Escape from Tarkov is as hardcore as an FPS PvP can be. You go on 30-minutes or so raids with whatever you pick on your initial loadout. You loot as much as you can and return to your offline interface.
We’re looking at the best Escape from Tarkov alternatives you can play. Similar games could be free, console-available, easier, more challenging, or with a fantastic twist.
Selecting Games Like Tarkov
Our game selection process involved looking at the core elements of the Escape from Tarkov and identify similar titles with the best gameplay. Here’s what we focused on:
It’s up to you to decide which of these gameplay pieces is significant to you or if you would be better without some of these.
Top 12 Games Like Escape From Tarkov
DayZ is the original multiplayer survival shooter, even though it began as an Arma 2 mod. Nowadays, it plays like a survival looter shooter sandbox.
The map, Chenarus, is huge and gritty, with an atmosphere akin to Escape from Tarkov. You spawn somewhere in the map surrounded by The Infected (zombies), the NPC AI faction.
Your goal is to survive and build a base. And you can create almost anything, like houses, camps, fences, and vehicles.
Characters suffer hunger, dehydration, and hypothermia, so you need food, water, and medicine (like a blood transfusion).
You play on a server with up to 60 players. Other players can either help you, attack you, or steal your resources. You lose everything on death, and friendly fire is always on.
Lastly, we need to mention in-game characters have gestures via voice chat. It’s a fan-favorite feature, and we’d love to see it on other titles.
However, DayZ is abandonware, no longer getting full support from developers. Instead, a small but loyal community keeps releasing mods and a mod manager to improve gameplay.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
The S.T.A.L.K.E.R series started in 2007. The trilogy happens around Chernobyl after a fictional second nuclear disaster.
Call of Pripyat is the latest game of the franchise. It works as a survival horror shooter with a robust sandbox and RPG elements.
The setting is hazardous, and the dangers are many (mutants, anomalies, radioactivity, bullets, poison, gasses, hunger,…). Moreover, several factions are fighting for control over the area.
A critical element of the game is inventory management. As you explore the wastelands, you must make space for ammo, supplies, and weapons on the inventory. The system is quite similar to Escape from Tarkov’s inventory management.
Another essential feature present in both titles is the ability to modify weapons. Call of Pripyat offers a wide array of custom mods to tweak your playing experience.
Overall, Call of Pripyat is an old game, running on an old engine but still capable of delivering an unforgettable experience. The decades-old trilogy is still loved and popular.
More importantly, I’d say Escape from Tarkov takes direct inspiration from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R series. For example, visuals, sound, setting, atmosphere, and inventory design are strikingly similar.
Vigor is a third-person survival looter shooter. Since it came out, it has gotten plenty of upgrades and support to create a game with significant potential.
You create a character, build up your base, enter a map, get loot, and return to your base. There’s also growing radiation you have to escape and, if you die, you lose everything you got. Otherwise, you can craft gear on your hideout with your loot.
Vigor is the “easy” Escape from Tarkov for consoles. Aside from a simple weapon recoil, there’re no other complex mechanics. It’s all about the loot.
But because it’s a console title, it has a friendlier UI and playability. That makes the game faster and more strategic. And it’s free.
Lastly, Vigor is vibrant, rich in color, and closer to a PUBG offspring.
As a free-to-play console title, it doesn’t have the best performance. Even on new-gen consoles, there’s a 30 FPS frame-lock with a significant lag.
Another downside is the lack of lore, realism, and gun animations. It’s all about the loot loop.
Deadside is a hardcore survival shooter. It’s a newer entry in the genre, and it’s still an Early Access title.
Playtime offers the kind of loop we saw on Vigor. You spawn on a 25-square-kilometer open PvP map. Then, you loot and store your rewards on a personal stash.
There’s a light crafting system as Deadside allows you to build a base. You build a base inside the map, which is where you hide your stash.
You lose items you carry on death but keep items you stored on the stash. Other players can loot your stash, but you can also return to your dead body to loot yourself.
There’re also points of interest across the map, like quests. Similarly, there’re NPCs you can trade with, as well as AI enemies.
In the future, developers are adding weapon attachments, mods, and skins as extra customization options.
Overall, Deadside feels similar to EET, down to the atmosphere. However, the newer game is less punishing, so it’s the better choice for casual players. Consider Deadside as Tarkov meets PUBG.
