Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Escape From Tarkov

Go To
Escape from Tarkov is a hardcore and realistic online first-person action RPG/Simulator with MMO features and a story-driven walkthrough, set in the same universe as Contract Wars.

The video game is set in the fictional Norvinsk region in north-western Russia, around a "Special economic zone" that served as a gateway between Russia and Europe. However, this attracted corporations with dubious intent, and the city of Tarkov became the center of a major political scandal involving corrupt corporations in the Norvinsk region. Six months later the situation erupted into an armed conflict involving the Internal Troops of Russia, United Nations peacekeepers, and two private military companies: United Security (USEC) and the Battle Encounter Assault Regiment (BEAR). The Norvinsk region's borders were sealed off, and those trapped in the middle of the local warfare were isolated from the outside world. USEC was hired by the Terra Group, one of the corrupt corporations involved in the scandal, to hinder investigations during the conflict, while BEAR was covertly hired by the Russian Government to uncover evidence about Terra Group.


The game is currently in beta-testing with one current gamemode; Raid, where the player(s) has the titular objective of escaping the city of Tarkov by working for one of these private military companies, or through the viewpoint of a Scavenger.

Escape From Tarkov provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: "Factory", one of the maps featured in the game where PMC's were initially sent there to investigate illegal activities committed by Terra Group. It is the smallest map in the game so far filled with extremely claustrophobic corridors, a maze of underground access routes and service catwalks dominating the upper floors.
  • A.K.A.-47: Averted. All of the firearms featured in the game have their real names and trademarks.
  • All There in the Manual: Being set in the same universe as Contract Wars, Tarkov shares the same elaborate backstory as seen here.
  • Advertisement:
  • All-or-Nothing Reloads / One Bullet Clips: Averted. All characters carry individual magazines with individually tracked ammo counts somewhere on their person. When reloading weapons with detachable magazines, the old magazine is retained by default regardless of how much ammo is left. Dropping the removed magazine on reload to speed up the process can be done manually by double-tapping the reload key, but will also be done automatically in the event the player has no space on their person to store the removed magazine. In both cases, dropped magazines can be picked up off the ground later.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Secure Containers gives your PMC a permanently safe inventory space that can protect your most important loot if they die during a raid.
    • AI Scavs constantly make noise to alert the player to their presence, to compensate for their absurdly fast reaction times.
    • The Scav character can provide a risk-free alternative game mode for players low on equipment or the means to buy them. The Scav player is always provided with random set of equipment and firearms to survive with. In addition, Scav players are ideally put into the halfway point of an ongoing match where most PMC players would have either been killed or are well on their way to their extraction points, leaving behind plenty of bodies and often missed loot to scavenge. All loot acquired during a successful raid can be transferred into the PMC player's main inventory.
  • Arms Dealer: Most of the market vendors are pretty much these, with unique catalogues and missions that they often give to PMC players. Gaining loyalty levels will give player more access to better gear and wares to help their future raids.
    • Prapor is a GRU logistics warrant officer, providing Warsaw Pact-era arms and ammunition. A rare twist to this trope is that he comes off more benign than most depictions of former Reds with Rockets arms dealers, as he most of his missions involve thinning out the lawless Scavengers, collecting personal trinkets for people he had promised to help and even frequently collaborates with Therapist.
    • Skier is more or less the ideal local Gangland Gun Runner type, using his position as a port customs employee to form direct connections to most of the Scavengers that roam Tarkov, and a disturbing amount of his missions involve offing PMCs and marking possible valuable cargo. He mostly provides uncommon weapons along with the appropriate accessories.
    • Peacekeeper is a corrupt UN logistics officer who provides NATO-based weapons and attachments while keeping close ties to the likes of Skier.
    • Mechanic is a professional weapons engineer whose missions focus on acquiring tools and electrical appliances or modifying weapons to his specifications. Gaining his loyalty and trust will give you access to extremely high-tech weapons and attachments that no other vendor can even dream of selling.
  • An Axe to Grind: Hatchets are the most powerful melee weapon in the game, currently.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Weapon, Item and Pistol Cases typically contain more space than they would have taken up in your main inventory giving you a chance to widen your inventory space in the long run. Smaller cases like Wallets, Document Bags, Money Cases and Keytools also helps save space for the...... substantial amount of keys and currency your player would have collected in his entire PMC career.
  • Black Market: All of the market vendors with varying degrees of morality, each having personal agendas and specific trading specialities, such as the Soviet-bloc weaponry of Prapor, medical supplies from Therapist or the opportunistic Skier. "Fence" currently fills in as one as he buys and sells pretty much anything and everything players are willing to deal with, but a fully player-controlled market complete with an auction house is currently in development.
  • Bland-Name Product: Plenty, thanks to heaps of barter items and electronics you would have to collect in your entire PMC career. Suspiciously similar-sounding brands like, 'Zibbo' lighters, 'Paid' pesticide, 'GPhones', 'Roler' gold watches, and even cigarette brands like 'Malboro', 'Wilston', 'Strike' and 'Apollon Soyuz'. The Graphics Card is also modelled after an ASUS GeForce GTX 750 Ti. The Interchange map also features a familiar blue-and-yellow-themed furniture megastore named 'IDEA'.
