Difficulty is a choice players are prompted to choose before starting the main game or sometimes side games. Usually a “Normal” difficulty represents the standard difficulty and the way the game is meant to be played and experienced.
Difficulty choices weren't formally implemented right away or used a standard across titles for a while.
The first Resident Evil did not have hard mode, so Director's Cut was developed to further challenge players.
Resident Evil 2’s original Japan release was found to be too difficult so a regular and a rebalanced “easier” setting called “USA Mode” was added to later versions.
Resident Evil 0, the GameCube remake of Resident Evil, Resident Evil Survivor, and Resident Evil Dead Aim all used a straightforward method of re-calculating numbers from picks up for ink ribbons and ammo to damage taken/given rather than rearranging item placement or event.
Resident Evil 4 and onwards most games difficulty worked in tandem with the Rank mechanic to dictate changes, and again mostly not changing item placement or events. Resident Evil 5 and onwards uses more standard "Easy/Normal/Hard" settings seen in gaming in general.
Resident Evil (1996)
- Very Easy (REmake)
- Hard (REmake)
Resident Evil 2 (1998)
- Leon S. Kennedy and Claire will start out with an additional 120 HP, more gun bullets and three First Aid Sprays once they reach the Item Box.
- The only other difference is that when you use the Ink Ribbon to save your progress, it will be colored white versus being blue or red.
In Resident Evil 2, Nightmare Mode and Expert Mode are available only for the Dreamcast And Windows Ports. Although the Rookie Mode was featured in the Gamecube and PlayStation versions, Nightmare Mode and Expert Mode are missing for unknown reasons. In this mode, enemies will cause a lot more damage, ammo and health items will become a lot more scarce, and usually, with certain monsters, your health can be taken from Fine to Danger in one hit. This happens more often with the Lickers.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Easy: In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Jill Valentine will starts with a First Aid Kit, an Assault Rifle and two clips of Assault Rifle Ammo. Also, all weapons are available at the Item Box (except the Grenade Launcher, Gatling Gun and Rocket Launcher). Ink Ribbons are also affected; their amount is infinite, allowing the player to save as much as they want. However, Special Weapons parts (which players can obtain by defeating the Nemesis-T Type) are not available.
Hard: In Resident Evil 3, Jill will start with only a Handgun and the Reloading Tool. In the Item box, only the Knife is available. However, Special Weapons are available after collecting parts obtained by defeating the Nemesis-T Type. There are only 8 inventory slots (but after Carlos Oliveira gives you the "Suspender", there will be 10 slots). Some other items are also obtainable by defeating Nemesis.
Resident Evil CODE:Veronica
Difficulty select is only available in Japanese versions.
- Very Easy
Resident Evil 0
Resident Evil: Outbreak
In Resident Evil Outbreak, it is unlocked after completing the Decisions, Decisions scenario. 2000 points are needed to purchase it. In Outbreak File #2, It is unlocked after completing the "end of the road" for the same price.
Very Hard: It's unlocked in both titles by completing all five main scenarios in Hard mode.
- Items are very scarce, and most of them will be replaced by key items.
- Enemies are at their strongest; players will often find themselves run out of ammunition should they engage enemies in the game, even down to the more common zombies. This prompts a more evasive and cunning playstyle instead.
- Puzzles are harder to figure and require slightly more backtracking compared to easier modes.
- Some event checklist are exclusive to Very Hard mode, thus players are required to play the mode through to achieve 100% checklist.
- A supplementary option dubbed "Nightmare" can be unlocked in File#2 which further increases enemy aggression and damage; rendering most zombies as hyper zombies, whilst increasing the enemies' overall damage output.
Outbreak series feature starkly different experience in this mode. A prime example being during the level Outbreak, in which Bob becomes a zombie and will attack Mark instead of committing suicide as in easier modes.
On the mainline entries, the mode often forced players to be quick on their feet and adapt to a more aggressive composition of enemies ergo their AI behavior.
Oftentimes, the mode punishes players to near-death state with a single hit for any form of mistake.
Nightmare can be purchased in the Store for 10000 Points after Finishing each Scenario in the game on the Very Hard difficulty. In this mode, the only thing that changes in the gameplay is that healing items heal only 75% of their usual percentage and enemies can inflict 30% more damage to the player character. As an interesting addition, it can be used with any level of difficulty, which keeps the same location for items and enemies in their specific difficulty without changing. For very experienced players, one should try to combine Nightmare mode with Very Hard difficulty and achieve a No Damage Taken bonus; This rewards players with more than 10000 points for the collection.
Resident Evil 4
Successfully beating the game once on the default Normal mode will unlock Professional mode. The difficulty is selected when starting a new game and can not be changed mid-game or for a New Round.
Easy Mode is not available on any NTSC console versions of the game. It was later added to the HD PC release. All PAL/NTSC-J console versions feature Easy Mode.
