Fallout New Vegas Difficulty – Everything You Need To Know

While all games follow a standard pattern for difficulty, each one is slightly different. If you’re getting into Fallout New Vegas you’re going to want to know the difficulty settings.

Fallout New Vegas has five difficulty settings and a Hardcore Mode. The difficulty settings range from Very Easy to Very Hard. These settings affect your damage dealt and taken while hardcore mode affects the realism.

Alright, let’s get into the specifics. Below, I will cover the best difficulty for your New Vegas experience, exactly what each difficulty does, and what Hardcore Mode is.

What Is The Best Difficulty For Fallout New Vegas?

Fallout New Vegas Difficulty

If this is your first FNV playthrough the best difficulty is Normal. This is the developer’s intended starting difficulty. You will be able to experience the story without stressing about combat. At the same time, you won’t be able to walk through every combat situation.

That said, the best difficulty is the one you’re having fun on. To some players who are familiar with the Fallout series, Normal will be too easy. If you play this game for the combat and normal is too easy it will quickly become boring.

On the other hand, if you play for the story it can be annoying dying every time you run into a tough enemy. Playing on Easy or even Very Easy can be much more fun in this case.

  • Very Easy and Easy for story-focused gameplay
  • Normal for the default experience
  • Hard and Very Hard for challenging combat

What Does Difficulty Do?

In order to make a more informed decision let’s go over what difficulty does exactly. Each difficulty setting affects the damage you do to enemies and the damage you take from them. Higher difficulties mean you do less damage and take more. Lower difficulties are the opposite.

Difficulty Setting Damage Dealt Damage Taken
Very Easy 200% 50%
Easy 150% 75%
Normal 100% 100%
Hard 75% 150%
Very Hard 50% 200%

Difficulty does not affect how much health your enemies have. Of course, when the damage you deal is lower, the effect is the same.

Does Difficulty Affect XP In New Vegas?

In some games, the difficulty affects your experience gain. This is done either directly or indirectly. Fallout New Vegas does not tie experience gain to difficulty.

Experience in FNV is gained by killing enemies, completing quests, and various non-combat actions such as dialogue challenges. By making enemies harder or easier to kill experience gain is not increased or decreased. Enemies are not worth more experience at higher difficulties.

The only way that the difficulty setting could be said to affect experience is by the speed at which you kill enemies. If you were to try and farm experience you would be able to gain more in a shorter amount of time by killing high-level enemies on an easy difficulty.

Differences Between Difficulties

The mechanical differences between difficulties are fairly simple. However, they will affect your game in a number of ways.

At low difficulties, you won’t have to worry about ammo or healing supplies as much. Since you deal more damage you won’t need to spend as much ammo to win fights.

Likewise, when you don’t take as much damage you won’t need stimpaks as often. You won’t have to worry about specific builds and strategies. You can experiment with perks and traits.

At high difficulties, you will need to have large stores of ammo and helpful consumables. Enemies will become bullet sponges and you will feel like you’re made of glass.

You will need to build your Courier just right so that you can survive. Specific builds will become much more important. You will have to take most fights seriously.

What Does Hardcore Mode Affect?

Fallout New Vegas handles its Hardcore Mode separately from difficulty settings. You can play on Very Easy with Hardcore Mode activated. This mode does not affect the same things that the difficulty settings do. Instead, it affects the realism of the game.

Hardcore Mode adds survival meters for you to keep track of. Just like in real life, you must eat, sleep, and drink water regularly. Sleeping won’t heal wounds or crippled limbs unless you own the bed or have a certain perk. Crippled limbs are only healed in certain ways such as visiting a doctor.

Additionally, ammo is no longer weightless, companions can die instead of going unconscious, and stimpaks heal over time. Just like stimpaks, Radaway will heal radiation slowly.

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