    • Averted for certain items like Ibuprofen painkillers, Grizzly First Aid Kit and the Powerbank, which is clearly modelled after a Xiaomi Mi 10400mah Power Bank with the Xiaomi logo visibly unaltered.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Headshots do realistically powerful damage, often killing in one shot. Helmets can help to mitigate damage to the head.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: Reshala a.k.a the "Dealmaker", the first Scav boss character introduced in the 0.9 build. While he has a unique appearance, he is essentially as durable as the regular unarmored Scavs but is constantly guarded by his loyal entourage. He also usually runs away from a fight, but killing, then looting his guards or himself will reward you with rare loot, physical Bitcoins or even his exclusive gold-plated TT-33 pistol.
  • Early Game Hell: Due to the enormous player-to-player learning curve, coupled with highly challenging AI, inexperienced players tend to suffer.
  • Elite Mooks: Scav Raiders that appear in the Labs map are truly a step above the regular Scavs from previous maps. They patrol in tight-knit groups, upon contact they will perform squad tactics by suppressing players and flanking maneuvers. Not to mention the decent amount of gear and weapons they have on their person making them very durable.
  • Enemy Mine: It is not uncommon for PMC players or even player Scavs to team up, or otherwise not attack each other, especially when there are threats of Scav bosses still running about or other greater player threats. The cinematic announcement trailer climaxes with this; a surviving BEAR and USEC trooper whom only minutes ago were trying to kill each other had put aside their factional differences to team up against the marauding Scavs attracted to the earlier firefight.
  • Good Is Not Soft: While Therapist comes off as one of the most benevolent Traders, working to save innocent lives from the Crapsack World that is Tarkov, she is not above sending players to kill Scavs in some of her missions, but still voicing out her displeasure at giving the players such a task.
  • Grid Inventory: Combined with Inventory Management Puzzle, both in and out of raids.
    • In and out of a raid, your character has space for two primary weapons, a sidearm, four slots of 1x1 grids representing his pockets and wearable equipment. Load bearing vests can typically carry standard magazines (usually 2x1) and 1x1 boxes for loose ammo or compact magazines. Bags have varying sizes that allow for more objects to be placed inside and finally, the Secure Container that while limited in capacity, guarantees items stored in it to be brought back should the operator die during the raid.
    • The home stash is pretty large, but as you progress and horde all those shiny new AKs, spare M4 carbines and shotguns, many players would find out how quickly those empty slots can run out, especially those with the Standard editions of the game. Currently, the endgame meta seemingly points to the levelling up of the market vendors in order to buy item or weapon containers that holds more space to ease the collective inventory space that the players were initially provided at the start.
  • Guide Dang It!: Most of the game can revolve around this, especially since the in-game maps do not mark important extraction zones or even specific landmarks. Looting can also be challenging to some if they don't know where to look or even what can be looted (e.g. one type of lootable green wooden ammo crate vs the static unlootable stacks of similar green wooden crates, etc.). Finding keys to certain areas or questline objectives will be frustrating to newbies and veterans alike, especially since most of these key spawns are still at the mercy of the random number generator.
  • Gun Accessories: Each firearm in the game can be customized to truly impressive levels. Beyond the typical selection of electronic sights and optics, firearms can be customized with various stocks, grips, magazines, silencers, muzzle brakes, flashlights, underbarrel launchers, receivers, shotgun chokes, charging handles, gas tubes, and different types of ammunition.
  • Gun Porn: One of the main selling points of the game is the extensive arsenal of real-life firearms. Each one is modeled with significant detail and attention paid to its real operation.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Some Scavs spawn with body armor and helmets, which greatly increase their resistance to damage. The Dealmaker's goons are armed to the teeth, rocking mid-level body armor and helmets while packing tacticool assault rifles and grenades; a first for Scav AI. The 0.11 patch introduces Killa, a boss that patrols the central area of Interchange mall. His personalized 6B13 body armour and Maska 1Sch steel helmet with faceplate, combined with his usual penchant for More Dakka makes him a durably fierce foe to contend within the confined spaces of the mall.
  • Locked Door: The maps feature tons of these, and always require the correct keys in order to open them. Some doors do give way to a good ol' fashioned door-kicking, but it's the sturdily locked ones that usually contains good loot behind them. But also, have fun trying to find the specific key to a door, or better yet, managing the space for the amount of keys you wish to bring along with you to the raid.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Technically, the game's plot hinges on the two PMC factions, BEAR and USEC duking it out within one another while Scavengers target anyone outside of their cliques. In practice, it's you (and your team, if you're rolling with one) fighting other PMCs, loyalties be damned, as well as Scavs, both AI and player controlled.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Currently, all players and Scavs are male.
