14. New Game+/Ranger Hardcore
New Game+/Ranger Hardcore - Any Ending
By this point, you've already unlocked, or will unlock the following achievements during this playthrough:
Unlocked by 14,071 tracked gamers (36% - TA Ratio = 1.65)
Unlocked by 10,459 tracked gamers (27% - TA Ratio = 1.91)
Unlocked by 4,764 tracked gamers (12% - TA Ratio = 2.84)
For your third and final playthrough, choose New Game Plus again, put on the modifiers Real Time Weather and My Weapons, and select Ranger Hardcore difficulty. Once you choose Ranger Hardcore you can choose between “minimal interface” (limited HUD) or “full dive” (no HUD). Choose minimal interface.
Real Time Weather changes the in-game day/night cycle from 2 hours to a full 24 hours. This means that once it turns nighttime (or you sleep until night) that you’ll have plenty of time to complete the missions while it's dark out.
Playing missions at night, as opposed to during the day, is very useful on Ranger Hardcore because it significantly helps to sneak by enemies (both humans and mutants) which is the most efficient way to complete Ranger Hardcore, here's why:
- All enemies are significantly stronger and have increased awareness of your presence
- Resources and ammunition are very scarce, and you have a decreased reserve for each
- HUD is limited, and the targeting reticle is disabled
- There's no quick-save feature (there are still checkpoints, and you'll obtain them rather frequently)
- Weapons degrade quicker and cost more to clean (which you'll use to your advantage for an achievement)
- Workbenches are limited across all levels
As a quick note, while all of my suit upgrades carried over in all of my New Game+ playthroughs while using "My Weapons", many users have reported that suit upgrades did not carry over for their playthroughs. If you don't have all of your suit upgrades carry over to your Ranger Hardcore playthrough, you'll definitely want to recollect some of them. Here are the suit upgrades I strongly recommend you use on Ranger Hardcore: Compass, Ammo pouches, Extended gas mask filter (for The Dead City), Extra Bright Flashlight, Armored Glass
The ending you get on this playthrough does not matter. However, since it's best to avoid enemy encounters on this difficulty, I strongly advise you to play as stealthily as possible. Basically, you should play the way you did during your first playthrough, but without veering off the main path to grab collectables. By doing this, you'll likely earn enough moral points for the "good" ending, but it doesn't really matter.
Below is a list of what you should do for each mission.
- Stick to your objective to get through the missions quickly. By this point, you're probably pretty familiar with when/where the objectives are and how to quickly complete them
- As mentioned above, play at night to help avoid enemy encounters
- Loot as much as you can (dead bodies, corpses, lockboxes, lockers, etc.) because resources and ammo are scarce on this difficulty
- You'll always want to have 1-2 Molotov's in stock for when you encounter the armored enemies. Direct impacts with Molotov's deal a ton of damage
- Use the Railgun as often as possible. It's very powerful and you can craft ammo for it (steel balls) at any time via your backpack
This mission isn't too difficult and is very straight forward. Once you rescue Anna, use stealth to rescue Yermak. Once the firefight ensues, always use cover and take out one or two enemies at a time.
Remember, you're better off playing conservatively rather than being exposed for a long period of time, dying, and having to restart from the last checkpoint.
For the first section, when you bring the boat through the village and meet Katja and Nastya, make it through undetected.
Once you meet Krest, make sure to pick up the Molotov cocktail that's on the desk in his room. You don't want to use it during this mission, but you'll want it for the next mission when you fight the armored enemy.
After you find and save Anna, your next objective will be to head back to the Aurora and talk to Miller. Just before you reach the train, jump into the water a few times to get your weapons dirty. Once that's done, head into the Aurora and sit through the scene with Miller and Krest until you gain a checkpoint.
After that, head down the stairs to the workbench. Clean your weapons, reload your checkpoint, then rinse and repeat. Since it takes a lot of chemical resources to clean weapons on Ranger Hardcore, and you've already made decent progress on the achievement from your previous two playthroughs, it won't take long to unlock:
Unlocked by 2,262 tracked gamers (6% - TA Ratio = 4.12)
After that will be the terminal section where you find the trolley. You should have a lot of knowledge and experience by this point to speedrun the path and quickly get through this section. If you're quick enough, you can sprint by all humanimals without attacking any.
When you're back at the Aurora, spend whatever resources you have left on a Molotov or two for the next mission. You don't need to worry about ammo because you'll play the remainder of this mission in stealth.
For the boat and bridge sections at the end, you'll want to take the exact same thing you did on your first playthrough. There's no penalty per se for getting spotted and triggering a firefight, but there's a lot of enemies and you won't have an abundance of ammo.
For the beginning sections when you're attacked by Cannibals, take as much cover as possible since some Cannibals have guns. When you're ascending the elevator with your crew, you can hide behind them or the panels on the elevator to avoid getting shot. Make sure to grab the ammo on the elevator as well.