- The player will start out with a Shotgun along with the standard supplies.
- Enemies are weaker and do less damage.
- Ammo is a lot more common.
- The key room in Chapter 3-1 is inaccessible, so players can go directly into Salazar's Castle.
- The Maze in Chapter 3-2 is inaccessible, thus the player can proceed to the door to continue the game.
- The King's Grail room and the clocktower in Chapter 4-1 are also inaccessible. The King's Grail is already in its place,
- The lever inside the clocktower is relocated to the area outside of it, and there is a barrier blocking the stairs to the entrance of the clocktower.
- In the same chapter, there will be only one Garrador in the room where two would normally appear.
- The spiked ceiling trap room in Chapter 4-3 will not activate, allowing the player to continue right away, although the parasites will still stay.
- The Tactical Vest is available.
- All button prompts give the player plenty of time to react and do pushes.
- Adaptive Difficulty makes the game more challenging later on such as increasing enemy attack damage as well as decreasing ammo drop value.
- Enemies have base health and do a normal amount of damage.
- Enemy attack power and AI is set by default.
- All button prompts have a base amount of time but require quicker reactions and more pushes;
- Ammo drops are set to default.
- The player does not start out with a Shotgun along with the standard supplies.
- The key room in Chapter 3-1 can be accessed.
- The Maze in Chapter 3-2 can be accessed.
- The King's Grail room and the clocktower in Chapter 4-1 can be also accessed.
- The lever inside the clocktower must be relocated instead of going straight to the castle.
- In the same chapter, there are 2 Garradors instead of one.
- The spiked ceiling trap room in Chapter 4-3 will activate instead of allowing the player to continue right away.
- Unlike Easy the game will have Adaptive Difficulty.
- Rank is set to 10.
- Enemies are much more resilient, making it ill-advisable to attempt to kill them all. They also deal more damage.
- All enemies have increased health, as well as higher resistance to weapons;
- Enemy attack power and AI is increased: they will attack faster and move faster towards the player;
- Ammo drops from enemies are less common and are replaced by money (although the money dropped is slightly higher than in the other modes);
- All button prompts require much quicker reactions and even more pushes;
- In all re-releases following the Gamecube version, the Tactical Vest is not available on Professional mode.
- Instead of Adaptive Difficulty, the game will stay the same in terms of enemy attack power and AI.
Resident Evil 5
- The player has enough time to perform QTE after a cutscene.
- Enemies deal less damage.
- Enemies are weaker.
- Some mini-bosses (Chainsaw Majini, for example) do not wake up after players defeat them.
- The vehicle loses less health.
- Ammo and items are a lot more abundant.
- The player has some time to perform QTE after a cutscene.
- Enemies deal base damage.
- Enemies have base health.
- Some mini-bosses like Chainsaw Majini do not wake up after players defeat them.
- The vehicle will some health when damaged.
- Ammo and items are at a normal supply.
- The player has a shorter time to perform QTE.
- Enemies are much stronger and will deal more damage.
- The Chainsaw Majini is able to attack a second time after you defeat him, this time in an enraged frenzy that attacks anything in sight.
- The vehicle will lose more health when damaged.
- Ammo and items are less common.
Professional Beating the game on Veteran mode will unlock Professional mode
- Enemies stagger much less. It only takes a second or two for a KO'd enemy to stand up again;
- Enemies melee weapon attacks inflict ten times the amount of damage.; Hand-to-hand attacks are less severe, but still deal increased damage.;
- When in Dying status, the player has less than 3 seconds to be revived/revive your partner;
- You inflict only 85% of usual damage;
- In single-player games, enemies like The Majini will target only you; ignoring your AI partner throughout the majority of the gameplay and is only targeted in certain situations. For example, in Chapter 4-2 the worship area, the AI Sheva is needed to retrieve one of the slates in order to continue navigating the area successfully, however, the enemy will attack your partner.
- All fixed ammo/grenade placements on the map are deleted, but healing items stay;
- Herbs are no longer dropped by enemies, instead replaced by money/ammo;
- Button prompts require quicker reaction time and more complicated combinations, as well as instant failure upon pressing the wrong button.
- All money picked up is doubled in value (e.g. Gold Bars are worth 6,000 compared to the usual 3,000)
- The player has the least amount of time to perform a QTE compared to the other difficulties.
- Ammo and items are even less common.
In the 3DS version, "Hell", designed to 'Test the limit of your sanity' as the difficulty describes. In Hell mode, applied game changes. Hell
- Enemies do more damage and are also able to take more damage
- The wire puzzle gets more complicated compared to Normal and Casual.
- Hunters have a high probability of doing their Throat-slit move, which instantly kills the player.
- Players also find Ammo Bags that did not exist in Normal or Casual to expand the ammo limit.
- Along with Ammo Bags, players also find Illegal Custom Parts which did not exist in Normal or Casual.
