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Difficulty

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Difficulty modes are gameplay modes present in most games in the Fire Emblem series since Genealogy of the Holy War. Typically chosen at the beginning of a new game, they provide the player with varying levels of challenge. Difficulty levels can change many aspects of gameplay, such as enemy stats, behaviors, and much more; what each difficulty changes is dependent on the game involved, as well as the difficulty.

This article provides an breakdown of all the universal and general changes made by each difficulty level in each game. More detailed information, such as the exact numbers of enemies, reinforcement timing, etc. can be found on each individual chapter page.

Fire Emblem Gaiden

Gaiden features two difficulty modes, though one of them is hidden.

Normal

The game's standard and highest difficulty.

Easy

A hidden difficulty mode accessible only by pressing Select + Start + A on the main menu. Easy Mode is identical to Normal Mode, except all experience gain is doubled.

Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War

Genealogy of the Holy War is the first game in the series to feature conventional difficulty modes.

Normal

The game's standard difficulty.

Clever

Unlocked by completing the game once, Clever mode differs from other difficulties in the series by only affecting enemy AI behaviors. As the name suggests, it makes enemies more aggressive and intelligent. Enemy stats, quantities, positions, etc. are identical to those on Normal Mode.

Clever mode is also the first example of a difficulty that can be changed mid-playthrough; from the options menu, Clever mode can be toggled at any time at all.

Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade

Normal Mode

The game's standard difficulty.

Normal Mode save files are colored yellow.

Hard Mode

Unlocked by completing Normal Mode once. Enemies have higher stats, and there are more of them. Certain enemies will have differing inventories and positions to make them more challenging to deal with.

Hard Mode save files are colored red.

Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade

Main article: Gameplay modes#Eliwood, Hector, and Lyn's tales

This section has been marked as a stub. Please help improve the page by adding information.


The Blazing Blade is divided into three "tales" following one of the three main characters. Each tale has two difficulty modes: Normal Mode and Hard Mode.

Normal Mode

Lyn's tale on Normal Mode acts as an extended tutorial of sorts for the game and its mechanics. There are many scripted events and situations where the player must perform actions in a specific manner to progress.

Hard Mode

Unlocked by completing the game once. Lyn's tale is largely identical between Normal and Hard modes, with Hard Mode having no tutorials and fewer scripted events. As a result, the player is given more freedom, though it introduces loss conditions in chapters that were previously impossible to fail.

Hector Hard Mode is unlocked by completing Hector Normal Mode once. It is the most challenging mode the game has to offer. Enemies have higher stats, differing inventories, and there are more of them. The composition of enemies can also vary greatly, requiring different strategies altogether to approach them. In many chapters, the number of deployment slots is reduced, giving the player fewer units to work with.

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

Easy Mode

For first-timers. Game rules and controls will be explained to you as you play.
— Help text

The first eight chapters include tutorials, but are otherwise identical to those in Normal mode. After completing Chapter 8 and choosing which lord's route to take, an Easy Mode file will become a Normal Mode file.

Easy Mode save files are colored green.

Normal Mode

For experienced players. No game-play hints will be provided to you as you play.
— Help text

The game's standard difficulty. Guides to the game's mechanics are still available, but only through the menu. Fewer scripted events are present in the earlygame, giving the player a bit more freedom.

Normal Mode save files are colored teal for Eirika's route and blue for Ephraim's route.

Difficult Mode

For players seeking a real challenge. No instructions are given & difficulty is set to high.
— Help text

Enemies have higher stats, and there are more of them. Certain enemies will have differing inventories and positions to make them more challenging to deal with.

Hard Mode save files are colored red.

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

Easy Mode

Difficulty: ★
For novices who want a little helpful advice to get them familiar with the game.

— Help text

Added in the international versions of Path of Radiance to replace Maniac Mode, Easy Mode features fewer enemies, with them having higher levels but lower overall stats, resulting in player units receiving overall more experience. As well, Easy Mode awards the player more bonus experience than Normal Mode.

