Resident Evil 3: How to Change Difficulty and Unlock Nightmare and Inferno Mode

Resident Evil 3: How to Change Difficulty and Unlock Nightmare and Inferno Mode

We'll cover how to change and choose difficulty, either to make the game harder or easier.

While Resident Evil 3 gives some indication of what to expect when entering the game, there might be times where you want to make things a little trickier, or dial the difficulty down. Here we'll look at how to change the difficulty, and what you can expect from each difficulty.

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How to Change Difficulty in Resident Evil 3

There's ways to change difficulty both when starting a new game and when playing through, though there's limitations to the second option. We'll cover how to do both here, as well as what each difficulty does to gameplay.

Changing the difficulty makes for an entirely different experience. Choose carefully. | Joel Franey/USgamer, Capcom Co., LTD

All Difficulty Options

When starting a new campaign in Resident Evil 3, you'll have three difficulty modes, as listed below. You choose and change the difficulty here with no immediate penalty or restriction, so choose accordingly from these three options:

  1. Assisted
  2. Standard
  3. Hardcore
  4. Nightmare
  5. Inferno

Assisted difficulty mode gives numerous bonuses, such as aim assist, some passive health regeneration, weakens enemies, increases the ammunition made through crafting and also gives you a great big assault rifle from the beginning of the game.

Standard difficulty mode, predictably, doesn't do anything to the game. Enemies and challenges remain static, and you won't get any of the bonuses from Assisted difficulty.

Hardcore difficulty mode is pretty brutal, making enemies stronger, decreasing the amount of items found in the game, and decreasing the amount of ammo made through crafting.

Which Difficulty Should I Choose?

Your experience with the Resident Evil franchise and survival horror in general should probably dictate what difficulty you pick. Those who haven't played either much or at all should probably pick Assisted, whereas those who are a bit more experienced - such as playing through Resident Evil 2 - should go for Standard. Those who want a real challenge and are willing to suffer for their victory should go for Hardcore, in which every bullet is vital and you'll have to plan for every excursion.

How to Lower the Difficulty

You'll get the option to lower the difficulty if you die enough in the same area or to the same enemy, triggering after being killed between three and five times. Before respawning, the game will give you the option to make things easier for yourself, but be careful! The only way to undo this is to go back to an earlier save you created before you made the choice, or - if you haven't made such a save, or overwritten it - you'll have to restart the whole game.

How to Increase the Difficulty

While you can lower the difficulty by dying a few times, there's no way to raise the difficulty and make things harder for yourself after beginning the campaign, at least at time of writing. For a more challenging experience, you'll have to simply start a new game and pick Standard or Hardcore, depending on what you're playing on currently.

How to Unlock Nightmare and Inferno Difficulty Modes

You won't be able to choose them when you first start playing, but there are two other difficulties - Nightmare and Inferno mode, both of which unlock later on. If you complete the game in Hardcore, no matter your time or ranking, you'll unlock the option to replay in Nightmare mode, in which enemies are even more aggressive, do more damage, and item and zombie spawns are changed to make things even harder. Complete Nightmare mode and you'll unlock Inferno, the ultimate challenge. Inferno mode has all the drawbacks of Nightmare, but also deactivates autosave, reduces the number of save points in the game, and places new enemies in dangerous locations, such as putting Pale Heads in the Police Station or leaving enemies to wait for you at the bottom of ladders. It's truly the ultimate test, especially for those who still want to get S-Rank ratings.

Evil resides here at USgamer. Check out Caty's review of Resident Evil 3, or see Mat's report on the scariest mod available for the game.

Joel Franey

Guides Writer

Joel loves books, games, comics and drinks that make a person feel like they just got kicked in the head by a mule. He has a Masters in writing from Sussex, which he somehow got by writing about Superman. He is absolutely NOT three children in a long coat, so please stop asking.

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