Very Hard Mode is an unlockable game mode featured in several Resident Evil titles; notably Resident Evil Outbreak and Resident Evil Outbreak File 2, while other mainline titles such as Resident Evil 5 and 6 dubbed it as "Professional Mode". As the mode's title suggest, a common pattern in this mode is the high increase in difficulty, requiring more prudent item management, planning, adaptation, and precision in order to survive.
Of note, the Outbreak series feature starkly different experience in this mode. A prime example being during the level Outbreak, in which Bob becomes a zombie and will attack Mark instead of committing suicide as in easier modes.
On the mainline entries, the mode often enforce players to be quick on their feet and adapt to more aggressive composition of enemies ergo their AI behavior. Often times, the mode punishes players to near death state with a single hit for any form of mistake.
As a reward of completing the mode, the mode often confer more of each game's ingame currency to alleviate the process of further preparing oneself or unlock items in the future at a significantly faster pace.
Resident Evil Outbreak and File #2
In Resident Evil Outbreak and Outbreak File #2, the mode is dubbed "Very Hard". It's unlocked in both titles by completing all five main scenarios in Hard mode. Key differences are as follows:
- Items are very scarce, and most of them will be replaced by key items.
- Enemies are at their strongest; players will often find themselves run out of ammunition should they engage enemies in the game, even down to the more common zombies. This prompts a more evasive and cunning playstyle instead.
- Puzzles are harder to figure and require slightly more backtracking compared to easier modes.
- Some event checklist are exclusive to Very Hard mode, thus players are required to play the mode through to achieve 100% checklist.
- A supplementary option dubbed "Nightmare" can be unlocked in File#2. This option essentially increases enemy aggression and damage; rendering most zombies as hyper zombies, while increasing enemies' overall damage output. Suffice to say, adding this option on top of Very Hard mode poses a significant level of challenge but in turn rewards the most score multiplier achievable in-game.
Resident Evil 5
Dubbed Professional mode, it is the most difficult mode available in the game, requiring players to complete Veteran mode before they can access it. Compared to preceding difficulties:
- Player has the least amount of time to perform a QTE compared to the other difficulties, often meaning any mistakes leading to failure outright.
- Most non-ranged enemy attacks send player to dying status in a single hit regardless of armor worn.
- Enemies have even more health and recover from knockdowns almost instantly.
- Most fixed ammo and herb pickup placements are removed.
- When in Dying state, the player's health gauge will decrease much faster than on other difficulties. Partner has mere 3 seconds to help wounded player.
- Enemies no longer drop herbs as loot, but gold and ammo (albeit in a much rarer occasion) drops are doubled in quantity.
Resident Evil 6
Dubbed Professional as with Resident Evil 5. Unlike its predecessor however, the mode is unlocked from the start. Compared to other difficulty settings in the game:
- Enemies deal high damage, taking at least 2 health blocks from a clean hit and possibly more if players fail any proceeding QTE grab prompts. It's not uncommon for players to fall into Dying state if they fail said QTE.
- Enemy AIs are far more persistent and likewise harder to kill. They also get up quickly after being knocked down.
- Ammunition is in short supply, requiring players to master Parrying mechanic and/ or be extremely precise in aiming to trigger hence benefit from melee prompts.
Essentially the hardest difficulty in Resident Evil 6 akin to Outbreak series' Very Hard + Nightmare mode. Unlike any of the previous games/ modes, this one is unlocked by downloading the DLC update that became available in December of 2012. Compared to Professional mode:
- Enemies deal the highest damage, often taking at least 3 health blocks in a single hit and will put players in Dying state if players fail QTE prompts from any follow up attacks.
- Skills cannot be used.
- Outright combat is heavily inadvisable as even common zombies require multiple clips to finish off and melee poses significant risk. Instead, players are likely required to use their surroundings or any environmental hazards against enemies. Dynamites held by zombies for instance is a prime example of such "useful hazards".
- Ranged enemies have far better accuracy, usually leading their shots ergo almost always hitting their intended targets, unless the player takes cover or dodges the shots.
- Unlike in previous modes where death respawns players to an earlier checkpoint in full health, continuing from death in this mode respawns the player in their most recent state. I.e. if the player hits a checkpoint with only 2 health blocks prior to death, they will respawn to said checkpoint with said 2 blocks of health.
- Skill Points that appear are worth double.