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Do you dare choose Supernova difficulty in The Outer Worlds?

the outer worlds difficulty
(Image credit: Obsidian)

What difficulty should you choose in The Outer Worlds? Fallout: New Vegas developers Obsidian has added a suite of difficulty options for their latest game, with a range of modifiers available depending on whether you’re there just for the story, or the crushing realism and role-play opportunities. Obsidian's latest is far from the most gruelling RPG around, so seasoned role players and FPS veterans should consider upping the challenge to at least Hard.

The most difficult beyond the initial options is The Outer Worlds' Supernova mode, which recalls Hardcore mode in New Vegas. Supernova Mode gives the player a number of physical factors to think about while they play, such as increasing enemy damage and adding permadeath. In this guide, I'm going to run through all of the different difficulty options in The Outer Worlds so you can figure out which one fits your desired experience.

Story

Story does what it says on the tin: this is for people that don't want any challenge getting in the way of the narrative. Enemies in The Outer Worlds are already fairly easy to deal with on Normal, especially if you prepare for battle and use Tactical Time Dilation. 

However, if you’re struggling on Normal, try knocking it down to Story difficulty for a bit. You don’t lose out on anything and you can coast through the game without too much trouble. Specifically, enemies have less health and do less damage.

Normal

Normal mode is your standard experience of The Outer Worlds. Enemies have the amount of health and damage-dealing capacity that the developers intended for the recommended enjoyment of the game for most people. Enough said really, pick this one if you’re looking for a healthy challenge.

Hard

Here Obsidian escalates enemy health and their damage-dealing, so you’ll have to put up more of a fight. Tactical thinking and clever character builds are necessary here, so if you like overcoming logic problems and tackling statistics, then you should probably play on Hard. As mentioned, The Outer Worlds is fairly easy going, especially if you prepare adequately for combat.

Supernova

Here’s where things get interesting. Supernova mode changes much about The Outer Worlds. Here’s what Obsidian say:

  • If you reduce the difficulty below Supernova, you cannot re-enable it.
  • Enemies have more health and deal more damage.
  • You must eat, drink, and sleep to survive.
  • Companions can die permanently.
  • Crippled body and limb conditions can only be healed with bed rest.
  • Weapons and armor work very poorly at zero durability.
  • You can only fast travel to your ship.
  • You can only sleep inside your ship.
  • You can only manually save while inside your ship and autosaves are limited.

(Image credit: Obsidian)

If you want to survive in Supernova mode you have to think carefully about your movements, inventory, and proximity to sleeping quarters. Crucially, abuse the limited autosave function (F5) before any combat encounter, so you can ensure that your companions don’t kick the bucket and you lose them permanently. 

Save tactically and always manage your inventory so you’ve got a good amount of food and drink before entering combat. Also find and break down everything you pick up so you can turn it into weapon parts, as armor and weapons are practically useless once they break. That applies to food and drink, too: raid vending machines every chance you get.

Every decision you make that relates to your typical activities must be made with the distance to your ship in mind: you can only sleep inside The Unreliable, not on random bedrolls in the environment. This means you must always travel thoughtfully when venturing into the unknown rather than blindly fast travelling to your next map marker.