Hunt: Showdown is a dark fantasy PvP FPS with a horror 1890’s setting. You play as a “Hunter,” and Hunters compete on a PvP server to defeat an evil creature. Enemy NPCs include zombies, monsters, and giant beasts.
Once you’re on the map, you’ll need to collect clues, set traps, and track down the boss NPC beast. And while you’re at it, you should slow down the other hunters. Winners can take the bounty home if they escape through the infiltration point. Those who die, though, lose everything.
The old-school gunplay offers small-scale engagements, a distinct style, and slow-paced action. Most of all, the weapon animations and sounds are incredibly satisfying.
But because you don’t play with modern weapons, combat is longer. Rifles are less accurate and weaker; defeating an enemy requires a few well-aimed shots. Moreover, you can play with a group of three friends and revive your teammates. Or you can go solo!
Ammunition is scarce as well. Every bullet counts, which is a shame because the monsters are out to hunt you.
The game has no other RPG elements. However, its permadeath feature alongside PvE and PvP makes it quite punishing.
Hunt: Showdown is far from the Escape from Tarkov’s realism. Still, the thrill of the hunt feels familiar in both games.
Rust is also a PvP battle royale multiplayer game. Servers support up to 400 players, with multiple maps available.
You spawn into the world, naked and with stone in your hand. From this point onwards, you must progress as you would on a Minecraft Anarchy server or Terraria.
The game has an elaborate crafting system that includes resources, gathering tools, and a wide list of items, gears, and structures you can create. In essence, you interact with a workbench to research blueprints and pay for these blueprints with the scrap you grind.
The next part of the game is teamwork, as most players are looking for help and company. Additionally, you can get real-time Raid notifications through the Rust app. These include raids, death while sleeping, or an enemy attacking your base.
As for enemy NPCs, well, there are both wild animals and heavily-armored humans. Lastly, survival elements are lighter, like food, water, cold, and heat.
The crafting mechanics can get silly, though. You can take advantage of its flaws by “griefing,” making inaccessible areas accessible (or vice versa) by building or scrapping. For example, you can trap someone who raids you by swapping your doors for wooden blocks.
Still, the greater Rust experience is about exploring, gathering resources, crafting, raiding, and griefing. It’s an arcade-style immersive sim with mediocre PC graphics.
Metro Exodus is a story-driven single-player game with an outstanding sci-fi narrative. It’s equal parts a fast-paced shooter and slow, a strategic survival sandbox, and an immersive sim.
The game has a post-apocalypse Russian setting. It’s a feature we see on the Stalker series, as well as Escape from Tarkov.
It’s not as hardcore as Tarkov, but it’s also not your standard arcade shooter. You need quick reflexes, strategy, tactical mind, and supplies to survive. Particularly, supplies are low, and stealth is crucial.
Particularly, the game has an array of horrifying mutants and monsters ready to hunt you down at any moment. There’re other enemy factions ready to kill you as well.
Lastly, inventory management is key to survival in Exodus. You’ll need to keep tabs on your bullets, batteries, mask filters, and much more.
Overall, The quality of Metro Exodus is on another level. Visuals, sounds, animations, atmosphere, and gameplay come together very well.
It’s also part of an excellent trilogy, but you don’t need prior knowledge to enjoy the game. However, it would be good to know that the first two games play around trains, sewers, and metro lines. The third one goes to the surface.
SCUM puts the “world’s most dangerous criminals” on a reality TV show. You play as one of them to survive on a mysterious island full of mutants, beasts, “zombies,” and mechanoids. The setting opens up a hardcore survival game inside a punishing 144 square-kilometers PvP island.
The map is huge, and developers keep adding new features and locations with every patch. There’re hunting camps, stores, houses, camps, bunkers, air bases, and much more.
Another defining factor is fitness. As you play, you grow your character’s fitness, which represents your character’s progression and the core RPG system.
The RPG system also includes a complex metabolism. There’s food, water, health, diseases, stamina, and…pop. More specific stats include stuff like vitamin and protein ingestion.
Fail to manage your metabolism, and you’ll get a sickness or a negative effect. You’ll then need to heal your character with the proper med supplies.
There’s also a complex cooking system. That means hunting, crafting, traps, fire,…Likewise, there’s a feature that allows you to build bases and shelters.
If that’s not enough, there’s also a deep crafting system, plus a bunch of crafting tools. You can build bases, medical supplies, vehicles, and more.