Easy Mode save files are colored red, just as Maniac Mode files would be.

Normal Mode

Difficulty: ★★
For players who already know their way around the game. This is the standard difficulty setting.

— Help text

The game's standard difficulty.

Normal Mode save files are colored green.

Difficult Mode

Difficulty: ★★★
For players looking for a serious challenge.

— Help text

Enemies have higher stats, there are more of them, and they can have differing inventories, such as being given Elixirs to replace Vulneraries, stronger weapons, etc. The common "Clear bonus" for bonus experience is removed, and bonus experience gained by completing secondary objectives has been reduced.

Hard Mode save files are colored blue.

Maniac Mode

Present only in the Japanese version, Maniac Mode serves as an even greater challenge than Hard Mode. Maniac Mode is primarily defined by an exceedingly large number of enemies when compared to the other difficulties. Enemies in Maniac Mode have much higher defensive stats, though often not much higher offensive stats than those of Hard Mode, and bosses often have the same stats as they do on Hard Mode, with some exceptions.

Maniac Mode was removed in the international versions due to its generally poor reception from Japanese players.[1]

Maniac Mode save files are colored red.

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn


This section has been marked as a stub. Please help improve the page by adding information.


Easy Mode

Difficulty: ★
A brisk tempo makes this mode easy to get into and easy to play.

— Help text

Named Normal Mode in the Japanese version.

Normal Mode

Difficulty: ★★
For players who already know their way around the game. This is the standard difficulty setting.

— Help text

Named Hard Mode in the Japanese version.

Difficult Mode

Difficulty: ★★★
For players looking for a serious challenge.

— Help text

Named Maniac Mode in the Japanese version. Unlocked after completing Normal Mode once. Enemies are stronger, and there are more of them. The weapon triangle is not in effect, and the player cannot see enemy movement ranges, forcing them to count them out manually to know how far they can reach. Less experience and bonus experience is received overall.

As well, map affinity bonuses are disabled for both player and enemy units. In-battle quick saves are also disabled, forcing players to complete chapters in a single go without breaks.

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

Normal Mode

Recommended for beginners and those playing the game for the first time. A special prologue introduces the story and game play.
— Help text

The game's standard difficulty. Normal Mode starts with a four chapter prologue which details the fall of Altea and Marth's escape, while also providing a tutorial of the game's general mechanics.

Normal Mode save files are not specially marked.

Hard Mode

Recommended for those seeking a challlenge. Enemies are up to five degrees tougher than those in Normal mode. No prologue is included.
— Help text

Shadow Dragon differs from most games by having several modes—five of them—under the banner of "Hard Mode".

  • Hard (★)
  • Brutal (★★)
  • Savage (★★★)
  • Fiendish (★★★★)
  • Merciless (★★★★★)

All variations of Hard Mode exclude the four chapter prologue, starting the player off on Chapter 1. Each version gives enemies higher stats, and enemies can have higher level weapons such as Silver Swords and Bolganone much earlier. Enemies may also be given forged weaponry. Reinforcements appear at the start of enemy phase, and can act on the same turn they appear. Apart from these changes, however, the general positions, quantities, and behaviors of the enemies are largely identical to how they are on Normal Mode.

Hard Mode save files are marked with H1, H2, H3, H4, or H5 depending on which version is chosen.

Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem

Normal Mode

An entry-level difficulty for players with little experience. You can play the game while learning the basics.
— Help text

The game's standard difficulty.

Normal Mode save files are not specially marked.

Hard Mode

Recommended for those looking for responsive gameplay. Enemies are stronger than normal. Reinforcements act as soon as they appear.
— Help text

Enemies have higher stats, a minimum of C in all weapon levels, they can have different inventories and positions from Normal Mode, and there are more of them. Reinforcements appear at the start of enemy phase, and can act on the same turn they appear.

Hard Mode save files are marked with an H and one star (★).

Maniac Mode


This section has been marked as a stub. Please help improve the page by adding information.


