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The difficulty is a setting that allows the player to influence the balance of gameplay in video games. It affects how challenging the game is to play, and usually run on a general scale of "easy", "medium", and "hard". Typically, the choice of difficulty affects various gameplay settings, including but not limited to the following: the damage output (from allies and/or enemies), and the Experience and money received from battle.
There are 3 difficulty options at the start of the game: Casual, Normal and Hard. Although it's possible to switch to or between Casual and Normal, Hard mode can only be selected during the beginning of the game.
Additionally, a Safety difficulty DLC can be downloaded for free.
The instances that differentiate the difficulty levels are the damage dealt, the accuracy of allies' attacks, the damage received, the odds of escaping battle, as well as allies' Critical, ailment-infliction and instant-kill rate, and instant-death evasion rate.
|Ally hit rate||x1.5||x1.1||x1||x0.95|
|Enemy hit rate||x0.8||x0.9||x1||x1.1|
|Ally Critical rate||x1.5||x1.2||x1||x1|
|Ailment affliction rate from enemies||x0.05||x0.7||x1||x1.3|
|Ailment affliction rate from allies||x2||x1.3||x1||x0.7|
|Instakill rate from allies||x2||x1.3||x1||x0.7|
|Instakill rate from enemies||x0.01||x0.7||x1||x1.3|
|Bargain demand value (Macca, HP, MP)||x0.3||x0.8||x1||x1.2|
|Bargain demand value (Items)||Rank -1||Rank -1||-||Rank +1|
|Obtained Macca in conversation||x2||x1.2||x1||x0.7|
In the PlayStation Portable remake of Persona, the difficulty of the game can be chosen at the start of the game but it cannot be changed once selected. There are three difficulty choices (Easy, Normal and Hard), which affect how much damage the enemies deal to the player's party. Easy and Hard difficulties deal 80% and 120% of damage in Normal difficulty.
As with the PSP remake of Persona, there are three difficulty choices (Easy, Normal and Hard).
In Persona 3, the difficulty of the game can be chosen at the start of the game but it cannot be changed once selected until New Game Plus. The player can choose from Easy and Normal. In Persona 3 FES, a Hard difficulty option is added for the original story (The Journey) but in The Answer, there are no difficulty options and Hard is the preset difficulty. In Persona 3 Portable, two additional diffculty options, Beginner and Maniac, have been added.
- Beginner: Enemy damage is significantly toned down, and the protagonist is given 30 Plumes of Dusk to continue in case of a game over.
- Easy: Enemy damage is toned down, and the protagonist is given 10 Plumes Of Dusk to continue in case of a game over.
- Normal: Standard difficulty. Enemies deal average damage.
- Hard: Enemies deal 1.5 times more damage than normal and can gain a higher chance of Enemy Advantage when not taken by surprise.
- Maniac: Enemies deal 2 times more damage than normal, can gain a higher chance of Enemy Advantage when not taken by surprise, and certain weapon fusions cannot be performed (Ultimate Weapons are still available). Moreover, when starting a New Cycle from any difficulty level to Maniac, no data from the prior playthrough carries over to the new one apart from total play time (character level and Social Stats start at 1, the Persona Compendium will reset, and the doors for Vision Quest and Monad will not be present early in the game).
In Persona 4, the difficulty of the game can be chosen at the start of the game but it cannot be changed once selected until New Game Plus. The player can choose from Beginner, Normal or Expert.
In Persona 4 Golden, the player can also choose from five difficulty options instead of three; the two new difficulties added are Very Easy and Very Hard (referred to as Safety and Risky respectively in outside of the North American PlayStation Vita version). Beginner and Expert were renamed Easy and Hard respectively. During New Game Plus, customization options are expanded as well, allowing the player to either choose from the five difficulty presets, or modify each setting individually.
- Damage taken - Great, Normal, Small
- Damage given - Great, Normal, Small
- EXP won - More, Normal, Less
- Money won - More, Normal, Less
- Retries in dungeons - Use, Don't use
- Retries in battles - Use, Don't use
The five difficulty presets use the following combination of choices for each setting:
|Difficulty||Damage taken||Damage given||EXP won||Money won||Retries in dungeons||Retries in battles|
|Very Hard||Great||Small||Less||Less||Don't use||Don't use|
In the Steam version of Persona 4 Golden, it is possible to change the difficulty setting even during a first playthrough.
