There are 2 ways to get this achievement. There is the method as extensively described below. Which consists of doing this legitimately and fighting yourself through every level. The majority of the guide focusses on that method. The second method is the one where you get the achievement from a different player without ever having to start up the hardcore playthrough yourself. Scroll down to the last paragraph for instructions.
Okay now that we've lost the majority who went straight to the last paragraph, lets talk business with the ones who are going to do this the proper way...
When playing this game on hardcore there will be a few differences compared to playing this game on normal. The main difference is that your hud will be entirely gone. All the way from the radar hud to the crosshair.
However there are ways to get around this. You won't be able to see the white and red lines when you hit your target anymore but hitting a target will cause him to bleed and that's something you are actually able to notice. Everytime you kill an enemy a message will appear at the bottom of your screen [Gamertag/Hunter]: Target: Rifleman is Eliminated, this indicates that your target is dead.
Operation Flashpoint is a game in a wide and open world and there is generally no point in having a CQB weapon. Most missions will have crates at your spawnplaces where you can switch your weapon for an M4A1 (CQB), M4A1 (Assault) or M4A1 (Marksman). I picked up the latter. Most enemies will drop marksman weapons as well. Switch this weapon to single round mode to get the most accurate setting and avoid wasting to much ammo, especially with your M4A1 weapons, there is usually no chance to find new ammo along the mission. This is not the case with PLA weapons tho, so spray and pray all you like. Enemies are not tougher than they are on normal so one headshot may finish them off.
Always keep your distance and try picking off enemies one at the time. Hiding behind a tree for example, don't look around the tree to the point where everyone is being able to see and shoot you, look around it for just a bit and work your way from left to right or from right to left. Whatever pleases you most. Common sense goes here and this works for most shooters so what is the key to beat Flashpoint on hardcore?
Well there is not one specific trick but there are a couple that can soften your workload.
-Play with 2 Human players ( yourself included) and 2 AI players. The AI players are usually better at detecting enemies in situations where a real human would have some trouble. They are perfect tank gunners and turret gunners because they have unlimited ammo .They automatically detect enemies once they are within a certain range. However some missions such as "United we stand" require strategies that require someone with more brains than the AI.
-Play the game on normal first. On normal you will get waypoints that help you making stealth insertions on certain missions, direct you to the best possible locations to do the job and you will know where your enemies come from or what to expect next. Enemies don't change their strategies on hardcore.
-If you are in a fight put your teammates on Fire at Will ( in the ROE tab) and combat spread. This way they will engage anyone in their sight and they are spread out enough to make sure that you will not lose your entirely team by one mortar strike.
-Hardcore mode will remove your hud but not your map. Spotted enemies still appear on the map, so open your map frequently. After a while it works just as good as your hud.When you think you are done with a fight, check your map to see if any red blips remain.
-Avoid fights wherever possible. A lot of fighting can be ignored. For example in the mission powder trail. If you want you can grab one ofthe jeeps after the first skirmish where you have to help your fellow marines finishing off a couple of PLA's that attacked them. You can drive your jeep all the way to the hill where the AA is, kill the enemies there and simply make your way to the crash side without even running into enemies or simply taking a different route to the monastery in the mission "Trumpets sound" This just being a couple of the many examples of how you can increase your chances of succes and finish your mission approximatly 20 minutes faster than fighting your way through.
-Teammates are important but not required to finish. When you play with a second human player you might want him to be the medic because that's the only teammate you may want to use. The other two are usefull but not required for the succes of the mission. If you have to put yourself in harms way, anywhere in the later stages of the mission to patch a teammate , ignore him. You have to decide whether or not this AI player is worth the risk.
-let me start off by saying this: YOU DON'T HAVE TO HOLD THE SAVE GAME TO GET THE ACHIEVEMENT!
The host should have started this by using the Multiplayer->Cooperative Campaign-> Start new Campaign
After that you simply invite the people you wish to play with. This savegame should be reserved for the co-op party, meaning that the host or actual holder of the savegame can't use it himself when his buddies aren't present. Well he can but that would torpedoe the chances of getting the achievement for his buddies. After you finished a mission you press Continue. The next mission starts and you can quit there. While playing in Co-op it saves after every mission if you've pressed Continue. In single player it saves at the first checkpoint of the mission so you don't have to watch the cutscene all the time. Anyway, if you've been there all the way from mission one to the last in the same campaign you will get the Achievement after the credit movie where the helicopters fly over.
-Single missions don't count towards the achievement, nor do they make up for not finishing a mission ( the host completed one mission on his own for example)
- You can finish a mission dead when playing with another player. As long as either one of you finishes the mission. However, if this is your first playthrough you should be aware that finishing a mission dead may have the nasty side effect that you won't unlock the mission achievement matching that mission. This won't affect your Hardcore achievement.
