first person shooters who give you a way of distinguishing friend from foe, Tarkov doesn’t.
No friendly blue arrow above their head or glowing outline. You have to work closely as a team and communicate clearly your movements so your team knows where you are at all times else you’re just as likely to kill your team mate as you are an enemy. I may have killed both my team mates in a raid just last night…. In my defence, they hadn’t said they’d pushed on and looped back around to my position. To me, they just looked like more players coming to kill me.
In this game you’ll see more AI characters than players. The AI are very clever and will imitate many of the behaviours you’ll see players actually perform. They’re drawn to all noises and will challenge and chase you down.
The game is still in beta, so as you’d expect there are still some bugs and issues – the servers are a little laggy at times and there’s some environment issues etc, but the team at Battlestate gaming are working really tirelessly with the community to find and fix all these bugs.
In my opinion, what makes this a good EA game, is how they’re promoting it. Its primary method of promotion is through content
creators, Youtubers and streamers in particular.
They reached out to streamers big and small and asked them if they’d like to play the game for them, utilising the fact that each of these content creators have a large established viewership which they interact closely with to help raise awareness of the game. And for the fact that the game is really good, it’s expanding its player base. It’s how I found it.
If you want to see it for yourself, I’m sure I’ll be streaming it often over the next couple months at www.twitch.tv/marfa1con