Difficulty Level

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The Difficulty Level (ゲームモード Gēmu Mōdo?, lit. "Game Mode") of a game in the Kingdom Hearts series determines enemy strength and limitations the player will be presented with during gameplay. In most Kingdom Hearts games, players choose a difficulty level when starting a new game, and they cannot change the level once they have started. In Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, the difficulty level is instead handled by the Difficulty Cheat, which is set to Standard by default but can be changed to "Beginner", "Proud", and "Critical" at any time.

The highest level of difficulty is Critical Mode (クリティカルモード Kuritikaru Mōdo?), followed by Proud Mode (プラウドモード Puraudo Mōdo?), Standard Mode (スタンダードモード Sutandādo Mōdo?), and Beginner Mode (ビギナーモード Biginā Mōdo?).

List of difficulties in each game[edit]

Game Available Difficulty Levels
Normal Mode Expert Mode
Kingdom Hearts Yes Yes
Game Beginner Mode Standard Mode Proud Mode Critical Mode
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix Yes[1] Yes[2] Yes[3] No
Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories Yes Yes Yes No
Kingdom Hearts II Yes Yes Yes No
Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Yes Yes Yes No
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Yes Yes Yes Yes[4]
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kingdom Hearts coded Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Yes Yes Yes Yes[5]
Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- Yes Yes Yes Yes[5]

Kingdom Hearts[edit]

Normal Mode[edit]

Expert Mode[edit]

Kingdom Hearts Final Mix[edit]

Final Mix: Beginner Mode[edit]

Final Mix Mode[edit]

  • Gummi Ship takes double the damage.
  • Damage inflicted by the Gummi Ship is cut by a third.
  • Must complete the Hades Cup; find all 99 Puppies; and seal every Keyhole to unlock Another Side, Another Story...; and complete Jiminy's Journal to unlock Another Side, Another Story [Deep Dive].

Final Mix: Proud Mode[edit]

  • The Gummi Ship's attack deals half the damage.
  • A "Battle Report" is shown at the end.
  • "FMPR" is written on the top right of the save file.
  • Unlocking Another Side, Another Story simply requires completing the game.
  • Must seal every Keyhole and complete the Hades Cup to unlock Another Side, Another Story [deep dive].
  • In the HD 1.5 ReMIX version of the game, Sora has EXP Zero as an ability.

Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories[edit]

Beginner Mode[edit]

  • Compared to Standard, enemies' HP is cut by 0.75x.
  • Compared to Standard, enemies deal 0.8x the damage.
  • Sora and Riku have a 4% chance of getting a Random Joker after a fight.

Standard Mode[edit]

  • Enemies' HP is normal.
  • Enemies deal normal damage.
  • Sora and Riku have a 1.3% chance of getting a Random Joker after a fight.

Proud Mode[edit]

  • Enemies' HP is normal.
  • Compared to Standard, enemies deal 1.2x the damage.
  • Sora and Riku have a 0.7% chance of getting a Random Joker after a fight.

Kingdom Hearts II[edit]

Beginner Mode[edit]

  • Damage dealt to enemies is twice compared to Standard Mode.
  • Damage received from enemies is half compared to Standard Mode.
  • The Gathering cannot be unlocked.

Standard Mode[edit]

  • Player deals normal damage.
  • Damage dealt to player is normal.
  • Must complete Jiminy's Journal to unlock The Gathering.

Proud Mode[edit]

  • Compared to Standard mode, enemies inflict twice the damage.
  • "Proud Mode" is written on the top right side of the save file.
  • Must unlock every Gate and finish the game to unlock The Gathering.

Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix[edit]

Beginner Mode[edit]

  • Damage dealt to enemies is twice compared to Standard Mode.
  • Damage received from enemies is half compared to Standard Mode.
  • Birth by Sleep cannot be unlocked.