  • Mystery Cult: An unknown cult operating within the Norvinsk region that has their presence felt in the form of strange ritualistic circles and markings in several obscure locations. Peacekeeper has a set of missions attempting to uncover their motives, although he has a theory that they might be of the Apocalypse Cult variety going by the fact that Human Sacrifice is involved. Developer plans for the future involves integrating the cult and its members properly into the game as a hostile faction.
  • Product Placement: Many of the firearm brands (e.g Heckler & Koch, Tula Arms Plant, SIG Sauer, etc)and 3rd-party manufacturers (e.g. Magpul, Daniel Defense, Salient Arms, Lone Star Armory, etc) were included into the game as part of various partnership agreements between them and BSG, thus averting A.K.A.-47 for the most part.
  • Reality Ensues: Being the hardcore shooter as advertised by the developers, many of the game's features might take newer players by surprise.
    • Gunshot wounds are punishing in Tarkov, no matter the calibre. Headshots are extremely lethal and getting hit in one body part repeatedly will cause permanent damage that requires specific medical applications, such as bandaging severely bleeding wounds, using a splint to set a broken leg straight, and even painkillers to numb the crippling pain temporarily.
      • Speaking of painkillers, while they can temporarily bring your severely damaged legs back to a normal walking or running condition, it doesn't change the fact those limbs are still crippled, so running for more than a short burst or falling from even a comically short height will still cause injuries that can compound on itself the more you put strain on them.
    • Wearing certain headwear will significantly affect your hearing, such as the Kolpak riot helmet which covers your ears, while pulling the faceplate down deafens you even more than usual. There are certain hardware like ComTec2 headsets that do amplify certain pitched sounds while dampening other ambient noises, but can only be paired with the helmets that allow space for it.
    • While the game features extensive weapon customisation in and out of battle, certain modifications are impossible to do while in the field due to the precision tools that your character would obviously not have access to nor brought out with them.
  • Robbing the Dead: As expected, any dead body can be looted for all they are worth.
  • Scavenger World: With the collapse of society in the Norvinsk region, Tarkov is essentially turned into this, both plot-wise and in gameplay terms.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted. While all available shotguns are very destructive at point-blank range, they can be used with accuracy for mid-to-long-range work (although they won't be as damaging as a dedicated weapon, such as a sniper rifle).
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Most of the featured firearms would be commonly encountered within the Eastern-European setting Tarkov is based on, with the rarer NATO or foreign firearms explained with the ever-growing black market and abandoned UN surplus.
    • The weapon customisation and attachments system is incredibly complex and specific; certain pistol grips and integrated rails will only work on a very specific weapon; Soviet-bloc weapons have a easier time attaching Russian-made optics and attachments while NATO weapons would require specially-made adaptors; certain scopes also require their proper mounting brackets and compatible rail dimensions.
    • Multiple types of cartridges are available for every single calibre, each having unique penetration capabilities, damage models and are rather reflective of their real-life ballistic performances. The Russian 5.45x39mm intermediate cartridge alone has about 11 different variants; ranging from varying levels of armour piercing to tracers and even specialist subsonic rounds. In comparison, the puny 9x18mm Makarov rounds usually reserved for often-neglected pistols and submachine-guns has at least 14 different types of cartridges as of the current build.
    • Many variants of a single weapon system exists in-game each providing different attachment possibilities and performances. For example, the ubiquitous 7.62x39mm Kalashnikov assault rifle comes in the form of the standard military-grade full-auto/semi-auto AKM, a underfolding stock version (AKMS), a civilian semi-auto only Vepr-KM / VPO-136 version and even a lesser-known civilian-legal smoothbore shotgun variant (Molot VPO-209) chambered in .336TKM.
    • The reloading operation of the modified, magazine-fed Simonov SKS is faithfully represented; during a match, the operator has to pull the bolt and eject the chambered round first (that can be picked back up later) before they can remove the magazine, then inserts a fresh magazine and then chambering a new round. Chambering the closed-bolt rifle with a full 20 round magazine is currently only possible within the main inventory
  • Subsystem Damage: Each body part significantly limits the player once it is crippled. Broken legs cause the player to limp slowly unless painkillers or morphine is administered. Broken arms cause the player's weapon to sway dramatically. A broken chest or stomach causes the player to emit audible cries of pain and also lose hydration very quickly.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Sometimes, Scavs aim so unrealistically well that players do not have a chance to fight back.
  • The Mall: "Interchange", the fifth location to be added to the game. Originally used as an EMERCOM evacuation site, the mall remains abandoned and ripe for looting by PMC's and Scavs alike.
  • Vendor Trash: Many items, such as intricate statues or jewelry, have no purpose other than to be sold or traded to market owners.
  • Videogame Cruelty Punishment: As a Scav player, the AI Scavs roaming across the maps are considered your allies, or at least indifferent to your presence which was the developers intention on giving the Scav player a fighting chance against the usually heavily armed and equipped PMC players. Betraying this trust by killing even one of them will turn all remaining Scavs on the map against you, making your scavenging run much more harder, especially without the insurance of a Secure Container and all the potentially hostile players still running about.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: