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This article may seem complete to the untrained eye, but the gaps in information are still large enough for this elite team of Panauan Ninjas to hide inside of.
In game trailers and similar videos, the front has also been called "frontline", "front lines" and more. It's actual name is probably just "front", since that's what the game seems to call it. In real life, these terms are more or less interchangeable, so it doesn't really matter.
The front is marked on the map with a red line that is always at the edge of a province. Along most of the province borders it's a dotted line, but there is always at least 1 border with a continuous line. This indicates those borders where the player can choose to expand the area of the Army of Chaos control next - to the next province.
The front is usually in the middle of a flat area like a desert or grassland. It is also often on a river, with the Army of Chaos and the Black Hand on either side. The line can also exist inside of towns, or on roads.
In any front line battle scene, the following details can be noted:
- There will be the presence of Czech hedgehogs (similar to the ones near roadblocks from Just Cause 2).
- The ground will be blacked from all the explosive projectiles.
- On the front line you may find artillery turrets/guns (for both the Black Hand and the Army of Chaos).
- Debris that have become retro fitted into fortifications.
- Both sides have infantry, mounted weapons (such as miniguns) and vehicles.
- The Black Hand side has all three types of tanks and infantry, most which are hiding behind fortifications and cover.
- The Army of Chaos side has only light Cavalry Armored Truck APCs and blind firing rebels, some hiding behind improvised cover but most just standing straight up.
- Both sides have some temporary buildings.
- On the Black Hand side these are big black boxes with numbers and doors on them. Some have a rotating device on the roof and some have wheels under them, but they can not be moved.
- On the Army of Chaos side, these are usually shipping containers and similar improvised shelters, often partly made out of large traffic signs.
- Both sides have some fortifications.
- On the Black Hand side there are sandbag covers, portable blast walls, and improvised cover such as steel containers and boxes. The Black Hand's fortifications are strong and sometimes (in-game) indestructible.
- On the Army of Chaos side they use traffic signs, wooden boxes and even washing machines for cover. The Army of Chaos' cover is weak and easily destructible.
- The player can find a wide variety of military vehicles to hijack. In addition to this every region you capture will unlock a new vehicle or weapon at the supply drop.
- Army of Chaos rebels wielding Zopilote Sniper Rifles and Anti-Tanque-1 RPGs are more common here.
Something interesting to note is that the constant battle on the front is mostly aesthetic. If the player focuses on what the combatants are actually doing (without interfering or getting heat), they will see that there are effectively zero casualties on either side. Both the Army of Chaos and the Black Hand will blindly fire towards the opposite front, and rarely do they ever hit anything. Be it footsoldiers, snipers, RPG units, combatants manning mounted machine guns (miniguns), or tank operators, combatants on both sides never aim for a single target. For them, the target is anywhere along the entire opposite front and the areas surrounding it. Soldiers/rebels manning anti-aircraft guns are often seen shooting at the sky above the opposite front. The explosive rounds will automatically detonate (as though they have some sort of proximity fuse) above the front without actually doing anything.
It seems as though NPC combatants on the front are programmed to shoot at the opposite side to make it look like a battle, but not actually advance as that would undermine the player's game progress.
If Rico interferes, however, combatants on both sides will snap out of their "aesthetic battle" mode. They'll stop shooting at the sky and the ground and start rushing each other, and when shooting they will aim at a specific enemy target.
Once it turns into a proper battle, it normally becomes obvious that the whichever side has more competently operated tanks should easily win in that area (usually the Black Hand), but the AI is not competent. The Black Hand often just parks their tank(s) and shoots at the rebels from where they are parked. Usually, the tanks will pulverize the rebels - who keep respawning as more and more are killed - before they can use explosive weapons. However, if Rico decides to help the rebels, the Black Hand will focus their firepower on Rico, giving AoC RPG operators and rebels with grenades a chance to do some damage to the tanks. Helicopters are seen as well, but they too hover so low that they eventually get destroyed by small arms fire, or more often crash into something (heli-to-heli collisions are more than common, due to their peculiar AI) and blow up.
On the frontline, Rico's heat escalates much faster, due to the already-present battle. Something extremely unrealistic is that Black Hand reinforcements will spawn in anywhere. Realistically, it is only reasonable if they arrive on the Black Hand side of the front and advance on Rico. However, the game's strange heat system makes the Black Hand immediately spawn less than a hundred meters away from the player, in any direction. So when the player triggers heat, Black Hand reinforcements may show up behind the AoC front, enclosing the rebels in a pocket. Obviously, this is not possible in real life since in order to get behind the AoC, the Black Hand will have to get past the rebel's frontline, which is impossible unless they advance. One could argue that in-universe, the reinforcements might be special forces of some sort that deployed behind the lines, but that's overthinking it. Plus, the Black Hand doesn't have a special forces unit that can be encountered in the game.
Civilians and civilian vehicles will not be present near the front, neither will they be present in no mans land (this is the area contested between the Black Hand and the Army of Chaos). However, if the front is on a road, they might spawn further away and drive to the front, if Rico follows them that way. These civilians will either turn around, or run away.
The nearest civilian settlements might at times seem empty, because the nearby sounds of fighting, or the occasional helicopters have scared them away. This happens when the front is near or in a settlement.
Advancing the front
Main article: Liberation.
The only way to liberate regions is to complete region strikes and advance the Front. To advance the Front, you must have enough squad reserves. To get squad reserves, the player must obtain chaos points. For more information, see Liberation.
Things to do on the front
While speedrunning the game, a player might not even notice that the front exists, but there are many things the player can do on the front.
- If you're looking for a giant battle with allies rather than one where it's Rico vs everyone else, the frontline is perfect. While it doesn't do anything to affect game progression, actually advancing the front by taking out the Black Hand and making it possible for Army of Chaos forces to advance into BH territory is a pretty fun thing to do.
- If for whatever reason you want high heat fast, going to the frontline and helping out the rebels will trigger the Black Hand within minutes.
- If you're looking for combat vehicles, handheld weapons, additional ammo or somewhat uncommon artillery pieces (such as the railgun artillery), the frontline is loaded with them.
- If for some reason you want a rebel weapon but don't want to kill a rebel to get one, rebels often get killed near the front. As a result, the frontline is filled with rebel weapons on the AoC side. However, keep in mind that all rebel weapons have a better Black Hand counterpart. For example, the SW2 Rodelero Rifle isn't too bad, but the Rodelero's counterpart - SW9 Assault Rifle - is more accurate, has a higher fire rate and has an under-barrel grenade launcher as Secondary Fire.
- See also: 200% completion list.
- "The front" is a real world term that refers to the line along which an enemy nation's army is being fought. Similarly, in the military, "the rear" refers to the area further inland that is considered safe from enemy action.
- It is theoretically possible to raise enough chaos points to gather squads without destroying Black Hand military infrastructure (i.e. fight in a battle like an old fashioned conventional army), although it is easier and more efficient to destroy chaos objects. This feat could be accomplished by constantly killing Black Hand members and destroying their vehicles.
- Doing this, however, will not be easy. If you start attacking the Black Hand, they will start attacking you back. Depending how far one is along the storyline, soldiers wielding SW9 Assault Rifles to AT7 RPGs start to appear at the front lines. As time goes on, helicopters from Firebrand Scout Choppers to Spectre Attack Helis to Bloodhound Siege Helis start to appear, making combat significantly more difficult. Tanks such as the heavily armored, well armed Warchief Assault Tank will arrive, and the highly lethal Longbow Cannon Truck armed with a powerful artillery gun will appear. In addition, if one is near water, Conquistador Warships start to appear, making combat ever more difficult.