Recommended for players seeking a challenge. The enemies are stronger than in Hard Mode.
— Help text

Enemies have even higher stats, a minimum of B in all weapon levels, and there are more of them.

Maniac Mode save files are marked with an M and two stars (★★).

Lunatic Mode

Stronger enemies than Maniac Mode, this mode easily has the highest level of difficulty the series can provide.
— Help text

Enemies have yet even higher stats, maximum weapon levels, and enemies can have higher level weapons such as Silver Swords and Bolganone much earlier. Enemies may also be given forged weaponry. Reinforcements appear at the start of enemy phase, and can act on the same turn they appear. There are also more enemies present.

Lunatic Mode save files are marked with an L and three stars (★★★).

Lunatic′ Mode

The game's highest difficulty, Lunatic′, also called "Lunatic Reverse", is unlocked by completing Lunatic Mode once. The unlocking mechanism is somewhat obtuse, however; completing Lunatic/Casual will only unlock Lunatic′/Casual, while completing Lunatic/Classic will unlock Lunatic′ on both Casual and Classic modes.

Lunatic′ Mode is largely identical to Lunatic, except that enemies will always strike first when attacked, even on player phase, hence the name Lunatic Reverse.

Lunatic Reverse Mode save files are marked with an L′ and three stars (★★★).

Fire Emblem Awakening

Awakening features three difficulty modes available by default, as well as a single unlockable difficulty mode.

Normal Mode

For series beginners.
— Help text

The game's standard difficulty. The first several chapters include "slide guide" tutorials on the bottom screen to help new players, though these can be turned off in the settings menu. Enemies generally have low stats, and little to no unpromoted units will have any skills. Later on, promoted units can have a single skill from their class tree's pool, though they are generally limited from having stronger skills such as the -breaker series and offensive skills.

On Normal/Casual, the "Simplified" interface will be used by default instead of the "Full" interface.

Normal Mode save files are colored green.

Hard Mode

For experienced players.
— Help text

Enemies have higher overall stats, a minimum of C in all weapon levels, and there are more enemies in most chapters. Reinforcements appear at the start of enemy phase, and can act on the same turn they appear. Unpromoted enemies can randomly have one skill from their class pool, while promoted enemies can randomly have one skill, and later two, from their class tree's pool. Unlike Normal Mode, promoted enemies in hard mode can have more powerful skills such as the -breaker series and offensive skills. Later enemies will also be equipped with forged weaponry (+4 Mt, +10 Hit). Very late into the game, or with certain effective weaponry, they may be forged to a stronger level than can be achieved by the player (+8 Mt, +20 Hit).

Unrelated to enemy behavior, the Reeking Box has its price increased in Hard Mode—from 500G to 4800G—making it more resource-intensive to grind for levels. Staves also award less experience than on Normal Mode.

Hard Mode save files are colored blue.

Lunatic Mode

For expert players.
— Help text

Enemies have much higher stats, maximum weapon levels, and there are typically even more enemies in each chapter compared to Hard Mode. Like in Hard Mode, reinforcements can act on the same turn they appear. Promoted enemies have access to more powerful skills earlier than in Hard Mode, and can have three or even more skills from their class tree's pool at random. Around halfway through the game, all enemies also have the skill Hit Rate +10, which is replaced later in the game with Hit Rate +20. Enemies have higher-level weapons such as Silver Swords much earlier, and will have forged weapons even earlier than Hard Mode enemies, with later enemies having weapons forged stronger than what the player can ever achieve (+8 Mt, +20 Hit).

As well, skirmishes scale differently; unlike in Normal and Hard modes, where their strength scales based on the location they are summoned, Lunatic Mode skirmishes scale based on several other factors, including main story progress, how many battles the player has fought, as well as the overall strength of the player's army. This new scaling system can result in skirmishes where the enemies are even stronger than those in the main chapters, to the point of eventually capping their stats.