Standard Mode[edit]

  • Player deals normal damage.
  • Damage dealt to player is normal.
  • Must complete Jiminy's Journal and all Gummi Missions to unlock Birth by sleep.

Proud Mode[edit]

  • Compared to Standard mode, enemies inflict twice the damage.
  • "Proud Mode" is written on the top right side of the save file.
  • Must complete Jiminy's Journal to unlock Birth by sleep.

Critical Mode[edit]

  • Compared to Standard, enemies inflict twice the damage.
  • Except for the Mushroom XIII, damage dealt to enemies is 1.25× compared to Standard Mode.
  • Roxas learns Reaction Boost, Finishing Plus, Draw, 2x Lucky Lucky, MP Hastera and EXP Zero on the Third Day.
  • Roxas begins the game with 50 AP.
  • AP increases by increments of 3 instead of 2.
  • Compared to Standard and Proud, HP and MP quantities from Bonus Levels are cut by a half. For instance, Sora gains a maximum of 60 HP instead of 120.
  • Compared to Standard and Proud, EXP gained is three-quarters of the normal amount.
  • Save file displays "Critical Mode".
  • Unlocking the "Birth by sleep" video just requires you to win the Gold Crown.
  • In the PlayStation 2 Browser screen, there is a symbol attached to the save data file on the memory card.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days[edit]

Beginner Mode[edit]

  • Roxas takes 0.7× damage.
  • HP prize recovery is doubled.

Standard Mode[edit]

  • Roxas takes normal damage.
  • HP prize recovery is normal.

Proud Mode[edit]

  • Roxas takes 1.75× damage.
  • HP prize recovery is 0.7×

Mission Mode[edit]

Though not a difficulty level in itself, Mission Mode boasts a difficulty level of its own that surpasses even Proud Mode . Regardless of what difficulty you play on in Story Mode, Mission Mode's difficulty stays consistent. Due to its intended multiplayer purpose, designed for two or more players to cooperate, players deal far less damage than usual. With the bonus defense from automatic higher levels for enemies in Mission Mode, players only deal 0.5x damage, and take normal damage.

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep[edit]

Beginner Mode[edit]

  • Player deals 50% more damage.
  • All damage dealt to player is halved.
  • Blank Points cannot be unlocked.
  • On the PSP XMB, there is an omega (Ω) symbol attached to the save data file on the memory stick.

Standard Mode[edit]

  • Player deals normal damage.
  • Damage dealt to player is normal.
  • Must complete the Report Section and Final Episode to unlock Blank Points.
  • On the PSP XMB, there is an outline of a star attached to the save data file on the memory stick.

Proud Mode[edit]

  • Compared to Standard and Beginner mode, the player deals half the damage.
  • Compared to Standard and Beginner mode, enemies inflict twice the damage.
  • Must complete the Final Episode to unlock Blank Points.
  • In the PSP XMB, there is a star symbol attached to the save data file on the memory stick.

Critical Mode[edit]

  • Compared to Standard and Proud mode, the player deals half the damage.
  • Compared to Standard and Proud mode, enemies inflict twice the damage.
  • Compared to Standard and Proud mode, HP quantities from Bonus Levels are halved.
  • Game begins with five command slots.
  • EXP Zero is available as an ability.
  • Unlocking the Blank Points video requires you to complete the Final Episode.
  • In the PSP XMB, there is a cross symbol attached to the save data file on the memory stick.

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded[edit]

Beginner Mode[edit]

Standard Mode[edit]

Proud Mode[edit]

Critical Mode[edit]

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance[edit]

Beginner Mode[edit]

  • Compared to Standard, enemies take 1.5x the damage.
  • Compared to Standard, Sora and Riku take 0.5x the damage.
  • Compared to Standard, Spirits take 0.5x the damage.
  • Risky Winds Forecast is not available.
  • Thirteen or more Trophies are required to unlock Another Guardian of Light.

