As far as difficulty goes or dumbing down goes, I think its safe to say they haven't tried Ace mode yet.
Switching to Ace, which is unlocked upon completing the campaign, switches off the much maligned auto-heal feature.
That's not too bad for the fighter missions, more like classic AC, and you will still be able to take a couple of missile hits before going down.
On the other hand, Spooky becomes a lesson in frustration unless you memorise where every single SAM soldier spawns and taken them out immediately, whilst also ensuring your allies don't take too much damage.
Fortunately, its possible to squeak out an A rank on Elite for that mission.