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Aliens: Dark Descent — Custom Difficulty Guide

Find your own best custom difficulty with the help of our guide to all difficulty settings in Aliens: Dark Descent.

There are four types of default difficulty settings in Aliens: Dark Descent, which provide players with a spectrum of challenges from the easiest to the hardest. There’s also a fifth custom setting to let you tweak certain aspects of the gameplay. Our guide will list all the difficulty settings in Aliens: Dark Descent, including tips on which custom settings are the best.

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All Difficulties List in Aliens: Dark Descent

A difficulty setting can be chosen only once at the start of the game, and you won’t be able to change it midgame. That’s why I highly recommend familiarizing yourselves with a complete list of all available difficulty options that are listed below before making that choice.

  • Story Difficulty:
    • Overall enemy health remains low.
    • Enemy detection is at its lowest.
    • Xenomorph aggression gain is set to slow.
    • The campaign death clock is more relaxed.
  • Medium Difficulty:
    • Overall enemy health is set to medium.
    • Enemy detection is set to medium.
    • Xenomorph aggression gain is set to medium.
    • The campaign death clock provides some challenge.
  • Hard Difficulty:
    • Overall enemy health is set to high.
    • Enemy detection is set to fast.
    • Xenomorph aggression gain is set to fast.
    • The campaign death clock is more restrictive.
  • Nightmare Difficulty:
    • Overall enemy health is set to very high.
    • Enemy detection is set to very fast.
    • Xenomorph aggression gain is set to very fast.
    • The campaign death clock is highly restrictive.

Although these four types of default difficulty settings may seem quite well adjusted at first sight, they’re actually not very well balanced, as we’ve noticed. That’s why the best option would be to create your own custom difficulty setting.

Screenshot by GameSkinny

Best Custom Difficulty Settings

You’ll probably end up choosing custom settings that are something in between the default options. Once you start the game and are presented with the difficulty options, select “Custom” and make the following adjustments:

Best Custom Difficulty for Easy Mode

Beginner players who aren’t familiar with this type of XCOM gameplay, which is Aliens: Dark Descent, should opt for the following settings:

  • Enemy Health Points: Overall enemy health is set to medium.
  • Enemy Detection Time: Enemy detection is set to medium.
  • Aggressiveness Gain Delay: Xenomorph aggression gain is set to slow.
  • Death Clock Campaign Days: The campaign death clock is more relaxed.
  • Save System: Permissive.

These settings allow new players to have a bit of a challenge when it comes to killing Xenomorphs, so that the game doesn’t feel extremely easy, but at the same time, the monsters won’t be as aggressive. Also, I suggest that you always set your saves to “Permissive,” which allows you to create saves regularly at any point in the game.

Best Custom Difficulty for Normal Mode

If you already have some experience playing real-time strategy games, then I recommend going for this custom difficulty with a bit of challenge:

  • Enemy Health Points: Overall enemy health is set to high.
  • Enemy Detection Time: Enemy detection is set to fast.
  • Aggressiveness Gain Delay: Xenomorph aggression gain is set to medium.
  • Death Clock Campaign Days: The campaign death clock provides some challenge.
  • Save System: Permissive.

Xenomorph aggression is a really strong setting that influences your enjoyment of the game, or else it turns into an unplayable nightmare. So try playing with that specific setting to see how much you can handle it. But for now, this is the most optimal selection.

Best Custom Difficulty for Hard Mode

The final custom difficulty that I’d recommend going for provides the highest challenge, but with Xenomorph aggression slightly tempered down:

  • Enemy Health Points: Overall enemy health is set to very high.
  • Enemy Detection Time: Enemy detection is set to very fast.
  • Aggressiveness Gain Delay: Xenomorph aggression gain is set to fast.
  • Death Clock Campaign Days: The campaign death clock is more restrictive.
  • Save System: Permissive.

If you choose the Xenomorph aggression level “Very Fast,” then the game becomes simply unplayable, unless you have super-fast reactions. You could also opt for the “No One Can Hear Them Scream” save system, which allows you to save only if you have a shelter. But it’s unnecessary and makes an already hard mode simply unforgiving.

That’s everything you need to know about the difficulty settings in Aliens: Dark Descent, including the best custom difficulties. Stay tuned for more Aliens: Dark Descent tips and tricks articles right here.


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Author
Serhii Patskan
Serhii is the Writer at GameSkinny. He's been writing for GameSkinny since 2015. Before that, he's been writing for various outlets and playing video games, which eventually turned into a passion. The video games that have contributed the most to his enthusiasm for writing about this industry are Magic: The Gathering, Dark Souls, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.