When it comes to realistic military shooters, nothing beats the complexity and detail of Battlestate Games’ Escape from Tarkov. How many games like Escape From Tarkov are there, really?
We’re talking about a game in which locational damage affects your combat performance and you have to manually refill your magazines bullet by bullet. And the PVP is as hardcore as it gets — die and not only do you lose everything you were carrying, you also have to spend resource on med kits to get back to fighting condition.
There’s nothing out there quite like Escape from Tarkov, but if you’re looking for more shooters with a similar atmosphere, extreme PVP, or realistic shooting mechanics, here are 10 games like Escape from Tarkov that you should definitely check out on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, and Switch.
This third-person looter shooter is all about scavenging for crafting materials and looting the corpses of your victims. Like in Tarkov, you choose a loadout before jumping into a round, and if you die, you lose the items you drop forever.
Every player starts off with just their fists, but you can find weapons and gear in abandoned homes and structures. The short rounds and relatively small maps of Vigor make for high-action matches, and the shrinking playzone forces more and more encounters as the timer ticks down.
Just like in Tarkov, there’s a metagame outside of the looting and shooting. Players take quests and build up a base when they’re not playing a round of Vigor, and you can upgrade your homestead and gain new skills and abilities over time.
Vigor is often described as a third-person Tarkov-lite for consoles. If you liked how Tarkov lets you rob players of their hard-earned loot so you can walk into the next round with shiny, new gear, then Vigor is the game for you.
2. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
Developer: GSC Game World Publisher: GSC World Publishing, Deep Silver, bitComposer Games Platforms: PC
Call of Pripyat is a supernatural horror shooter set in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a fenced-off area surrounding the sarcophagus of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant where the radioactive contamination from the plant’s 1986 explosion is strongest.
The tension and dread that pervades every moment in the Exclusion Zone give it a heavy ambience that you can almost literally feel weighing down on you the longer you play. Despite being a restricted area, several factions operate within Zone borders, each with their own ideology and purpose relating to the disfigured horrors and paranormal beings born from the fallout.
Those who love the post-Soviet Eastern European settings and locales of Tarkov will love the way S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat breathes a sickly sort of life into the Exclusion Zone, envisioning it as a horrible place with unforgettable sights, compelling characters, and grotesque monstrosities.
Developer: Bad Pixel Publisher: Bad Pixel Platforms: PC
This hardcore survival shooter looks and feels like an arcadier Tarkov. Players gather loot and materials they find in the game’s 25-square-kilometer map which can then be stored in a personal stash in certain non-PVP safe zones.
Like in Tarkov, if you die while you’re out and about, you lose everything you were carrying. If you’re quick, you can go back and grab your items from your corpse, as long as another player doesn’t get to it first.
There’s also light crafting and base building in Deadside. Once you’ve gathered enough materials, you can construct a base or tower wherever you want in the map. This lets you take out other players from relative safety, but will also make you a target for groups of players interested in the person rich enough to be taking potshots from their watchtower.
Deadside is perfect for those who love the realism of Escape from Tarkov but just can’t deal with how complex every single mechanic is.
Developer: Bohemia Interactive Publisher: Bohemia Interactive Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
The goal in DayZ is simple: stay alive at all costs. You spawn near places overrun by The Infected, living humans under the control of a deadly virus. You must scratch out a living by picking up and using the various weapons, food, and water that you find in your travels.
The Infected are fast on their feet and will chase you for a long way if they detect your presence, making every foray into the game’s towns and settlements a major risk.
Chernarus, the fictional location where the game takes place, is a massive sandbox, and you can spend hours walking its lonely paths and forests without encountering another player. Other players can be even more terrifying than the zombies — humans are unpredictable, and just as likely to put a bullet in you as help you.
You can see how DayZ has influenced Tarkov in its hardcore free-for-all PVP, player looting mechanics, and heavy atmospheric tension. If those are things you can’t get enough of, consider giving DayZ a spin.
5. Hunt: Showdown
Developer: Crytek Publisher: Crytek, Koch Media Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
In this dark fantasy shooter, hunters compete against one another to be the first to down an evil creature and take its bounty home. You can hunt solo or in a group of three to collect clues and set traps that will help you track and take down the boss creature in the map (or slow down the progress of other hunters).
Ammunition is scarce in Hunt: Showdown, so you’ll have to make every bullet count. That’s harder than it sounds — the various low-level mobs that roam the world pose a real danger, and then you have to deal with the other hunters, as well.
Once you’ve tracked and killed the boss, it’s time to get out of dodge. Grab the bounty and get to the exfiltration point before another hunter takes you out.
