Skip to main content

Which difficulty should you choose in Doom Eternal?

which Doom Eternal difficulty
(Image credit: Bethesda)
Rip and tear with some more Doom Eternal goodness

(Image credit: id Software)

Doom Eternal review: Our definitive verdict
Doom Eternal tips: Weather the steep difficulty curve
Doom Eternal Slayer Keys: Unlock the optional encounters
Doom Eternal Runes: Give Doomguy the edge
Doom Eternal settings: Kill in high-res glory
Doom Eternal computer code: Uncover a special treat
Doom Eternal cheat codes: Escalate the action
Doom Eternal Battlemode: Tips for victory
Doom Eternal Marauder: Beat the fallen Night Sentinel
Doom Eternal Fortress of Doom: Every secret in your base
Doom Eternal Super Gore Nest: Find every collectible

Curious as to which Doom Eternal difficulty mode is the best fit for you? It can be a tricky decision to make, particularly because the options are not listed as the standard 'Easy' or 'Normal' choices. There are five difficulty levels to choose from, and you can switch between these as you see fit. Find the sweet spot for waging war against Doom Eternal's demonic threats and steer clear of settling for a run that's too easy, or punishing. 

Starting off on a lower difficulty and gradually increasing the challenge is a solid approach. The number of demon encounters and the speed at which they launch their projectiles is consistent across all difficulty levels. The only major differences between each mode are the amount of damage enemies can dish out, as well as how often they try to land a heavy attack on you.

How to change the difficulty in Doom Eternal

There's no penalty for changing your chosen difficulty, and it can be adjusted at any time. If you're finding a mission too easy or challenging, press Esc and select Settings. Under the Game tab, click on Campaign Difficulty to select your desired difficulty from the drop-down menu. The Ultra-Nightmare and Extra life mode choices are not available to switch to mid-mission. 

Doom Eternal difficulty modes and what they mean

When you start the campaign, you're prompted to select one of the following difficulty modes:

I'm Too Young to Die

If you're a brand new FPS player and have never played a Doom game before, this is a good place to start. Enemies attack less often on this setting, and they deal less damage. Health and armor are more plentiful, too, so making it to the end of a level is much more achievable. 

Hurt Me Plenty

This mode is roughly what you'd expect from a 'Normal' difficulty setting. Arachnotron and Mancubus enemies won't beat you up too badly, but you still need to keep a watchful eye on them. This is a good level for those who've dabbled in shooters to hone their skills and prepare for higher difficulties. There's no doubt that it's possible to finish the game comfortably in this mode, even if you're not the most confident shooter.  

Ultra-Violence

This is the mode for FPS fans. Ultra-Violence has enemies dishing out power attacks more often and dealing more damage. Fights feel fair in this mode: you know you should be flexing your entire arsenal while playing with these settings and on the occasions where you die, you know it's a result of your actions.    

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Nightmare

A step up from Ultra-Violence, enemies attack you more frequently on Nightmare. They also deal maximum damage which forces you to master Doom Eternal's combat loop to survive. In other words, use all your weapons, in addition to grenades and Flame Belch. There's less room for error on this difficulty setting so keep the weaknesses for each demon in mind, and exploit them. Use the jump pads and monkeys bars to buy yourself some time, too, so you're always a few steps ahead. 

Ultra-Nightmare

The most metal mode in Doom Eternal is not for the faint-hearted. Ultra-Nightmare gives you a single life with which to complete the entire campaign. That's right, death is permanent and a little death marker will taunt you for the remainder of any mission that beats you. Like Nightmare, enemies enjoy maximum damage, and they attack more aggressively. It's the most intense way to experience Doom Eternal, but I recommend that you work up to it and save Ultra-Nightmare for a second playthrough.   

Extra Life 

Choose the Extra Life special campaign mode if you want an 'old-school experience'. Here you choose a difficulty setting, ranging from I'm Too Young to Die to Nightmare. As the title suggests, if you run out of lives, permadeath awaits. For Doom masochists, this is a nail-biting stepping stone from Nightmare to Ultra-Nightmare.    

Sentinel Armor

If you're struggling with a particularly tough boss, of which there are a few, Sentinel Armor will save your Doom Slayin' bacon. If you die enough times during the same fight, you have the option to load from your previous checkpoint with Sentinel Armor. This super-reinforced armor gives you the damage threshold you need to see you through the fight. Thankfully, Sentinel Armor doesn't affect progression, but the option to respawn with it only appears once your extra lives have been exhausted.