SCUM competes with Escape from Tarkov in terms of mechanics and features. It goes even further regarding survival mechanics.
Also, it matches Tarkov regarding weapon physics. There’s a weapon recoil mechanic you can master with your character strength, as well as weapon durability, ballistic calculations, and more.
SCUM can be overwhelming., but you can make it without learning most of these things. With or without the complexity, this game is crazy fun.
There’s also a bonus plus: the title has vibrant graphics across its east-European island setting.
Squad is another modern 50 v 50 FPS PvP alternative. You enter as part of a squad and play against an opposing faction. Because each squad has nine players, factions can have several squads.
The squad leader takes care of communicating with the rest of the team and talking with other squads.
Winning requires strategic positioning and careful advance. Squads can build or take out defensive positions to conquer the map.
Battles can get crazy and huge. There’re vehicles, drones, helicopters, and all kinds of heavy weaponry.
That means mechanics revolve around teamwork and communication. At the same time, there’s stamina, supplies, plus a logistic system to build forward operating bases.
Gunplay is also not easy. The game accounts for weapon recoil, ballistics mechanics, and a comprehensive health system.
Lastly, there’s no character progression. However, there’re various classes to choose from (military operatives). These are, for example, medics, snipers, or anti-tanks.
You may consider Squad as the spiritual successor of Battlefield 1942. Another close-by game is Arma 3. However, Squad is lighter than the Arma series.
Hell Let Loose
Hell Let Loose is the newer title on our list, and it shows. It’s a quality and hardcore WW2 multiplayer FPS offering various game modes.
In essence, it has 500 vs. 50 realistic battles in historical settings. Historical maps include WW2 scenarios like St. Marie Du Mont or Purple Heart Lane. Developers created these locations with real-life data.
Gunplay is realistic and punishing. Immersive elements include real physics, weapon recoil, ballistics, proximity chat, and dismembering. Also, Hell Let Loose includes tanks, airplanes, bombings, and artillery.
That said, you pick a class (a role) and join a battle as part of a squad. Teamwork across the different roles is necessary. You could be playing as an Officer, Medic, Engineer, Scout, Tank Commander, and more.
The goal is capturing tactical locations like bridges. These locations generate resources for the team. Ultimately, victory comes from breaking into enemy lines.
Hell Let Loose is a realistic, hardcore PvP shooter with fast-paced battles, skirmishes, and large-scale conflict.
Post Scriptum is another WW2 tactical FPS. The game’s setting is around the Battle of France, Operation Market Garden, and Operation Overlord.
PS is about large-scale battles, as well as skirmishes. Additionally, there’s a tough learning curve. That’s because there’s a realistic ballistic system, a harsh weapon recoil, and scarce ammo.
You play a class role within a faction and join matches that can go up to 40v40. Within matches, there’s also a great need for communication and teamwork. Teams need to define roles beforehand and enter the world with a strategy in mind.
The game offers multiplayer-based “Chapters.” Each Chapter brings a historical setting plus various game modes and weapons.
Gunplay is incredibly satisfying, definitely above what Hell Let Loose offers. That’s because weapon design, sound effects, animations, and weapon physics and are outstanding.
However, the game has a tiny player base, so finding a match can be challenging. That’s a shame because developers have a post-launch plan with a clear sense of direction and improvement.
For example, there are currently two playable Chapters. The developers are currently working on Chapter 3 and Chapter 4.
I know Fallout 76 is not the most beloved game out there. It has damaged Bethesda’s reputation. Still, the post-apocalyptic shooter has grown a lot since its disastrous debut.
Nowadays, it sits as a solid survival shooter. It has a deep loot system, hunger, thirst, a simple HP mechanic, and a fair amount of RPG options to progress your character.
Because it’s a multiplayer-only game, though, it’s an odd experience for a Fallout game. You play story quests as you would on the main Fallout games, but you could tag along with other players.
Previously, it didn’t have the main storyline, but the latest expansions have fixed the issue and added NPCs. Another recent addition is the Shelters, which are your personal hideouts. You can build and expand your shelter, as well as create workbenches.
Moreover, it has a fun progression system that rewards your playtime, as well as a crazy loot system that rewards your exploration. There’re PvP modes, but the core of the game is PvE questing and exploration.
Overall, Fallout 76 is a fun and engaging survival multiplayer shooter. I can definitely recommend it for people looking for a game to spend their time in 2021.