Next thing we knew we were over South America courtesy of an agency we couldn’t officially name, working for a guy who sent units like ours to early graves every day. Technically, our luck was improving. — Preston Marlowe
The squad starts out in a river, and follows the path into a small village, where numerous buildings are burning and several militia soldiers lie dead. Searching through a large building, Sweetwater and Redford discover a trail that leads to Aguire, but before the squad can follow it, they are attacked by a force of Militia, supported by a PBL and a soldier armed with an M2 Carl Gustav. Taking heavy fire, Marlowe finds another M2 Carl Gustav and engages the PBL, destroying it. After finding an old wooden boat for transport, Preston drives the squad down the river, with militiamen shadowing the boat along the way as a thunderstorm breaks overhead. After the boat runs aground in shallow water, the squad disembarks, but the militia launches an ambush from the jungle ahead of them. The team pushes through into a small hamlet, and rendezvous with a weapon crate dropped by Flynn to provide heavy firepower. The team then engages more militiamen, and acquire a PBL and head towards a logging camp, where the militia has dug in with heavy support, including an M939 truck and a KORD heavy machine gun, yet the squad pushes through into a small village. Engaged on both sides by militia units, the squad defeats the threat and advances forwards into another part of the jungle, hot on Aguire’s trail.
- The skies are dark, and the village is completely devoid of any enemy forces. I’ll take this time to explore the HUD: on the bottom left, we have the mini-map, which locates objective waypoints, the player’s position, the squad’s position and any weapons crates and ammunition resupply crates. The elements on the lower right should be obvious, with the larger number denoting the rounds left in the equipped weapon’s magazine, and the number of rounds in reserve. Players may also carry up to four grenades.
- The M2CG rocket launcher is used exclusively in the campaign. Effective against all enemy vehicles, the projectile arcs slightly when fired, requiring one to compensate at longer ranges, and has a slow reload time.
- Players with a bit of patience and inquisitiveness will find collectible weapons and M-COM stations scattered around the maps. Here, I came across the SPAS-12, a pump-action shotgun that can be found near a shack. Players may opt to play through the campaign once at break-neck speed, and a second time to find all of the collectible weapons and/or M-COM stations on the maps.
- The boat ride here is one of the more tense parts of the mission, as unknown shadows keep cropping up here and there. Pay them no mind, and proceed until the boat runs aground.
- The XM8 rifle is pretty much amazing at short to medium ranges, even against an ambush that I totally knew was coming. On the first playthrough of this game, the XM8, paired with a shotgun (and later, a sniper rifle of some kind) is sufficiently versatile to get players through the entire campaign.
- I opt to choose the SPAS-12 again after picking up the weapons crate. First introduced here, the weapons crate carry all of the weapons the player has collected up until this point. Thus, players wishing to mix up gameplay on a subsequent play-through can opt to wield different weapons and experience the game differently.
- It’s my turn to drive a boat with a mounted grenade launcher: once I reach the end of this creek, I prefer to hang back behind the rapids and use the grenade launcher to clear out the entire camp.
- People claim that shooters are fully immersive, but I have yet to meet someone who would willingly run through knee-deep water wearing combat gear in reality, when they would do so to cut across a map more efficiently in a game. Until we get to virtual reality and tactile sensations of the gaming would, games cannot be considered to be truly immersive. With that said, it’s still fun to do crazy stuff in games.
- I totally found a SCAR-L at the logging camp, one of the few compact assault rifles in the game. Equipped with a suppressor, it is considered as a submachine gun in the game and has low recoil.
- Apparently, there is a Type-88 rifle with red dot sights on this mission. I need to go back and find it in the future: the scoped version is useful at longer ranges, but having a semi-automatic marksman rifle for use at medium ranges would be a good way to pair the rifle with a machine gun or shotgun. My preferred style insofar is to always carry one scoped weapon and one weapon with a reflex sight or iron sights.
Strangely enough, it is raining where I am right now as I write this. More so than any other of the missions in Bad Company 2, Heart of Darkness and Upriver are perhaps my two favourite missions. It was a cold, rainy August day in late August when I got to this mission at my friend’s place, and as I was progressing through the levels, the mists outside gradually turned to rain. By the time I reached Heart of Darkness, the rain was already audible. However, this was in part owing to the fact that the opening of the mission was so quiet, giving rise to an eerie feeling not seen in very many other modern military shooters. The shooting aspect of Bad Company 2‘s campaign is immensely satisfying, and introduces several new weapons, including the campaign’s only rocket launcher, the M2 Carl Gustav. As I did two years ago, it took me around five minutes to shoot down the boat, before proceeding to the next phase of the mission; I am rather more used to rocket propelled weapons that do not arc. Once the enemy boat has been neutralised, a short trip on a boat ensues: the discussion Bad Company has here is fun to listen to, giving the player a sense of immersion. When I played Battlefield 3, the dry dialogue lacked the same human touch, making it harder to really get into the story. Of course, this is entirely a personal matter, and as the first of the jungle missions, Heart of Darkness succeeds in bringing to life the mystery behind the scalar weapon. By this point three years ago, I was riveted to the campaign, and as the rain became heavier, I would complete the mission to move on to Upriver. In the present, I find myself sharing the same feelings as when I first played this; the only exception is that the game looks absolutely stunning at 1080p.