For the next few sections, try to use a minimal amount of bullets to kill the Cannibals. Most of them die in just one or two shots anyway if you land a headshot. As you progress, make sure to look around for lockboxes that contain ammo.
When you get to the armored enemy, land a direct impact with a Molotov then immediately take cover. Once he charges up the minigun and shoots you, stay behind the cover for a few seconds. Once it stops, you'll have a small opportunity to land some shots or get another Molotov hit in before he starts up the minigun again.
At the very end of the mission when the large horde of Cannibals comes swarming after you as you escape on the train, don't bother wasting any ammo on them.
You'll want to play this mission like your Iron Mode playthrough, sticking to your objectives and not worrying about any side quests. As usual, make sure you have a few Molotov cocktails in stock because you'll have two armored enemies to kill during this mission.
Once you have the Bukhanka and reach the cave, sneak through the cave without detecting enemies. Again, there's no penalty for getting caught, but you're better off just saving ammo. You've probably realized by now that you die fairly quickly on this difficulty when you're shot at, so it's best to just always avoid a firefight.
For the underground section with the spiders, always keep your flashlight charged. I would constantly keep my lighter out as well so that spiders weren't much of an issue. Furthermore, don't waste your ammo on the spiders as you're running through to retrieve the documents. Just shine your light on them for a couple of seconds to make them scurry away. You should also be on the lookout for yellow lock boxes on the wall as there are several of them with a decent amount of resources and ammunition.
After you retrieved the documents and get back to the elevator, you need to wait for a minute or so until the elevator reaches you. During this time, you'll be attacked by a lot of spiders and will need to kill most of them. Just take your time and use med-kits when necessary.
For the cave section with Damir, you'll want to follow the same path you did in the first playthrough. This means taking the bucket-lift up, then sneaking your way to the bridge up top to free the slaves without being spotted. Again, it's not a huge deal if you're spotted as long as you can sprint to the lever without dying.
After this is when you're ambushed in the sandstorm. I died a lot during this section, but the best strategy seems to be to go the left side pathway and slowly proceed forward and pick off as many enemies as you can. After you get a few kills, the sandstorm dies down and your visibility becomes much clearer. This is when you should take advantage of the flank and get a direct impact Molotov hit on the armored enemy then pepper him with your Railgun. Make sure you save at least one Molotov for the armored enemy at the end of the mission.
After you clear this section, make sure you go around and loot every enemy body and weapon. Also, make sure to hop on the back of the enemy trucks, which contain loot boxes.
For the ending, you'll again want to use the strategy from your first playthrough. This means sneaking through stealthily because there is a lot of enemies who will likely kill you if you're spotted.
After the scenes with the Baron, I recommend taking cover at the doorways on either side of you. When the armored enemy spawns in, make sure you land a direct impact with a Molotov then spray him with your Railgun.
For all enemy camps, follow the exact same path you did on your first playthrough. However, don't be afraid to shoot enemies with your crossbow to get through the mission quicker, especially if you're about to be spotted.
When you do silently kill enemies, make sure to pick up their weapon(s) so that you have a more powerful gun to use than just the crossbow for the bear fight.
Remember to skip the first bear fight by waiting for the bear to charge after you, then immediately sprint to the rope and cut it again to drop the ladder (make sure you at least pick up the explosive arrows and Molotov for the second bear fight).
It's very unlikely you'll successfully make it through the second boat section without getting spotted. Do the same thing you did on your first playthrough by waiting for the enemy on the bridge to walk away, then dock your boat and enter the fortress. Then, just sneak through and kill enemies. This is fairly easy to accomplish with just the crossbow.
For the bear fight, you should have plenty of useful ammunition and equipment to kill it somewhat quickly. Hit it with a Molotov, use your explosive arrows and guns, and dodge out of the way whenever it charges you. The most important thing is to take your time with the fight and constantly be moving, while also maximizing your damage at every opportunity.
The Dead City
Before leaving the Aurora, make sure you have plenty of gas mask filters, as you will be going through a lot of them. This mission really isn't very difficult because there's not a lot of enemy sections, considering the length of the mission. Make sure you swap out the Helsing for the Railgun too.
Make sure to keep an eye on your filters. There's several stashes and lootboxes with filters, along with resources if you need to craft some.
For the section with the Blind One's, you basically have three options:
- 1) Sneak by them without killing them (slower method; recommended)
- 2) Sprint through the entire section, hopefully evading their attacks (faster, yet riskier method)
- 3) Kill them all so you don't have to worry about them (not recommended; takes a lot to kill just one)
After that, it's a straight shot to the end and playing through the cutscenes until you unlock:
Unlocked by 1,297 tracked gamers (3% - TA Ratio = 5.45)
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