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Aliens: Dark Descent – Difficulty Options Explained – TheFantasyTimes

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By Nikita Gambhir

Aliens: Dark Descent – Difficulty Options Explained



Aliens: Dark Descent is a strategy game that feels like home to players who have experience with titles such as XCOM 2. It offers a slow-paced tactical experience with squad customization options and permadeath features, all set in the world of Alien. It’s an excellent mash-up that’s not always easy to explore, especially for those who are new to survival strategy games. Selecting the right difficulty setting is one of the essential decisions when launching the game.

The game offers four difficulty settings, each affecting the level of challenge the player will face. The difficulty settings also affect the health points of enemies, their aggressiveness, and how long it takes them to detect the player squad. The Death Clock is also present, and the number of days one is penalized for losing marines in missions may vary depending on the chosen difficulty setting. The custom difficulty setting allows players to fully customize the game’s difficulty features to their liking.

For first-time players, the Medium difficulty setting is recommended for the ultimate Aliens experience. However, there is no shame in playing on Story for the first run through the main story missions. It’s impossible to change the difficulty setting mid-game, so players will need to start completely fresh to raise or lower the difficulty.

There are only three achievements tied to difficulty, and each one fires for completing the game on a specific difficulty setting. Players who consider themselves completionists may want to play on Medium at a minimum for the chance to earn these achievements.

In conclusion, Aliens: Dark Descent is a challenging survival strategy game that offers a gratifying and occasionally frustrating experience for newcomers. Players should choose their difficulty setting wisely to alter their overall game experience. The game’s custom difficulty setting allows players to fully customize the game’s challenge to their liking.

If players have any experience with strategy titles such as XCOM 2, then playing Aliens: Dark Descent should feel like coming home. It’s a tactical, slow-paced strategic experience with permadeath features and squad customization options, but firmly set in the world of Alien. It’s the perfect mash-up and not always an easy one to explore. If this is the first survival strategy game players have ever experienced, then selecting the right difficulty setting may prove to be one of the essential decisions upon launch.




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With four difficulty settings to choose from, each one affecting how troublesome the Xenomorph scourge will become — along with significant boons or debuffs to overall health points, enemy aggressiveness, player detection time, and the ever-present Death Clock — it’s not a simple choice as to which difficulty setting to select first.

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Available Difficulty Settings

Aliens Dark Descent Difficulty Settings

There are four main difficulty settings in Aliens: Dark Descent, along with an option to fully customize every aspect of the game’s difficulty features through its Custom difficulty. Players must choose wisely, as the difficulty setting cannot be changed mid-campaignand the settings affected by each difficulty mode will directly alter the overall game experience.

The main criteria affected by the difficulty settings include how much health enemies have, how long it takes enemies to detect the player squad, the overall aggressiveness of the Xenomorphs, and the number of days one is penalized for losing marines in missions. Furthermore, players can also change how forgiving the save system iswith the default being permissive to allow players the opportunity to reload a recent auto-save.

Difficulty Setting Options

  • Story
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.

Alternatively, players can select the custom difficulty setting to completely customize the game’s challenge by altering the parameters mentioned above to their liking.

Related: Best Grand Strategy Games Of All Time, Ranked

Aliens Dark Descent Squad Combat

The world of Alien is unforgiving. It’s rife with danger from all sides, including Xenomorphs, corporations, friendly fire, and robotic companions designed to help but who ultimately serve the previously mentioned corporations with ulterior motives.

For players brand-new to challenging survival strategy games like Frostpunk, Aliens: Dark Descent offers similar gratifying yet challenging gameplay for veterans and an occasionally frustrating experience for newcomers. Playing on the Medium difficulty setting is recommended for the ultimate Aliens experience. Still, there is no shame in playing on Story for the first run through the main story missions. After all, no one in space has to know!

But remember: it is impossible to change the difficulty setting mid-game. Players will need to start completely fresh to raise or lower the difficulty.

Achievements Tied To Difficulty

Aliens Dark Descent Difficult Squad Interaction With Xenomorph

For those players who consider themselves completionists, know that there are only three achievements in Aliens: Dark Descent tied to difficultyand each one fires for completing the game on a specific difficulty setting.

  • This Went Smoothly — Finish the game on Medium.
  • Fair and Square — Finish the game on Hard.
  • This Ain’t No Picnic — Finish the game on Nightmare.

There is no achievement for the custom or easy difficulty settingsso if achievement-hunting plays a significant role, consider playing on Medium at at minimum.

Next: Best Tactical Strategy Games, Ranked

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