Atomic Heart Difficulty Settings (Explained)

What do the Atomic Heart difficulty settings mean?

It’s clear that the developers, Mundfish, had some fun naming the Atomic Heart difficulty settings. They’re not your conventional Easy, Normal, and Hard difficulties, which are self-explanatory. These difficulties also come with several world-changing aspects that change the way you play.

So what exactly are these difficulty settings in Atomic Heart, and what do they do? We made this guide to teach you what each of the Atomic Heart difficulty settings are and recommend what you should play on.

Differences between the Atomic Heart Difficulty Settings

There are three difficulty settings in Atomic Heart: Peaceful Atom, Local Failure, and Armageddon. They’re your Easy, Medium, and Hard mode respectively.

The difficulty you chose can really impact your experience with Atomic Heart, so it’s best to pick a difficulty according to your experience with first-person shooters. If it ever comes to a point where things get too hard or too easy for you, you can change the difficulty settings at any time. Simply go to the gameplay menu.

The naming of these difficulty settings may remind you a bit of Wolfenstein. They don’t outright tell you which difficulty is which but it should be implied just from the sound of the difficulty and its description. I mean Armageddon doesn’t sound like a walk in the park at all, does it?

Peaceful Atom Atomic Heart Difficulty Setting

Peaceful Atom

Developers described Peaceful Atom as the game’s Story Mode. In this mode, only the plot will really keep you on your toes as enemies aren’t tough enough to really give you much of a fight. Not to say that some bosses aren’t challenging but you should have an overall simpler time.

The Peaceful Atom description even calls it a “tour of Facility 3826” but you’d still have to keep combat in mind, of course. In this mode, as long as you aren’t too careless, you won’t need to think much about scavenging for every fight ahead which allows you to focus on the story.

Local Failure Atomic Heart Difficulty Setting

Local Failure

If you want an ample challenge just between Easy and Hard, then Local Failure will give you just that. This is Atomic Heart’s Medium difficulty setting which is what Mundfish probably intended the game to be on. You’ll have a fair amount of challenge that pushes you to think of better strategies.

The Local Failure description even challenges you to overcome its difficulties. This is a mode where you’ll have to adequately prepare for combat, get familiar with enemy weaknesses, and adapt to situations on the go. Perfect for those who have experience in first-person shooters.

Armageddon Atomic Heart Difficulty Setting


The kind of difficulty that those who are experts with first-person shooters or at least have finished Atomic Heart once would go for. Armageddon is the game’s defacto Hard mode where enemies are tougher than usual and hit a lot harder. Every fight is a struggle between survival and you may just be forced to retreat against threats you’re not prepared for.

Armageddon is a punishing difficulty with little reprieve. Every waking moment away from combat must be spent in preparation, scavenging the open world for resources you can find.

What difficulty should you play Atomic Heart on?

Depending on your level, we recommend either Peaceful Atom or Local Failure for your first playthrough of Atomic Heart. Save playing Armageddon for your second run where you’re more familiar with everything including combat.

For most players, Local Failure is really the best option for their first time in Atomic Heart. It offers an adequate challenge and the complete experience that Mundfish intended for you to play. However, there’s no shame in playing Peaceful Atom for those who find the game a bit too challenging, though feel free to amp up the difficulty later once you get used to the pace of the game.

If you’re like me and you love hard mode, then Armageddon may sound tempting. But just don’t, at least not on your first playthrough. This punishing difficulty may push you into just being stressed at enemy encounters and you may wind up dropping the game due to how tough enemies can be.

You may want to spend longer hours than the average playing Atomic Heart, which is one of the appeals of playing games on hard mode. However, this just winds up being too dragging, and the pain of repeating enemy encounters to get to the next story bit can be a frustrating experience for a game like Atomic Heart. But if you really think you’re up for it, it’s not like we can stop you.

We hope this helped you decide which Atomic Heart difficulty settings you should play on first. Feel free to check out our other Atomic Heart articles as well.