In the HD Port of Revelations, Hell mode is replaced by “Infernal”. The description is unchanged. In Infernal, applied game changes:
- Enemies do more damage and are also able to withstand more damage before dying.
- Enemies are placed differently as well as powerful enemies being put in earlier chapters.
- Items that were made easier to find are now hidden.
- Ammunition and other items are very scarce.
- Players are able to find Ammo Bags which did not exist in Normal or Casual.
- Along with Ammo Bags, they are also able to find Legendary Custom Parts, which exist only in Infernal.
Resident Evil 6
Professional and No Hope mode were unlocked by default after the December 17th, 2012 update.
- Damage taken
- Damage dealt
- QTEs will be performed automatically (explained by the game).
- Characters can bump into walls from this difficulty and above, and they lose a small amount of combat gauge.
- Enemies deal high damage, taking at least 2 health blocks from a clean hit and possibly more if players fail any proceeding QTE grab prompts. It's not uncommon for players to fall into Dying state if they fail said QTE.
- Enemy AIs are far more persistent
- They also get up quickly after being knocked down.
- Ammunition is in short supply
- Enemies deal the highest damage, often taking at least 3 health blocks in a single hit and will put players in Dying state if players fail QTE prompts from any follow-up attacks.
- Skills are disabled
- Ranged enemies have far better accuracy.
- Unlike in previous modes where death respawns players to an earlier checkpoint in full health, continuing from death in this mode respawns the player in their most recent state. I.e. if the player hits a checkpoint with only 2 health blocks prior to death, they will respawn to said checkpoint with said 2 blocks of health.
- Skill Points that appear are worth double.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 has four difficulty modes, Casual, Normal, Survival, and No Escape. No Escape is only unlocked after Survival is finished, the other three difficulties are unlocked by default.
Higher difficulties will change these stats:
- Enemies will deal more damage
- Player has less stamina and will tire out from running more often (dodging is recommended to not trigger this tired phase)
- It will take longer to recover from lost stamina (3 seconds on Casual, 5 seconds on all other difficulties)
- Enemy spawn and number will change, more enemies will appear and higher tier enemies can replace lower-tier ones the higher the difficulty is
- Enemies will take longer to get stunned by attacks / blinded by light
- Player has less health
- The player will find less ammo from breakable boxes or hidden items and find more treasures instead
- Sub-weapons deal less damage but stay the same from Normal to No Escape
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard has 3 difficulties in the main game: Easy, Normal, and Madhouse. Madhouse is only unlocked after completing the game for the first time or by purchasing certain DLCs.
In the main game, Madhouse changes the game in a far more different approach compared to the previous difficulties, making the gameplay much more intense:
- Enemies are far more stronger and formidable, using their stronger attacks much often.
- Aside from the aforementioned stronger enemies, the player will now encounter more of them.
- Some scripted events where enemies will spawn after obtaining Key Items or unlocking new areas are slightly changed.
- Enemies that will be encountered later on in the game such as Quick Molded are now encountered much earlier.
- Saving in Video Recorders now requires Cassette Tape to save data.
- More Antique Coins are scattered around the game's locations, with some being in objects that the player can examine.
- Specific Key Items will now require Antique Coins to be unlocked, as opposed to tracking them in rooms.
- The Main Hall now has bird cages, with some being Power Up Coins to bolster the player's stats.
- Items in the game are harder to find such as weapon ammunition or resources.
- Separating Agent is much more frequent in this mode, forcing the player to sacrifice their resources wisely for the sake of crafting another resource.
- Less frequent auto saves.
Professional mode forces the player to start with a Tactical Knife while their other main weaponries can be retrieved in selected locations.
Joe Must Die mode features a unique item called the Throwing Knife where its sole purpose is to simply lure enemies or set up traps due to explosive canisters and Tripwires being frequent in this mode.
Resident Evil 2 (2019)
The Resident Evil 2 remake has three difficulty modes: Assisted, Standard, and Hardcore.
- The player has aim assist.
- Enemies are slightly weaker.
- The player will be able to regenerate a certain amount of health without the need for healing items.
- Enemies are tougher and stronger.
- Manual saving is done through ink ribbons and auto-saving is disabled entirely.
Resident Evil 3 (2020)
The Resident Evil 3 remake has five difficulty modes: Assisted, Standard, Hardcore, Nightmare, and Inferno. Nightmare is unlocked by completing Hardcore while Inferno is unlocked by completing Nightmare.
- Slightly weaker enemies
- Aim assist
- Health recovers periodically
- Begin the game with the assault rifle
- More ammunition received when crafting
Aim assist can be turned off through the controls menu.
- Stronger enemies
- Ammunition and items are scarcer
- Less ammunition received when crafting
- Enemies are more aggressive
- Enemy attacks are far more damaging
- Enemies and items have different placement locations
- Enemies are stronger than they were in Nightmare mode
- Less item box and typewriters
- Auto-save is disabled