Lastly, experience gain is calculated differently. Staves award even less experience than they do on Hard Mode. Experience gained from repeatedly attacking a single enemy will gradually diminish until it awards no experience at all, discouraging the player from abusing stationary, healing bosses to level up. Skirmishes also provide less experience, with each attack only giving one point.

Lunatic Mode save files are colored red.

Lunatic+ Mode

For Fire Emblem masters.
— Help text

The highest difficulty the game offers, Lunatic+ Mode is unlocked after completing Lunatic Mode at least once. The unlocking mechanism is somewhat obtuse, however; completing Lunatic/Casual will only unlock Lunatic+/Casual, while completing Lunatic/Classic will unlock Lunatic+ on both Casual and Classic modes.

Lunatic+ is largely identical to Lunatic, with the addition of several powerful enemy-exclusive skills distributed at random. Enemies will have two of these additional skills alongside what they can usually have from their class trees' skill pools.

Lunatic+ Mode save files are colored purple.

Fire Emblem Fates

Fates handles its difficulty modes differently depending on which of the three paths—Birthright, Conquest, or Revelation—is chosen. Fates is also the first game since Genealogy of the Holy War to allow the difficulty to be changed mid-playthrough; at any time outside a chapter, the difficulty can be lowered, but not increased.

Normal Mode

For series beginners.
— Help text

The game's standard difficulty. The prologue and the first six chapters include "slide guide" tutorials.

In Conquest, even on Normal Mode, enemy AI is noticeably smarter; they will not attack an enemy that they cannot deal any damage to, among other changes.

Normal Mode save files are colored red and marked with one star (★).

Hard Mode

For experienced players.
— Help text

In all paths, enemies have higher overall stats, as well as a minimum of C in each weapon level.

In Birthright, there are more enemies, and bosses are given more skills. More enemies are paired up. Several dropped items, such as Master Seals and Arms Scrolls available in Normal mode are no longer available.

In Conquest, there are more enemies, though not to the extent of Birthright's quantities, and generic enemies are given more skills, even ones their class trees do not have access to. Some enemies also have their positions changed, and more are paired up. Certain Dragon Veins have had their effects modified to make them trickier to use, or to allow the enemy to use them on occasion. In a few cases, there are fewer Dragon Veins to use per chapter.

Hard Mode save files are colored blue and marked with two stars (★★).

Lunatic Mode

For those seeking a challenge.
— Help text

In all paths, all level ups in this mode are predetermined upon a unit's recruitment, meaning the player cannot reset for different stat growths on a level up. As well, enemies have maximum weapon levels.

In Birthright, enemies have slightly more HP than they do in Hard Mode, though their other stats are mostly identical. There are far more enemies present than even on Hard Mode, and in rare cases, such as with the Faceless, enemies are given a few more skills and weapons. More enemies are paired up.

In Conquest, enemies have identical stats to their Hard Mode counterparts. There are more enemies than on Hard Mode, though not quite to the extent of Birthright's quantities, and they have much more devious skill combinations, weapon loadouts, and placements. Late into the game, they will have dangerous enemy-exclusive skills such as Staff Savant and Inevitable End. More enemies are paired up. Certain reinforcement groups will have more triggers that can spawn them. Certain chapters also have fewer Dragon Veins to use, or have them in more difficult to reach locations.

In Revelation, enemies have higher HP, strength/magic, defense, and resistance. Promoted enemies are given the two skills from their respective base classes. Apart from these changes, however, few of the chapters' enemy setups are changed, with many chapters having the same number of enemies as on Hard or even Normal mode, though some enemies may gain the occasional ranged weapon.

Lunatic Mode save files are colored purple and marked with three stars (★★★).

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

Normal Mode

For series beginners.
— Help text

The game's standard difficulty. Enemy positioning and stats are nearly identical to how they are in the original Gaiden's Normal Mode, though with some changes to account for new mechanics such as dungeons, as well as the new characters.