The dark fantasy setting of Hunt: Showdown is about as far away from Escape from Tarkov’s gritty realism as you can get, but the thrill of the hunt is something that Tarkov players should be intimately familiar with.
Developer: Gamepires Publisher: Gamepires, Devolver Digital Platforms: PC
The world’s most dangerous criminals are picked to appear on SCUM, a televised reality show where they fight to survive on a mysterious island filled with dangerous creatures, mutants, and mechanoids.
Each prisoner is equipped with a Bio Control Unit, a small implanted chip that provides you with useful information about your character’s current fitness. There are dozens of factors that affect your fitness, not least being the nutritional composition of the foods you eat. Your BCU tracks the macronutrients and vitamins in your body, and consuming a poorly-balanced diet can make you sick, easily fatigued, and overweight. Low fitness affects your stamina and running speed, which in turn influence your performance and chances of staying alive in the prisoner Hunger Games.
One of the joys of playing Tarkov is learning and understanding the granular details of how a gun works and is put together. Tarkov players will appreciate the similarly detailed approach SCUM takes with the design of its survival mechanics.
7. Metro Exodus
Developer: 4A Games Publisher: Deep Silver Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S
Metro Exodus is a gritty sandbox shooter set in post-apocalypse Russia. After two games set in the dank and grimey tunnels of the Moscow metro, Exodus is the first in the series to feature huge, open maps on the surface world. The game takes full advantage of this opportunity to explore new regions and locales, with stunning landmarks and breathtaking environments at every turn.
Though certainly not as hardcore as Tarkov, Exodus is no arcade gallery shooter. You’ll need quick reflexes and a tactical mind if you want to stay alive. The game’s horrifying bestiary of mutants, cannibals, and flying terrors must be handled with care, especially as ammunition and medkits are a rare commodity.
Like in Tarkov, inventory management is key to survival in Exodus. Your skills with a gun will only get you so far, so keep a careful count of your bullet count, mask filters, and batteries, too.
With engaging combat, a killer setting, and great atmosphere, Metro Exodus is a must-play for Tarkov fans who love a great single-player experience.
8. Red Orchestra 2
Developer: Tripwire Interactive Publisher: 1C Company Platforms: PC
Red Orchestra 2 is one of the few games that is as dedicated to simulating the minutiae of gun combat as Escape from Tarkov.
Set in Stalingrad and the Pacific theater at the height of World War II, Red Orchestra 2 is an intensely realistic battlefield simulator where two teams of players duke it out on one of several sprawling maps.
You enjoy none of the conveniences of your modern shooter interfaces — overhead nametags, ammo counters, instant kill confirmation — so you’ll have to very quickly learn how to assess dangerous situations and make on-the-fly decisions with what little you know.
It’s not nearly as refined or polished an experience as Escape from Tarkov, but the Red Orchestra series was the first to do many of the things that Tarkov is now being praised for.
Developer: Offworld Industries Publisher: Offworld Industries Platforms: PC
Squad is a realistic military shooter with tactical elements where two teams attempt to complete a set of objectives while preventing the other from finishing theirs. A single match can have as many as 100 players, with each faction divided into multiple squads of up to nine players.
There’s something in Squad for fans of all kinds of shooters. For those who like controlling the battlefield at the macro level, Squad leaders can communicate with other squad leaders to coordinate strikes and prepare attacks. Then, there’s leadership and teamwork at the Squad level, allowing for small groups of players to shine within their own factions.
And for those who want to hog all the glory, you can always fly solo and do your own thing, bolstering defense efforts at a strategic location or striking deep into the heart of enemy territory alone.
If you want games like Tarkov that will give you just as much anxiety, Squad should be high on your list.
10. Post Scriptum
Developer: Periscope Games Publisher: Offworld Industries Platforms: PC
Post Scriptum is the type of game in which teamwork trumps personal skill. The shooting may be more straightforward than Tarkov fans are accustomed to, but Post Scriptum rewards coordination and leadership better than almost any shooter out there today.
The game bucks the modern shooter trend of making players feel like rockstars with kill cams and leaderboards glorifying individual achievements over team effort. Instead, communication and coordination are key to capturing and securing objectives. Since there’s no radar or team indicators, radio talk in Post Scriptum is a long stream of players relaying information to one another, communicating their positions, and coordinating attacks. And with so many people talking at once, you quickly learn that less is more — mincing words can get you killed.
Like Escape from Tarkov, Post Scriptum is an incredibly complex game with very little hand holding and tons of mechanics you’ll just have to learn as you go. Fans looking for realistic shooter games like Tarkov and a different kind of challenge will find that it has a lot to get stuck into.
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