What are the differences between the difficulty levels?

I would like to know:

  • Do the quantity of enemies increase in the harder difficulties?
  • What about loot quantity?
  • Are there any enemy AI behavior changes?
  • Does hacking become harder in the harder difficulties?

EDIT: The current answer quotes a Bioshock 1 wiki article, and mentions Bioshock 1 weapons, plasmids and difficulties (pistol, Enrage, Survivor difficulty), which are not usable by the player character or don't exist in Bioshock 2. Can anyone give info or examples on Bioshock 2-specific weapons, plasmids or enemies?

1 Answer 1


The main differences are in enemy health/accuracy/agility, amount of loot found and the cost of EVE for using Plasmids.

Medium is essentially a 'normal mode' since enemy stats are at 100% there.

Easy is a huge step down from Medium in difficulty for some reason. Enemies drop 60% of their health and 82.5% of their damage on Easy, compared to Medium! Plasmids also cost much less EVE to use. Death is also pretty generous here, and that's explained at the bottom of the quote. Basically instead of dying you drop to 1 HP and you only die if you are hit again, while you still have that 1 HP.

Hard of course makes enemies more difficult than medium, and Plasmids cost more EVE to use.

Official stats:

On Easy difficulty:

Enemies have 40% health (e.g. a default Thuggish Splicer has 40 health, and a standard Bouncer has 1100 health).

Enemies only do 17.5% damage (e.g. a Pistol shot only does 3.5 damage!).

Enemies are less accurate and less agile.

Plasmids cost 50% EVE (aka half as much) (e.g. Enrage costs ~ 15 EVE).

Random loot is more generous.

On Normal difficulty:

Enemies have 100% health (e.g. a default Thuggish Splicer has 100 health, and a standard Bouncer has 2750 health).

Enemies do 100% damage (e.g. a Pistol shot does 20 damage).

Enemies possess standard accuracy and agility.

Plasmids cost 100% EVE (e.g. Enrage! costs ~ 30 EVE).

Random loot is standard.

On Hard difficulty:

Enemies have 155% health (e.g. a default Thuggish Splicer has 155 health, and a standard Bouncer has 4263 health).

Enemies do 150% damage (e.g. a Pistol shot does 30 damage).

Enemies are more accurate and more agile.

Plasmids cost 130% EVE (e.g. Enrage! costs ~ 39 EVE).

Random loot is less common.

On Easy and Normal difficulty, the player will not die instantly from a "fatal" injury; instead their health will be reduced to 1, and they'll only die if they take 1 more hit. For example, if they only have 20 health, and take 30 damage, instead of ending up with -10 health (i.e. dead), they will still be alive, with 1 health.


  • You seem to have posted a link to and quoted the "Bioshock 1 Game Options" article of the Bioshock wiki. Can you confirm if the same thing applies to Bioshock 2? Also, what exactly does "more agile" mean? What specific behavior is affected by the improved agility? Or does it just mean "better dodging"? Jan 18, 2013 at 14:59
  • I have no reason to think it would differ between the games. I had to link to the first game because the same page for the second game tells me nothing. And by more agile I assumed it meant enemies would dodge your shots more often, jump around more, run faster etc. Basically anything they can do to be more annoying. I don't see a page to explain "agility" so I can't be 100%. Jan 18, 2013 at 21:33
  • Is the 'Survivor' difficulty also in Bioshock 2? Jan 22, 2013 at 4:26
  • @galacticninja I did a google search for "Bioshock 2 survivor Difficulty" and found threads complaining about not having survivor mode. That's just one of a few. Jan 22, 2013 at 13:40
  • I see. I edited out the mention of Survivor difficulty in your answer, since it doesn't exist for BioShock 2. Jan 23, 2013 at 10:51

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