How To Buy and Play Escape From Tarkov

A PMC player on the Shoreline map in Escape From Tarkov.

Escape From Tarkov, the tactical shooter meets RPG from Battlestate Games, is blowing up into the mainstream right now. While the game is another FPS at its core, it requires methodical and stealthy moves from players in order to escape. In truth, it's likely to be unlike much of what you've played before, and it can be ruthless.

In this guide, we explain exactly how to buy and play Escape From Tarkov, and what the game is all about.

Read More: Escape From Tarkov: Beginners Guide, Tips & Tricks

What Is Escape From Tarkov?

At its most basic level, Escape From Tarkov is an incredibly hardcore first-person shooter in an online world. Set in a fictional region of Russia, players drop into a chosen area and must fight other players and AI combatants to be able to extract.

That's an incredibly basic version of the gameplay loop, and there's much more complexity to it. For one, your objective is to claim as much loot from the world and from downed enemies as you can. These can be items to sell, or more powerful new weapons. While killing an enemy offers the chance to pilfer any loot they have on them, the same applies to your belongings!

Aside from clashing with other players, AI combatants known as “Scavs” frequent the map, often in small squads. In fact, players learning the game can actually become a Scav, preventing them from losing their loadout when that Scav is killed.

Each run is known as a raid, and these are instanced – so you'll need to extract within the time limit.

It's also worth noting that there's no HUD, so ammo count, weapon loading, and cramming ammunition into an empty magazine is all done manually.

How To Play Escape From Tarkov

Escape From Tarkov is only available on PC, but you won't find it on the Epic Store or Steam.

Instead, you'll need to pre-order the game from the developers, Battlestate Games. After pre-ordering, you'll then be able to install their launcher from your profile on their website and play the beta of their game. Yes, the game is still in beta, but performance remains impressive and lobbies are full, so we'd definitely recommend giving it a go.

You can learn all about which editions are available to pre-order and download in our guide here. Alternatively, hop right to the Tarkov website here to get started.

That's all you need to know about getting in on the action; don't forget to spend some time getting to know the best maps for beginners, such as Customs, Reserve, and the Woods if you want a challenge.

This article was updated on the 15th of December by Kelsey Raynor.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Escape From Tarkov and Guides page.