Hard Mode

For experienced players.
— Help text

Enemies have higher levels, making them stronger overall, but having the side-effect of giving player units slightly more experience than in Normal Mode. There are more enemies overall, and more of them are given weapons and items to make them more dangerous. In several cases, their positions are also completely reworked, removing certain easy strategies that were present in Gaiden and Echoes' Normal Mode.

Spinoffs

Difficulty modes by game
Game Difficulty mode Unlock conditions and notes
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Friendly Available only if the player gets a Game Over on Easy.
Easy "This difficulty is easier than Normal. Recommended for those who want to casually enjoy the game."
Normal "This is the standard difficulty. Recommended for those who are playing the game for the first time."
Hard "This difficulty is more challenging than Normal. Recommended for those who are confident in playing RPGs."
Lunatic "An insane difficulty. Vicious battles fraught with hardship await those who choose to walk this path." Available only after completing the game once.
Heroes Normal Mode The initial difficulty of all Story Maps.
Hard Mode Unlocked for each chapter by completing it on Normal Mode. Costs slightly more Stamina to play.
Lunatic Mode Unlocked for each chapter by completing it on Normal Mode. Costs the most Stamina to play.
Infernal Mode Only available for special maps from June 16, 2017 onward. Costs as much Stamina as Lunatic to play.
Abyssal Mode Only available for special maps from August 28, 2018 onward. Extremely difficult.
Warriors Easy "For newcomers."
Normal "For experienced players."
Hard "For experts."
Lunatic Available only after completing Story Mode once.

Etymology and other languages

Difficulty

Names, etymology and in other regions
Language Name Definition, etymology and notes
English Difficulty --
Spanish Dificultad Difficulty
French Difficulté Difficulty
German Schwierigk. Difficulty
Italian Difficoltà Difficulty

Easy

Names, etymology and in other regions
Language Name Definition, etymology and notes
English Easy
Spanish Fácil Easy
French Facile Easy
German • Leicht
• Einfach
• Easy. Used in The Sacred Stones.
• Simple. Used in Warriors.
Italian Facile As above.

Normal

Names, etymology and in other regions
Language Name Definition, etymology and notes
English Normal
Japanese ノーマル Normal
Spanish Normal As above.
French Normal As above.
German Normal As above.
Italian Normale Normal

Hard

Names, etymology and in other regions
Language Name Definition, etymology and notes
English Hard
Difficult
Difficult is used in The Sacred Stones, Path of Radiance, and Radiant Dawn. Hard is used in the other games.
Japanese ハード Hard
Spanish Difícil Hard
French Difficile Difficult
German Schwer Hard
Italian Difficile As above.

Shadow Dragon

Names, etymology and in other regions
Language Name Definition, etymology and notes
English Hard
Brutal
Savage
Fiendish
Merciless
--
Japanese ハードLv.# Hard Lv. # (# being the number from 1 through 5)

Maniac

Names, etymology and in other regions
Language Name Definition, etymology and notes
English
(unofficial)
Maniac
Japanese マニアック Maniac

Lunatic

Names, etymology and in other regions
Language Name Definition, etymology and notes
English Lunatic
Japanese ルナティック Lunatic
Spanish Extremo Extreme. Used in Warriors
French Expert Used in Awakening, Fates and Warriors.
German Extrem Extreme. Used in Warriors
Italian Folle Insane. Used in Warriors

Lunatic′

Names, etymology and in other regions
Language Name Definition, etymology and notes
English
(unofficial)
Lunatic′
Reverse Lunatic
Lunatic Reverse
--
Japanese ルナティック′ Lunatic′; pronounced "Lunatic Dash".

Lunatic+

Names, etymology and in other regions
Language Name Definition, etymology and notes
English Lunatic+
Japanese ルナティック+ Lunatic+
French Lunatique + Lunatic +

References

  1. "But they also had quite a bit of feedback from people in Japan that said "it's simply unplayable" on that level of difficulty. So all of this was taken into consideration while creating the English version."Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance Interview, Nintendo World Report
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