In Persona 4 Arena and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, the player can adjust the difficulty of the computer-controlled opponents in all offline modes other than Score Attack Mode. The available difficulties are Beginner, Easy, Normal, Hard, Very Hard and Hell in the former while the latter game has Safety, Easy, Normal, Hard and Risky.
In the Persona Dancing games, the player can choose to play song charts from four difficulties: Easy, Normal, Hard and All-Night. Higher difficulties tend to feature a greater number of notes as well as the type of notes shown, with All-Night in particular featuring more combinations of Unison Notes not seen in the other three difficulties. In all of the games, All-Night charts of each song are unlocked once the player fulfills certain conditions.
In Persona 5, the difficulty setting can be selected at the start of a new playthrough, and changed in the middle of one (with the exception of Safety/Safe mode). Via modifiers, the difficulty setting affects the damage output (which differs between whether it's from allies and enemies) and the Experience and money received from battle. The modifiers vary between Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal.
In Persona 5, the Merciless difficulty setting (also known as "Challenge" in Asian releases) is offered as a DLC. In Persona 5 Royal however, the setting is available in the game by default, and it does not need to be downloaded separately.
|Difficulty||Damage received||Damage dealt||EXP||Money|
|Difficulty||Damage received||Damage dealt||EXP||Money|
Additionally, in Safety/Safe mode, if the protagonist dies and triggers a Game Over, the game will grant the option to revive the entire party with full HP and SP. However, the difficulty cannot be changed if set up for the rest of the playthrough, and can only be changed in New Game Plus.
If the game is set to Merciless, in Game Over, there will be no option to retry from the previous Safe Room. Additionally, in battle, damage from elemental weaknesses, Critical and Technical damage from any source will be tripled in comparison to other difficulties.
The difficulty setting also affects infiltration and exploration: it can determine how much the Security Meter raises and lowers. Also, enemies are slowed down in Easy and Safety.
In Persona 5 Strikers, there are 3 standard difficulties available upon starting a new game: Easy, Normal and Hard. The difficulty can be changed at any time outside of a battle or during an in-game cutscene. After the option to start a New Game+ is unlocked, the player will have the option to start New Game+ on Merciless difficulty (known as Risky in Asian releases). This option is only available when starting New Game+, and if chosen, the difficulty cannot be changed during gameplay. Within the standard difficulties, the difficulty choice mainly affects the damage dealt from both the player and the enemies, with the multipliers favoring the enemies at higher difficulty choices (higher enemy damage, less player damage).
Unlike the standard difficulties, the Merciless difficulty imposes vast changes to gameplay, making the game significantly harder:
- Enemies will have their levels and stats scaled to match the player's expected level upon unlocking New Game+.
- As a consequence, enemies defeated in Merciless will also drop Persona masks of an appropriate level. This makes fusing Personas in Merciless significantly easier, as this allows the player to earn high level Personas needed for certain Fusions without spending Persona Points to level up the materials.
- Enemies deal much more damage, have more health and their Down Gauges are harder to break.
- Some enemies will also have more challenging resistance tables, and some will even possess new attacks.
- If the player's party is defeated, the Retry Battle option will not be available so the player must resume from either the last accessed checkpoint or the start of the current infiltration.
- Being detected by an enemy will automatically raise the Security Level by 5% even if the enemy does not immediately initiate combat.
- While the Security Level is at 30% or higher, the party cannot escape from regular enemy battles due to the presence of red KEEP OUT barriers, as if the party is in a forced encounter.
- EXP and Money awarded by combat is greatly increased.
- Normal encounters drop much more valuable items, such as powerful Accessories formerly exclusive to Dire Shadows, high-tier Skill Cards and various Incenses. Dire Shadows themselves drop a character's ultimate weapon upon their first defeat instead of an Accessory.
- Dire Shadows can be refought infinitely after their initial defeat rather than disappearing for the rest of the playthrough; they will respawn by exiting and re-entering the Jail or when the player defeats other groups of enemies while the Security Level is at 30% or higher.
- In the battle against the Reaper, four Dire Shadows will gradually spawn to attack the player's party once the Reaper's health drops below half.
In Hard and Merciless, the player must run against the blue KEEP OUT barrier for a longer period of time if they wish to escape from battle compared to Easy and Normal.