Standard Mode[edit]

  • Enemies take normal damage.
  • Sora and Riku take normal damage.
  • Spirits take normal damage.
  • Seven or more Trophies are required to unlock Another Guardian of Light.

Proud Mode[edit]

  • EXP Zero is available as an ability.
  • Compared to Standard, enemies take 0.75x the damage.
  • Compared to Standard, Sora and Riku take 1.5x the damage.
  • Spirits take normal damage.
  • Five or more Trophies are required to unlock Another Guardian of Light.

Critical Mode[edit]

  • EXP Zero is available as an ability.
  • Compared to Standard, enemies take 0.5x the damage.
  • Compared to Standard, Sora and Riku take 3.0x the damage.
  • Compared to Standard, Spirits take 1.5x the damage.
  • Compared to Standard, Risky Winds has a 2.5x chance of appearing.
  • Enemies do not flinch as much as in other difficulties.
  • Bosses activate their desperation moves much earlier than normal.
    • Young Xehanort has an air combo that is exclusive to this difficulty level.
  • No Trophies are required to unlock Another Guardian of Light.

Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-[edit]

Beginner Mode[edit]

  • Compared to Standard, Aqua deals 50% more damage.
  • All damage dealt to Aqua is halved.

Standard Mode[edit]

  • Aqua deals normal damage.
  • Damage dealt to Aqua is normal.

Proud Mode[edit]

  • Compared to Standard, Aqua deals 50% less damage.
  • Damage dealt to Aqua is normal.

Critical Mode[edit]

  • Compared to Standard, Aqua deals 1.5× damage.
  • Compared to Standard, enemies deal double damage.
  • The effects of Combo Master and Leaf Bracer are removed.
  • Second Chance does not take effect if Aqua is not at critical health when a fatal attack lands.
  • Enemies and destructible items no longer drop HP, MP, and Focus prizes.

Related trophies[edit]

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX[edit]

Kingdom Hearts Final Mix[edit]

Proud Player Trophy KHHD.png Proud Player
Clear Final Mix on Proud.
Final Mix Master Trophy KHHD.png Final Mix Master
Clear Final Mix.
Novice Player Trophy KHHD.png Novice Player
Clear Final Mix on Beginner.


Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories[edit]

Proud Player Sora Trophy KHHD.png Proud Player Sora
Clear Sora's story on Proud.
Natural Player Sora Trophy KHHD.png Natural Player Sora
Clear Sora's story on Standard.
Novice Player Sora Trophy KHHD.png Novice Player Sora
Clear Sora's story on Beginner.
Proud Player Riku Trophy KHHD.png Proud Player Riku
Clear Riku's story on Proud.
Natural Player Riku Trophy KHHD.png Natural Player Riku
Clear Riku's story on Standard.
Novice Player Riku Trophy KHHD.png Novice Player Riku
Clear Riku's story on Beginner.


Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX[edit]

Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix[edit]

Critical Competitor Trophy KHIIFM.png Critical Competitor
Clear game on Critical.
Proud Player Trophy KHIIFM.png Proud Player
Clear game on Proud.


Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix[edit]

Critical Competitor Trophy KHBBSFM.png Critical Competitor
Clear game on Critical.

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep[edit]

Trinity Trophy KHBBS.png Trinity Trophy
Beat the game on Proud or Critical Mode.

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded[edit]

Proud Achievement Trophy KHREC.png Proud Achievement
Clear every world on Proud difficulty.
Critical Acclaim Trophy KHREC.png Critical Acclaim
Clear every world on Critical difficulty.


Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance[edit]

Badge of Pride Trophy KH3D.png Badge of Pride
Proof you have finished the story in Proud Mode.
Critical Praise Trophy KH3D.png Critical Praise
Proof you have finished the story in Critical Mode.


Notes and references[edit]

  1. Named "Final Mix: Beginner".
  2. Named "Final Mix".
  3. Named "Final Mix: Proud".
  4. International version only.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Unlocks after beating the game once.
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