-Most missions can be completed just as you've completed them in normal mode. They shouldn't be a real pain in the ass once you get the drill but there are a couple of tips that make things easier for you.
Mission 3: United we Stand. Make sure that you grab one of the APC's before climbing the hill to elimate the spotter team and capture the village. If the USMC casualties aren't beyond the 1/3 you will get an additional APC in the village later. Your mission is to defend a barn ( where the red smoke is), put one of the APC's behind that barn and put an NPC in the turret seat. He will automatically kill everyone that will try to flank you there in his relatively safe panzer. If you've positioned him right he should be safe from AT gunners. The 2nd APC should be located facing the door of one of the buildings, There is a garbage container between two buildings. The building that is next to the barn is this building i am talking about ( one AT gunner was in there). Your two tanks are relatively safe from AT gunners now. Put your third teammate on the turret facing the field, near the red smoke. You are going to position yourself inside that building next to the barn you have to defend. And wait for what is to come. It has a backdoor where you can occasionally take a look because enemies will try to enter from there or get stuck in the wall. All in all your safe there (unless a helicopter blew up that building)
Powder trail, run to the skirmish and take out the PLA that are fighting with the US marines. After that grab a jeep and instead of taking the road, take the field. Use your map to make your way around the small village filled with AT gunners , drive straight to the broken buildings where your checkpoint is. Drive further to the treeline near the building at the foot of the AAA hill. Take out the gunners. Do not use your Mortar strike here. Targets can be picked off pretty easily with the QBZ95 (Markman) that can be found in the crates. Drive up with your jeep again, now the same strategy goes here. Don't drive straight to the crash side but take a longer route to avoid the enemies. Once you are at the crash site, take cover behind the trees. Take out the MG positions and once you're about to enter the village, throw your mortat strike on that. You can decide to actually clear that village and simply take the pilots with you for a walk in the park or you run through the field ( after throwing the mortar strike), approach the building where the pilots are from the back and run to the extraction point.
Trumpets sound, use your artillery strikes on the AT gunners first. One set of AT gunners is visually blocked by a treeline but crouch around the field a bit, on the right side of tree barrier cover thingy, use your binoculars to spot the sandbags through the trees, throw your mortar strikes on it. You'le have unlimited mortar strikes untill the tanks are dead so save those for last. Once you did this, grab your jeep again, drive up to the little facilitity with oil tanks , take out the AT gunners on the other end of the field . Once you have killed those you can ignore all the other targets. There is an NPC squad doing that for you, instead grab your jeep again and drive further along the road. Check your map to make sure you stop before you reach the AT outposts along the road. Stop to take them out from a distance and once you did that succesfully you should get an additional achievement [ Keep'em Rolling] . Now, don't follow the road, check your map to find out that the monastary is actually on one of the highest hills that is part of a larger line of hills. Technically you are supposed to follow this route on the right side of that line , where you will encouter a couple of groups of enemies, the occasional mortar strike and all the good stuff. Instead go to the left side. It's a slightly longer walk and you will encounter one bunker with one group of enemies that I admit I spotted too late ( Enemy support gunner at 0 metres ...YAY), but now that's i've made you aware of this you can be cautious and take them out easily. You won't be encoutering anymore hostiles untill you reach the third spotter team, make your way from the third team to the second, from there to the first. You work in the opposite direction. The 3rd and 2nd spotter team won't be marked untill you've eliminated the first one but it's easy. They are the guys standing around that mobile solar dish thing ( a big stick with a plate on it and wheels). Put your buddies on Fire at will and take out everyone in the monastary one by one. Now that you are coming from the back their nice defensive positions are all useless so they will usually come running for you...all around the same corner. It's like a turkey shoot.
-The last mission. Assaulting the naval base is a pointless waste of time. After destroying the AAA vehicles, grab a helicopter, fly straight towards the ocean, make a fairly big turn and approach the naval base from the sea. Fly over the naval base once and you should get the "Objective Completed"marker.
[Achievement Hand-out ability]
Those who have fought through the game as hosts of the lobby now have a precious possession:That being a savefile that instantly loads the credits cinematic upon loading. If they start up a co-op lobby they are able to select that savefile. Upon loading it; EVERY person in the lobby will recieve the Hardcore Achievement, regardless if they have ever even played a single minute on hardcore.
A couple of notes regarding this:
- Only a person who has earned the achievement legit AND was the host of the lobby that earned the achievement is able to pass the achievement along. If you recieved the achievement from someone else or were the co-op buddy who wasn't the host then you will not have the ability to hand out the achievement.
- The person who wishes to recieve the achievement for free must have completed the game on normal difficulty.